What should be taught to young learners first?

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What should be taught to young learners first?

Unread post by kumori » 30 Jan 2016, 08:22

Hello Lucy,

I'm struggling with a 6 year old Japanese who has yet to recognize ABC letters. I only get to see him for an hour per week and his parents don't speak English at home. He'll be using "Family and Friends 1" by Naomi Simmons (primary 1 textbook) in a couple of months.

https://elt.oup.com/catalogue/items/glo ... anguage=en

I've been racking my brains to come up with a suitable course to get him up to speed, but am still clueless to go about it. Below are some questions I have, and I look forward to your advice.

1. Should I start off with phonics first follow by letters?
2. Should I do reading lessons after the learner has familiarized himself with letters? (e.g. picture books with minimum words)
3. Any online reading resource suitable for a 6 year old beginner? (I find that most online story books require young learners to have some basic language; or should I not be too concerned with it?)
4. I'm also struggling with teaching instructions to get the learner engaged in the activities. Presently, I'm adopting TPR methods with lots of repetitions to get the learner to guess my intentions, but I think there are better effective ways to go about it. Any advice or teaching resource to recommend to deal with young learners, please?



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Re: What should be taught to young learners first?

Unread post by Lucy » 01 Feb 2016, 21:32

Dear Kumori,

What an interesting question! I’m answering your questions in random order.

TPR is a very good way to teach language with this age group. The use of story books, pictures and realia also work well.

Yes, definitely do phonics first and then move on to letters. Don’t do too much writing because he is still learning to write in Japanese and the letters/characters are very different. You don’t want to confuse him.

You can limit writing to copying letters or words. You can also provide the outline of the word in dots to be joined up or half-formed letters for him to complete.

Stories are very good and you needn’t worry about the level if the pictures are good and you can mime the story.

Ask his parents to spend 5 minutes a day on English; at the very least once a week.

As for instructions: have pictures with instructions underneath pinned up in the classroom. Point to these pictures as you say the instruction.

For teaching resources, look at books by Gail Ellis.

Hope this helps!


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