How to get kids' interest in English?

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How to get kids' interest in English?

Postby sunny » Tue Jul 07, 2009 2:04 pm

We have been speaking mandarin to my gal since day 1, very seldom in english. But, for bedtime stories, it's always alternate with mandarin and english. she's about 3.5 yo.

recently, she kept telling me that she didn't understand english. and yesterday, after i read an english story to her, she told me that she didn't understand and the tear started coming out. this really shocked me... should I stop reading english stories to her for the time being? :(

sunny
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Postby Carrotree » Tue Jul 07, 2009 2:56 pm

Hi, i think it's wonderful that you are reading to your girl in english. Does she feel fearful of the language (which explains her tears?) Perhaps you can read in english and at the end of the sentence, provide a chinese translation so that she can understand, this will not make her feel so "lost" :shock: in the story.

i have the same problem with my DS who does not really understand chinese. i have been reading books in both languages to him (i'm embarassed :oops: to say more english books than chinese books, ) but he has been getting better and better and more receptive to reading chinese books. Recently he also has been trying to read the chinese words of a story and that has been a big leap from his protests/him making a fuss when i pick up a chinese storybook. :wink:

Don't give up! I'm sure she's enjoying the story sessions and as time goes and you read to her more often, she will pick up the language...

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Postby sunny » Tue Jul 07, 2009 3:24 pm

Carrotree wrote:Hi, i think it's wonderful that you are reading to your girl in english. Does she feel fearful of the language (which explains her tears?) Perhaps you can read in english and at the end of the sentence, provide a chinese translation so that she can understand, this will not make her feel so "lost" :shock: in the story.

i have the same problem with my DS who does not really understand chinese. i have been reading books in both languages to him (i'm embarassed :oops: to say more english books than chinese books, ) but he has been getting better and better and more receptive to reading chinese books. Recently he also has been trying to read the chinese words of a story and that has been a big leap from his protests/him making a fuss when i pick up a chinese storybook. :wink:

Don't give up! I'm sure she's enjoying the story sessions and as time goes and you read to her more often, she will pick up the language...


i think she's fearful 'cos she doesn't understand what I am reading though i try very hard to make the stories an interesting one with exaggerated facial expression and tone. when i read to her, she will ask the meaning of the words in mandarin, then i will explain to her. but after the story session, she told me that she didn't want to read english story books anymore, and the tear started coming out. :?:

how old is your boy? wow... that's a big improvement that he shows interest in chinese.

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Postby Carrotree » Tue Jul 07, 2009 3:47 pm

hi, my boy is 4.5 years. initially he was also not keen in chinese, will protest loudly and even throw the chinese book away when i pick it up. Then i realised must get him more interesting books, I "cheated" by getting the more interactive books, (with flips inside the book, "action" based books where you can pull and tug a section and something pops out), difficult to find chinese ones as i feel there are more of these kind of books in english (e.g. spot the dog books, certain phonics books with a spinning wheel, etc) . gosh i hope u understand what i mean... hee hee maybe you can find pop-up books also, my kids are full of awe when i read pop-up books..

Also, i think a big change will also happen when you start speaking to her in english. i feel that my boy more open to chinese when I forced/trained myself to reply and speak to him in chinese (being a "ang mo pie" it was difficult for me as well).

It's not a overnight thing to get my son to accept the chinese language. i will not say he's good at chinese now but at least he tries to talk to me in chinese. Press on! i'm sure you will see her opening up to the language pretty soon. :D

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Postby Funz » Tue Jul 07, 2009 3:59 pm

Personally, I feel that all the more you should expose your child to the language. Read short stories instead of long rambling ones. Get books that have like only 1-2 sentences per page and like maybe 8-10 pages max so that it is not so intimidating.

If you are not opposed to letting your kid watch TV, let her watch english cartoons or shows like Hi-5 and word world.

Even in your day to day life, read out road signs, labels, etc to her just to get her comfortable to with the language.

She will be in K1 next year already rite, so if you do not start exposing her to the language more, then she may find it difficult as by K1, it is no longer just alphabets that they are learning but words.

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Postby sunny » Thu Jul 09, 2009 9:19 pm

Funz wrote:Personally, I feel that all the more you should expose your child to the language. Read short stories instead of long rambling ones. Get books that have like only 1-2 sentences per page and like maybe 8-10 pages max so that it is not so intimidating.

If you are not opposed to letting your kid watch TV, let her watch english cartoons or shows like Hi-5 and word world.

Even in your day to day life, read out road signs, labels, etc to her just to get her comfortable to with the language.

She will be in K1 next year already rite, so if you do not start exposing her to the language more, then she may find it difficult as by K1, it is no longer just alphabets that they are learning but words.


she will be in N2 next year. :) ya, i am trying to make her comfortable with english. :)

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Postby Wan » Thu Jul 09, 2009 11:57 pm

my 4yo son also started with mandarin since birth. in fact, his grandparents speak cantonese to him. he also 'rejects' English until he started N2 this year. within 3 mth, he could speak English fluently which also surprised me.

Dun stress her. Instead of reading, you may wish to do other activities that your girl enjoys. For these 'special' activities, they have to do with English instruction only (with min translation if req). eg. we just sat by the window & count the no. of red/blue/black cars. during the counting, I also try to stike up English conversation with him. 'Look! there's a red car coming from the junction'

As we progressed, we can use English to play guessing game now. we call it our 'thinking bubble' game. eg. he tells me it's a cartoon character. I will ask him for more clues. he will describe the cartoon character, colour, shape, etc. I purposely guess wrongly so that he can give me more clues...

We also play scissors paper stone in English. Can teach him scissors cut cloth, cloth wrap stone, stone knock scissors. Use lotsa of hand gesture to interest him.

Instead of 'textbook teaching', you can teach your girl while shopping. Supermarket is also a place to learn many things. She can learn to read the items, ask her to check expiry dates, country and logos eg. healthier choice.

You can also try role playing game. eg. she is the waitress at restaurant. she can take order while u use English to teach her name of dishes/food. Can prepare a menu for her to recognise the words as well. We use the macdonald cash register to play this game sometimes

I think most children nowadays start with English at home. but I'm proud that my son can express himself fluently in mandarin. With the exposure in school, I'm sure ur girl will pick up English. hope it helps!

Wan
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Postby sunny » Fri Jul 10, 2009 11:13 am

Wan wrote:my 4yo son also started with mandarin since birth. in fact, his grandparents speak cantonese to him. he also 'rejects' English until he started N2 this year. within 3 mth, he could speak English fluently which also surprised me.

Dun stress her. Instead of reading, you may wish to do other activities that your girl enjoys. For these 'special' activities, they have to do with English instruction only (with min translation if req). eg. we just sat by the window & count the no. of red/blue/black cars. during the counting, I also try to stike up English conversation with him. 'Look! there's a red car coming from the junction'

As we progressed, we can use English to play guessing game now. we call it our 'thinking bubble' game. eg. he tells me it's a cartoon character. I will ask him for more clues. he will describe the cartoon character, colour, shape, etc. I purposely guess wrongly so that he can give me more clues...

We also play scissors paper stone in English. Can teach him scissors cut cloth, cloth wrap stone, stone knock scissors. Use lotsa of hand gesture to interest him.

Instead of 'textbook teaching', you can teach your girl while shopping. Supermarket is also a place to learn many things. She can learn to read the items, ask her to check expiry dates, country and logos eg. healthier choice.

You can also try role playing game. eg. she is the waitress at restaurant. she can take order while u use English to teach her name of dishes/food. Can prepare a menu for her to recognise the words as well. We use the macdonald cash register to play this game sometimes

I think most children nowadays start with English at home. but I'm proud that my son can express himself fluently in mandarin. With the exposure in school, I'm sure ur girl will pick up English. hope it helps!


thanks wan for the great ideas. :)

same as you, i am also proud that my gal can express herself very well in mandarin. just that when i saw her frustrated with understanding english, i felt bad and asked myself if i used the wrong 'strategy' to speak to her in mandarin since day 1. :pray:

my friend reassured me that in s'pore, there's no need to worry about kids not able to speak and understand english.

sunny
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Postby Wan » Fri Jul 10, 2009 2:07 pm

once she make friends in school, she will practise conversing in English naturally. if u dun mind her to watch tv, can also subscribe to playhouse disney or play dvd. of course not long hours in front of tv

have fun!

Wan
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