English for Young Learners
We all know it, have read the research and as teachers have seen the results in our own students…learning English from a very young age is beneficial to the student.
The top reason cited by experts in this field are:
They absorb the language naturally and so in the future they won’t have to try very hard to learn it and more often than not, will speak the second language accent free.
It has a positive effect on cerebral development; young children who are exposed to more than one language from a very young age are more effective at problem solving and multi-tasking.
Young children have an innate desire to socialize and communicate and so they are not shy or embarrassed about expressing themselves in another language (mistakes and all) which can’t be said the same of adults or older children.
When talking about “English for Young Leaners”, it is important to point out that what we really are talking about is providing linguistic stimulus for the child and not actual language classes; children should be exposed to the second language in a FUN, DYNAMIC and VISUAL manner to begin paving the way to future proficiency in the language. That being said, often times it is difficult to find the right resources that fit your needs as a teacher and that will also aid you in accomplishing your task of transmitting to your students that “English is fun”.
In this post I want to share with you two tried and true resources that have worked for me over the years and an additional third resource that I discovered during the 2020 confinement and I have now officially added it to my short list of “must haves” for teaching English to young children.
This is a website where the majority of the content is geared towards pre-K and kindergarten learners. The highlight of their programme is their early reading/literacy sections where they use games, songs, interactive books etc. to personalize the students’ progress and experience.
What I like best about this site is the emphasis that they place on phonics. Students not only become familiar with the sounds of the individual phonemes and their deviations but they are also encouraged to use the sound-it-out approach allowing them to progress at their own individual rhythm, thereby boosting their confidence in themselves as they learn the language. You can check out their website and begin investigating their free content at www.starfall.com .
**I recommend using this platform from a PC, though they do have applications of their different modules available for Android and iOS
ABCya! is a free educational website with a wide variety of games categorized into subjects and by grade level. The levels go from pre-K to sixth grade and the subjects that are included are: letters, numbers, holiday, strategy and skill.
I suggest that before you launch this website with your students, you visit it to decide which grade level best suits the needs and capabilities of your students. Bear in mind that the website is completely in English so the instructions of the games are also in English, though many of them are very intuitive it might be wise to go through the games that you want to assign to your students beforehand.
Though there is no progress tracking nor evaluation on the site it is a perfect place for the younger ones to practice and test out their English skills while having a lot of fun.
The PC version is free but if you want to remove banner ads you will have to upgrade to premium. I have personally been using the free version of this website for years and have never had a problem with my students accidently clicking on the ads. The mobile device version is premium. You can check it out here: www.abcya.com
Khan Academy Kids
The newest addition to my short list of recommended educational digital resources that really work. This is only available as an application on both Android and iOS devices and best of all…it’s 100% free.
Khan Academy Kids is an educational app that is directed towards early learners ages two to seven. Using games, videos and colorful and interactive books, students complete activities focused on early literacy skills while also indulging their creativity and working on their social-emotional skills.
The interface is bright and colorful and best of all advertisement free. As a teacher you can create an account, generate a classroom, add your students and then give them the classroom code for them to sign in and join your class. One of the added bonuses is that as your students complete activities, you are able to monitor their progress and even assign individual activities.
Though it is 100% in English they do have support in Spanish for teachers and parents who do not speak the language: es.khanacademy.org/kids
Well, that’s all for this week teachers and remember “Teaching is a work of heart” 😍
Please leave a comment here if you have any other advice or helpful resources aimed towards teaching English to young learners that you would like to share. Thank you.
¡ATENCIÓN! Si quieres leer la versión traducida al español de este artículo, puedes descargarlo aquí >>