English Reading for Kids: How to Teach Kids to Read English

Do you have a child who's learning English as his or her second language? If you do, then keep reading for a handful of techniques and tips you can use to help your child read at grade-level.

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Helping Your Child Read English

Working with an ESL Student

If your child's learning English as a second language, there are many things you can do at home to help. First, it will help if you can read and write English at a higher level than your child. If it's necessary and possible, take English lessons in order to better focus on your child's learning needs. This will enable you to sit down with your child and read, although you may also consider hiring a private, one-on-one English tutor.

Many non-native speaking students are enrolled in English as a Second Language (ESL) programs in their school. Some ESL programs have pull-out classes, which means that your child is pulled out of class for individual or group instruction in English. Talk to your child's teachers and other learning experts to determine what style of education is best for your child's individual learning needs and what you can do to help.

Reading Tips and Techniques

The two primary aspects of reading in English are fluency and comprehension. Fluency gauges how smoothly and naturally your child can read in English. Vocabulary and phonics lessons are both helpful for teaching reading fluency. Repetition also can be a useful tool. Have your child read a passage multiple times until he or she can do so without error.

Reading comprehension is a measure of how well your child can understand words, sentences or full texts. One of the most common ways that you can help your child read English is simply by reading to and with your child. Discuss texts and ask your child questions that make him or her form opinions and make predictions.

Helpful Resources

You can find a lot of resources for your ESL learner at local libraries, community centers, bookstores and on the Internet. There are websites that offer English-based learning games, like crossword puzzles and hangman. You can also download resources that you can use with your child, like worksheets and vocabulary flash cards. In addition, simplified versions of common stories can be helpful to read with your child because it allows him or her to focus on the storyline, rather than the words.

Preparing for the TOEFL

Your child may be required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). This is particularly common the older your child gets. The TOEFL is often required in middle school, high school and for college entrance. The TOEFL is used to determine a child's ability to successfully use English in an academic environment. Topics include reading, listening, speaking and writing.

There are a variety of TOEFL practice resources available, some official, some not. Go over the standards required for the TOEFL, and make sure your child's absorbing these skills throughout his or her English education. In the months and weeks before your child takes the TOEFL, administer practice tests at home. Go over your child's answers and help him or her focus on the areas that need improvement.

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