Games and advice for parents who want to use English at home:
1. Watch cartoons and songs in English, without subtitles (all ages) Children love learning through songs and videos. We have an extensive list of channels and play lists for each of our vocabulary subjects: if you want suggestions, just ask!
2. Rhyme with your child (all ages) Read your child nursery rhymes in a whisper, but get loud on the rhymes so they can hear the difference. For example: “The little brown CUB liked to RUB in the TUB.” “The silly FAT CAT liked to sleep on the HAT.”
3. Clap the syllables with your child (all ages) and ask them to count the syllables in each word (TCS and above) When your child comes home with a vocabulary sheet – grandfather, grandmother, mom, dad, brother, sister – you can clap out the words with them to show syllables. “Grand-fa-ther” has three syllables, “Bro-ther” has two, and “Dad” has one. Once they understand that each word can have multiple syllables, ask them to count their claps.
4. Same or different game (LBC and up) Children at I Can Read are taught to recognize the first sounds of words. For this game, you can say three to five words – all but one will start with the same sound. For example, you can say: “Please, paper, bat.” Which word starts with a different sound? Once a child has mastered this game, you can play with the last sound. For example, you can say: “Cat, fat, chair.” Which word ends with a different sound?
5. Encourage your child to use full sentences (TCS and up) Ask your child“What color is that backpack?” and say “SENTENCE”. Instead of saying “red,” your child should say “That backpack is red.” or “Where is the toy?…SENTENCE!” Your child should say “The toy is in the bathroom.” You can also ask them questions about themselves, like “What do you want to eat?…SENTENCE.” They should say “I want to eat noodles and fish.”
6. Sound sentences game (older children with a high vocabulary) Single sounds are called phonemes. Children must learn phonemes and how they are connected to letters before they can read and write. Choose a sound – for example the “Sss” sound. Build a sentence with this sound: “Sally went to the sea and took a snake.” Then your child adds to the sentence: “Sally went to the sea and took a snake and a strawberry.” Go back and forth until there is a mistake.