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English 7-8

7 Tips to Help Your Child Study English at Home

In this article, we will show you 7 hot tips to improve your child's English skills!

Want to improve your child’s English marks but unsure how? We’ve got you covered! This article will show you 7 different ways to help your child study English at home!

Even though things are returning to normal, parents still need to be involved in helping their children study. In addition, some children are still learning from home and will continue to. Because of that, we’ve put this list of tips together to support our community of parents and students.

 

The difficulty of studying English from home

English is very time heavy and feedback reliant, this is one reason why students struggle with it.

Students need to invest time in reading and writing, and they often see little reward for this in the short term. Instead of letting them slip into a funk and slip behind, parents need to support them.

To help support them, you need to get involved in their study by:

  • Encouraging them
  • Being involved in their study, and
  • Getting them to share their knowledge with you.

To that end, here are the tips we recommend to help your child stay on time of their English.

Remember, these tips are as useful outside of lockdown as they are during!

 

The 7 tips to help your child study English at home we’ll discuss are:

  1. Set them a reading time every day
  2. Encourage them to write every day
  3. Discuss their texts with them
  4. Introduce them to English related games
  5. Let your child be the teacher
  6. Expose them to different worldviews
  7. Encourage creativity

 

1. Set them a reading time every day

Reading will help your child develop thoughts and opinions, improve their vocabulary, increase creativity, and improve their focus and memory!

That’s why it is essential that your child reads every day to improve their English skills.

So, allocate at least 20 minutes every day for your child to read.

If your child wants to read for more than 20 minutes, let them be! This is a great habit to build.

 

1. Have family reading sessions

You should join them too! Get out your own book and read beside them, or read a book together.

Your interest in books will help cultivate their interest in reading too. This will encourage them to continue reading and not get distracted.

So, get the family together and read!

 

2. Encourage them to read a variety of different books

Reading a broad selection of books will expose your child to different worldviews and perspectives. It will also help them improve their vocabulary and understand the conventions of different genres.

However, it is also important that your child selects the book they want to read.

This will ensure that they don’t lose interest or feel like they’re being forced to read.

So, find a list of appropriate books for different genres. Every once in a while, have your child select a book from a different genre to read.

This will ensure that they are reading the books that interested them whilst expanding their reading range.

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2. Encourage them to write every day

The idea of writing every day may scare your child because it sounds like so much work. But it really isn’t!

Like our reading periods, you should allocate at least 15 minutes for your children to write.

Consistent writing helps your child improve their communication skills, clarity of ideas and words, and their critical and creative thinking skills!

This is because they are continually learning how to express their ideas onto paper and exploring different topics to write about.

 

1. Let them decide what to write

Don’t force them to write about a particular topic every day. We want them to enjoy writing whilst cultivating their skills.

So, let them explore their own interests. It can be a reflection of their day, a detailed description of their breakfast, a short story, or an argument about a topic on the news!

This will inspire them to keep writing whilst developing their writing and communication skills.

 

2. Give them a challenge once or twice a week

Once or twice a week, you can challenge your children by giving them a stimulus to write about. You can assign a general topic to write about, a particular form to use, or a question that they have to answer.

Doing this will help them write out of their comfort zone and stimulate their creativity and critical thinking skills.

However, ensure that you don’t do this every day! It can become too tedious and your child will lose interest in writing.

 

3. Get a pretty or cool notebook

Children are usually more inspired to study if they have nice stationery.

So, let your child select a notebook and have them decorate it, if they want!

This will encourage your child to use the notebook frequently and write more.

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3. Discuss their texts with them

It is important that your child is regularly discussing their text with others.

They will garner a better understanding of complex ideas and build their own personal opinions about the text.

This is because you learn about different things you didn’t previously realise when you discuss a text. So, you are challenged with different perspectives.

Although it is best that you have read the same text as your child, we know that life can get really busy.

So, simply do some research about their texts and discuss it with them, if you don’t have the time to read it!

 

1. Ask them questions

Ask them a variety of different questions about the texts before, during and after they read a whole book. These can be simple, surface-level questions or more complex and thoughtful questions.

Here are some questions that you can ask your child.

Remember, don’t bombard them with all the questions at once! That will be too confronting. Instead, ask them when appropriate.

Before reading:

  • Why did you select this book?
  • What does the title tell you about the story?
  • Predict the storyline.
  • Predict the complication. What made you decide this?
  • What genre is the book? How do you know?
  • What kind of characters do you think are in the book? Why?

During reading sessions:

  • What is happening in the story right now?
  • Predict what is going to happen next.
  • What are your thoughts and opinions about the book so far?
  • What are you visualising when you read? How does the author do this?

After reading:

  • Does the book seem similar to other books?
  • Were your predictions accurate?
  • Did you like the characters? Why or why not?
  • Which was your favourite part of the book? Why?
  • Was the complication solved? How?
  • What is the author’s message?
  • Identify prominent themes.

 

2. Share opinions

It is important that you are also sharing your thoughts and opinions with your child. Don’t keep them to yourself!

This is a good opportunity for your child to be exposed to different views and opinions and challenge their own perspectives.

Encourage them to find arguments to support their opinions, but also be open-minded.

These discussions will help your child develop strong arguments for essay writing.

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4. Play English related games

Parents usually overlook the importance of games in their child’s English studies.

However, games are actually very effective at engaging students in their studies and promoting creativity.

Here are some English related games your child can participate in:

 

1. Paper bag skits

Give your child a paper bag with random items inside them. Then, give them 20 minutes to plan out their skit, using only the objects in the bag.

You can bring the whole family in this! Divide the family in half and perform the skit to one another.

This is a fun activity that will challenge your child’s creativity.

Modification: If you want to directly relate it to your child’s English studies, then have them act out or re-imagine a scene from the text that they are studying. They can change the characters, storyline, setting to their desires.

This will test how well they understand their text.

 

2. Scattergories

Get the whole family together for a fun game of scattergories.

Each participant receives a piece of paper, divided into 5 sections.  Each of these sections represent a different category.

If you want this game to directly relate to your child’s English learning, then you can choose related categories.

For example:

  1. Characters [from Josie’s English text]
  2. Book names
  3. Themes

After you settled on your categories, you need to randomly generate a letter. You can either ask one of your family members or generate it online.

Then, everyone has 1 minute to write a word beginning with the generated letter for each of the categories.

For example:

  1. Characters: Juliet Montague
  2. Book names: Jumper
  3. Themes: Jealousy

Each answered category is worth one 1 point. Play as many rounds as you like and figure out the winner.

 

3. Scrabble

You can get yourself a scrabble board game or find a free online Scrabble game.

In this game, each participant is given 7 tiles with letters. They have to create a word from their tiles and place is on the board.

Each word is worth different points, and each tile can double or triple word or tile points too. See who gets the most points!

This game helps build your child’s vocabulary in a fun and engaging way!

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5. Let your child be the teacher!

As the saying goes: “As you teach, you will learn”. So, why is this the case?

Students must really understand their content in order to teach someone else about it.

So, this gives them an opportunity to really dig deep into their content and retain this, instead of simply reading and memorising.

It also gives them a chance to identify their missing gaps in knowledge.

 

1. Family learning sessions

Gather your family together for a quick English lesson! You should let your child teach you about something they learned at school.

This can range from how to use punctuations correctly or exploring prominent themes in Shakespeare’s text.

Encourage everybody to ask your child questions. This will challenge your child to think on the spot and communicate their thoughts clearly.

 

2. Small discussions

If you can’t get your family together for a learning session, you can always have small discussions!

Sit down with your child and let them explain what they learned to you. This is just as effective as presenting it in front of a group of people.

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6. Expose them to different worldviews

Sometimes, parents overlook the importance of reading news articles or listening to the radio. They think that it is unnecessary and doesn’t aid their child’s studies at all.

However, this is untrue.

Being exposed to different worldviews allows them to build an informed perspective about issues.

This helps them understand the importance of particular texts in certain contexts and determine why particular texts are written in a particular way.

Threfore, they are able to produce stronger and meaningful arguments for their English assessments.

It also helps them develop their critical thinking skills as they are forced to find the truth.

 

1. Encourage them to stay informed

Help your child build an interest in the news by showing your interest in the news too!

Introduce them to informed news outlets, radios and podcasts.

These are public broadcasters like ABC and SBS News, not commercial broadcasters like Sky, 7, 9, or 10 News.

So, what is the difference between these 2 news outlets?

  • Public broadcasters (like ABC, BBC and SBS) are government-funded. So, their business model is to inform the public about news.
  • Commercial broadcasters (like 7 News or 9 News) are privately owned. So, their business model is based on making profit and catering to particular audience biases.

Therefore, public broadcasters have more reliable and informed information, whereas, commercial broadcasters tend to write evocative and emotive articles that draw people’s attention and confront them.

So, you should be encouraging your child to stay informed by reading or watching reliable news or listening to radios and podcasts.

 

2. Listen to the radio in the car

Instead of listening to some music in on car rides, you can listen to AM broadcasted radios together.

Here are some good Sydney recommendations :

This is an easy way to stay informed about the world because it is a passive activity. You learn about politics, world events, science and health information etc.

 

3. Discuss news events together

If your child is simply not interested in actively seeking to read the news, then you can both discuss the news together!

Inform your child about interesting events at dinner or on the way to school.

Ask them about their opinion on what is happening and discuss the news together!

This is a good way to ensure that they are still staying informed, even if they aren’t actively doing it.

Note: Even if your child read the news, you should still inform them of what you read and discuss your opinions together. This will help broaden their perspectives.

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7. Encourage creativity

Creativity is especially important in English studies. It is not only used in creative writing, but it is also important for speeches and essays.

Being creative means that your child is able to approach things from different viewpoints.

This will help them write unique creatives, analyse text, and write strong English responses.

 

1. Encourage creative activities

We identified some games that will help you cultivate your child’s creativity above.

However, let’s take a look at more activities:

  • Draw comic strips or storyboards
  • Designing character profiles
  • Create a short film with a phone
  • Draw a visual representation of the themes in a book
  • Design a costume for a character

 

2. Facilitate but don’t manage

Never tell your child to do things in a certain way or try to make things seem perfect.

This will discourage them from creative pursuits because they feel like they’re “doing it wrong”.

Instead, you should facilitate their activities to ensure that they are staying safe but don’t manage them. Let them explore their own creative resources and abilities alone, then share with them!.

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Want help supporting your child with their English studies?

Matrix+ English Online Courses offers online theory video lessons, Q&A boards with expert English teachers, and high-quality resources mailed to your doorstep. Learn more about Matrix+ Courses now. 

 

Written by Tammy Dang

Tammy is a former student of Matrix and is now studying Law / Media (Screen and Sound Production) at UNSW. She is a Digital Content Writer for the Matrix Education blog. Tammy aspires to become a lawyer in the future while continuing to run her art business.

 

© Matrix Education and www.matrix.edu.au, 2018. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Matrix Education and www.matrix.edu.au with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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