a father teaching his children

Helping young children to speak in English at home can be an enjoyable and rewarding thing to do, and there are many advantages to supporting your child in this way. Read the article to learn more about speaking English at home and improve your language skills as you complete the activities.

Introduction

For the most part, it is parents who teach their young children to speak their home language. Throughout the first two years of life, it is often the mother’s voice and her special way of talking, called ‘parentese’, that teaches young children about language and how to talk.

Parents, even with a basic knowledge of English, can successfully support their young child learning English by re-using and adjusting many of these same parentese 1  techniques.

Parents may worry about their accent in English. Young children have a remarkable ability to alter their accent to match the English of their surroundings. Young children need to feel ‘I can speak English’ and ‘I like English’ and their parents’ support can help them achieve this from their first lessons.

Why parents’ help is best

  • Parents can focus on their child, spending some one-to-one time with them.
  • Parents can fit English sessions into any part of their day to suit their child and themselves.
  • Parents can regulate the length of an English session and select activities to fit their child’s needs, interests and ability to concentrate.
  • Parents know their child intimately and can intuitively judge the type of English talking suitable for their individual ways of picking up language.
  • Parents can best interpret their child’s moods and respond to them. Children have days when they eagerly absorb language and others when they find it difficult to concentrate.
  • Parents can introduce more fun, as they are working with an individual, not a class.
  • Parents can introduce English culture into family life, so broadening their child’s outlook and understanding of their own culture as well as things English.

Tasks

Task 1 - comprehension

Task 2 - vocabulary

Task 3 - summary

Transcript

Introduction

For the most part, it is parents who teach their young children to speak their home language. Throughout the first two years of life, it is often the mother’s voice and her special way of talking, called ‘parentese’, that teaches young children about language and how to talk.

Parents, even with a basic knowledge of English, can successfully support their young child learning English by re-using and adjusting many of these same parentese 1  techniques.

Parents may worry about their accent in English. Young children have a remarkable ability to alter their accent to match the English of their surroundings. Young children need to feel ‘I can speak English’ and ‘I like English’ and their parents’ support can help them achieve this from their first lessons.

Why parents’ help is best

Parents can focus on their child, spending some one-to-one time with them.

Parents can fit English sessions into any part of their day to suit their child and themselves.

Parents can regulate the length of an English session and select activities to fit their child’s needs, interests and ability to concentrate.

Parents know their child intimately and can intuitively judge the type of English talking suitable for their individual ways of picking up language.

Parents can best interpret their child’s moods and respond to them. Children have days when they eagerly absorb language and others when they find it difficult to concentrate.

Parents can introduce more fun, as they are working with an individual, not a class.

Parents can introduce English culture into family life, so broadening their child’s outlook and understanding of their own culture as well as things English.

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1 Parentese is a non-standard form of speech which parents and carers often use with babies and young children. They adapt what they say to make it easier to understand and to assist communication with the child. 

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The text is taken from a longer article about speaking English at home. Follow this link to read the full article:

http://learnenglishkids.britishcouncil.org/en/parents/articles/speaking-english-home