Ways of Teaching English Pronunciation to Children of Different Age Groups

Tue, 29 Jun by kunal

 

You might have done a great job of surrounding your child with books to create a reading habit in them. But when it comes to teaching English pronunciation to kids, I am sure all parents could use some help.

Mispronunciation can not only have your child misunderstood, but it can also develop a feeling of embarrassment in them. And if it continues, they might even end up detesting the English language. Therefore, it’s important for parents to know how to teach pronunciation so that they can help kids at home.

Good pronunciation means checking all three when you speak:

  1. Sounds: Sounds consist of consonants, diphthongs, and vowels.

  2. Stress: Stress is the emphasis on syllables.

  3. Intonation: Intonation is the rising and falling sounds when speaking.

 

Other than these, pace, pause, pitch, and volume also play a huge role in getting English pronunciation right.

 

Methods of Teaching English Pronunciation to Kids

Remember, there is no single method of teaching English pronunciation to all kids. Children in different age groups have different learning capacities. So, we must use the teaching methods accordingly.

Let’s get started.

 

Beginning Level English Learners

  1. Tongue Twisters: Tongue twisters are a great way to teach children the sounds of consonants, and at the same time, are a lot of fun, making sounds easier to remember. You can use tongue twisters like ‘She sells seashells on the sea shore’ and a few other great ones easily available online.

  2. Songs: Songs are highly preferred way of teaching English pronunciation because they are an effortless learning tool.Children are naturally drawn towards songs. So, pick out children-friendly songs and listen to them with your child. Once they are familiar with the lyrics, encourage them to sing on their own.

  3. Rhymes – Just like songs, children learn pronunciation quickly with rhymes. The musical element in poems for toddlers and preschoolers help them understand the timing of words, use proper intonation, and exercise stress where needed.

  4. Vocabulary Training – When you teach your child new words, put emphasis on the correct pronunciation. Also, teach them the use of new words in context. However, make sure the words you teach are relevant. You can also use game-based learning methods to improve vocabulary in kids since vocabulary training can be a tiring experience for them.

  5. Repetition – Repetition is a great method to reinforce learning. So, when you teach your child the pronunciation of a new word, ask them to repeat it every chance you get. It will help them commit the correct pronunciation to memory.

  6. Minimal Pairs –Minimal pairs are addition and substitution exercises that help children understand how pronunciation works. For example, substituting the ‘e’ in ‘pen’ with an ‘i’ will make it ‘pin’. This formula applies to other words as well, such as den, ten, etc. Consonant replacement also changes the pronunciation; for example, tin-thin and bin-pin.Teach your child these formulas to lay a strong foundation.

Intermediate Level English Learners

  1. Record and Replay – Encourage children to record and replay their sentences to review their own speech and identify the problem. Children between the ages of 9 and 15 are capable of self-correcting, which is also a great way to boost confidence.

  2. Auditory Discrimination –This activity involves differentiating between sounds, which is of great help to be able to pronounce words correctly. Give your child pair words and ask them to identify the sound. Good examples of pair words are mine-main or bay-boy-buy. To help them understand the words and pronunciations in context, encourage them to make sentences out of the words in the exercise; for example,‘the large doors are closed’ and ‘the lodge doors are closed.

  3. Looking in the Mirror – When kids look in the mirror while pronouncing new words, they can observe the lip and tongue movement, which helps in understanding the nature of sounds.

Advanced Level English Learners

  1. Chants – Chants are a great method of teaching English pronunciation with intonation. It helps in understanding the difference between the sounds of a question, statement, and exclamation. For example, take a group of sentences, such as:

  • It is yourclass. (A falling tone)

  • Is it your class? (A rising tone)

  • It’s your class? (A fall-rise tone that shows uncertainty)

Now use the correct intonation with each sentence and ask your child to repeat them with the right intonation as you demonstrated.

  1. Connected Speech – Teenagers and pre-teens are smart enough to understand and learn connected speech words. For example, ‘got to’ is pronounced as ‘gotta.’ So, encourage them to listen to native speakers speak the English language and also use connected speech words with the right pronunciation.

Now that you know how to teach English sounds to kids, you can immediately get started. Just remember to take it slow since overburdening kids with information can be frustrating for them. Know that practice is the key. So, keep the learning consistent.




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