Teaching English is more than just lessons on correct spelling and grammar; it’s coaching rhetorics and manner of expressions. In language, the sum of many elements – pronunciation, grammar, prosody, clarity, style, rhythm, energy, sublimity, respect, gentleness, reach, accuracy, creativity, etc. – makes a person’s VOICE, when he or she speaks or reads. It’s a meticulous and lengthy coaching process.
In separate lessons, we teach them the proper ways to express their thoughts in different situations, and organise their words.
Phonics : The Sounds and Rhythm of English
We begin with the sounds of the English alphabet. There are about 40 sounds in English; 20 of which are vowel sounds; not just the 5 (a,e,i,o,u) which preschoolers are usually taught. Some consonants are voiced; some are unvoiced. Every 2-or-more-syllabic word has a stressed sound, and every 2-or-more-vowelled word has a schwa. The children read through carefully-graduated storybooklets. They slowly begin to decode the print to precise sounds, enunciating the stresses, voiced and unvoiced sounds.
They learn to write letters and words.
The children are guided through reading carefully-graduated storybooklets.
We introduce rhythm as they read the storybooklets. English is a stress-timed language, where the stressed syllables are read at approximately regular intervals, and unstressed syllables are shortened to fit into this rhythm.
‘Grammar and Usage‘
They learn sentence-construction, focussing on written and spoken grammar. Topics include tenses, irregular plurals, subject-verb agreement and others.
Word Maths teaches children how to think mathematically. An age-appropriate introduction to concepts, such as geometry, multiplication, number bonds begins with Math-talk. Operations, thinking skills, problem- solving, mental sums, estimation, data organisation, need appropriate vocabulary. Hence, Word Maths. When young children are familiar with Math-words, Mathematics becomes interesting and meaningful.
At this point, children can already read, but their vocabulary is limited. They need more practice to achieve better fluency in reading, and exposure to the kind of language which adults use. So, we introduce a classic children’s novel, like ‘Matilda’ by Roald Dahl.
‘Penning My Thoughts‘
Many children have difficulties in expressing their feelings and ideas clearly and concisely, especially in writing.
Wordsmithery techniques make it easy for us to express our feelings and ideas, clearly and concisely. Given regular opportunities to practise the techniques, learners can become effective writers.
Good writing uses clear, precise language, and grows from experiences. It is organised around a clearly-defined focus. Good writing exhibits the appropriate usage of words, spelling, punctuation, and rhetorical devices such as alliterations, metaphors, similes etc..
At Level 3, we take advantage of the children’s abilities to read, and their exposure to lots of storybooks, to expand their skills further in organising words.
The name of this course is ‘Penning My Thoughts‘. Learners will do a series of guided compositions, each focussing on a technique of writing, or exploring on the vocabulary of a topic.
As the children learn more new words, we also have to teach them the responsibility of using these words respectfully. We teach them that ‘Good words make good things happen, and bad words make bad things happen’. We teach them to respect their audience when they speak.