How to improve English???

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How to improve English???

Postby juz_me » Wed Jul 21, 2010 11:38 am

Hi,

My son is in Pri 2. All these while - he is pretty weak in his languages - English and Chinese. Sometimes, he has difficulties in expressing.

English Comprehension - he can gets 1/10. Grammar also quite weak.
He does not read alot. Have to keep "nagging" at him to read...

Have sent him for English enrichment class - white board style - a class of 5 students for about 3 months. We do not see any improvement/result..... or is it too early to tell result ??

Now, toying should we get him a private tutor or should we change another enrichment class???

Haiz.... at my wits end - don't know what to do...

Any suggestions??

Thank you!

juz_me
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Postby CoffeeCat » Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:05 pm

There are many possible reasons underlying such phenomenon. Besides it is even harder to judge with such minimal information.
You might want to consider Kumon, which is famous for training the basics.

Then again, is your son weak in maths? If so this may highlight a general issue. Does he has a short attention span? unable to focus for long? which can be the reason for low performance in comprehension.

When a child has such problems in language, turning to tuition is not gona be very effective, it only treats the symptoms but not the root cause. It is probably only possible for the parents to find out because they are the ones who interact with the child all day.
The only way to improve comprehension is to have to read. Did you read storybooks to him when he is small? Is there any problems he face with reading which puts him off? If he doesn't read, what do he do all day? play computer?

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Postby juz_me » Thu Jul 22, 2010 10:04 pm

Thanks Coffeecat

His math seems to be in good order. His attention span also seems alright. When given assessment papers, he does sit down and finish them without much interruption, albeit without enthusiasm.

We did read with him when he was younger but not very regularly.

When it comes to reading, he's not very motivated and even when I ask him what he read, he's not really able to tell us what the key points in the story are. I'm not sure if it is because he simply glosses over the words or he really does not understand what he's reading. He has no trouble reading the words, though he does not understand all of them.

Even when choosing books in the library, he avoids chapter books and looks for thinner books with more pictures and larger text.

He doesn't get to play much computer games as I restrict his usage to 30 mins a week and sometimes not at all.

He usually spends his day after school on homework and then of course only after he's done, he gets to play with his younger brother and watch TV. How much time on TV largely depends on my mom-in-law who helps to watch over him.

juz_me
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Re: How to improve English???

Postby atutor2001 » Fri Jul 23, 2010 12:23 am

juz_me wrote:Hi,

....
Now, toying should we get him a private tutor or should we change another enrichment class???

Haiz.... at my wits end - don't know what to do...

Any suggestions??

Thank you!


Hi

In my opinion, it is near impossible to delegate the teaching of language to others if the child is not interested. Learning a language requires daily coaching and exposure. If so many hours of school lessons are of no help, how can a few extra hours by tutors or enrichment class be of use.

When my kids were young, I studied English grammar and Chinese vocabulary with them daily. The hardest part was trying to understand what is a good composition and how to write one. It was a very painful process. Nevertheless, I got to understand better the frustration my kids were facing. The effort was worth it as they are now big and doing fine. It is their turn to tease me of my bad English.

My only suggestion is "learn with them".

atutor2001
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Postby Suz855 » Tue Jul 27, 2010 12:58 pm

Instead of tuition and more tuition, what about sending him to the library instead ................ Reading is the best bet to improve languages ........... have fun :D

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Postby ponyo » Tue Jul 27, 2010 1:06 pm

Agree, the library is the best place to learn. You can bring your kid to the storytelling sessions organised by the library. They are really fun and helps to get kids enthusiastic about reading.

Find out what interest your kid and borrow the type of books from that genre. E.g if he is into dinosaurs or sci-fi, then help him look for such books and read them together with him. No point pushing chapter books if he is not ready or keen.

What you want to raise, at the end of the day, is a lifelong reader. Not someone who reads for the sake of reading. Peddling reading as a language improvement tool will turn the kid off 'cos it will make him think of it as a chore :cry:

Happy reading! :wink:

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Postby sakura_2009 » Tue Jul 27, 2010 1:42 pm

juz_me wrote:Thanks Coffeecat

His math seems to be in good order. His attention span also seems alright. When given assessment papers, he does sit down and finish them without much interruption, albeit without enthusiasm.

We did read with him when he was younger but not very regularly.

When it comes to reading, he's not very motivated and even when I ask him what he read, he's not really able to tell us what the key points in the story are. I'm not sure if it is because he simply glosses over the words or he really does not understand what he's reading. He has no trouble reading the words, though he does not understand all of them.

Even when choosing books in the library, he avoids chapter books and looks for thinner books with more pictures and larger text.

He doesn't get to play much computer games as I restrict his usage to 30 mins a week and sometimes not at all.


My DS seems to have quite a similar problem to yours. He's currently in P3 and is simply not motivated to read. Yes, he reads, but only when I asked him to. He will not pro-actively reached for a book in his free time, he would simple 'fiddle' with almost anything else except picking up a book to read :x

I read to him since young (yes, since he was a baby), all sorts of books - English, Chinese, Simple science. And both me & DH loved to read - me books, magazines, newspapers etc. We were therefore very :? why DS disliked reading so much...maybe this one not suppose to be genetic?? Anyway, even if he reads, he only choose certain types of books, from certain authors. He is usually influenced by his classmates - so I was really glad when he started asking for certain books (popular ones like Geronimo Stilton, Beast Quest, The Magic Tree House Series) etc. I started searching high & low for these books in the libraries and for those series I can't get them in the library (coz they're quite popular), I will just buy them for him. However, I realised that instead of reading it at the 'normal' pace, he simply looked at the pictures in the book, read the ending first, then 'scimp' through the whole book within the next 20 minutes or so. Afterthat, he told me he finished reading the whole book :x What sort of 'reading style' is this?? How can he ever improved his English with the way he is 'reading' - if that's even call reading in the first place??

So I started a 'reading' routine for him. He will need to spend at least 30 mins each day, quietly reading the book that he himself has chosen. Guess what, I found him 'dozing off' in less than 15 mins of reading his so called 'favourite' book. I simple don't understand why reading (which brings me much pleasure) can be such a 'pain' for him :cry: When I asked him why, he simply told me he really doesn't know why he tends to feel very sleepy each time he starts to read a book seriously (even though it was supposed to be his favourite book)...

Any parents out there having the same problem as me?? Please :?:

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Postby atutor2001 » Tue Jul 27, 2010 2:34 pm

Suz855 wrote:Instead of tuition and more tuition, what about sending him to the library instead ................ Reading is the best bet to improve languages ........... have fun :D


I used to believe that reading alone will improve English until ...

My kids read a lot since young but only 1 of them manage to learn English through reading alone. The others have to learn English the "hard way", ie, grammar, spelling ...

So I no longer believes that reading alone can help every kid to excel in English. However, reading is still the basic essential. For most kids, besides reading, they must also be taught grammar ....

When it was time for them to take the SAT test, those that learnt grammar the hard way found the part on English grammar to be a breeze. However, the one who learn English by reading alone had to re-learn grammar just for the test.

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Postby jesschan » Tue Jul 27, 2010 3:04 pm

atutor2001 wrote:So I no longer believes that reading alone can help every kid to excel in English. However, reading is still the basic essential. For most kids, besides reading, they must also be taught grammar ....


Yes, reading helps but we still need to teach grammar. My boy was one of the "guinea pig" batch in his school to be taught English "the reading way" in P1 & 2. They have a set of readers but grammar was not taught systematically. I noticed that his grasp of grammar was poor and I had to teach him grammar myself. I think the "reading" way might have worked if we live in a native English environment where our kids are exposed to proper English. Unfortunately in Singapore, many people speak imperfect English and hence our kids may not learn the correct stuff.

As for reading, I realise that the best way to encourage kids to read is to read with them or at least try to read some of the books that your kids read. In that way, you can discuss the book with your kids. Just my personal experience.

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Postby sakura_2009 » Tue Jul 27, 2010 3:24 pm

jesschan wrote: As for reading, I realise that the best way to encourage kids to read is to read with them or at least try to read some of the books that your kids read. In that way, you can discuss the book with your kids. Just my personal experience.


Yes, I agree to a certain extent. NOW I've to read DS story books so that I can play some sort of quiz with him and ask him questions about the book, just to make sure that he actually reads them :| Now he seemed to be slightly more 'motivated' to read the books as he enjoys playing quizzes but tough job on me leh...I would very much prefer reading MY kind of books :cry:

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