With a solid grounding in Class 1 English, students can look forward to academic success. Without this foundation, however, students will flounder because they did not get "the basics." Teaching English to 5- and 6-year-olds is exciting because they are so eager to learn. Reading, both in and out of school, is vital to academic studies, so if you can turn your Class 1 students into readers, you will make a positive impact on their future studies.
Read books, both as a class and individually. Encourage students to read a book every day. Set up a reading program and record the data on a chart, so that for each book a student reads--and can verbally report on--he is awarded a tick. Check the list of recommended Class 1 books for your state.
Write stories and keep journals. Have the students write every day. Even though their stories and accounts will be elementary at the beginning of the year, use their journals as an evaluation tool to see how much their English skills develop as the year progresses. Daily writing also helps develop printing skills.
Promote listening skills by telling stories to your Class 1 students and asking them questions about the characters and the plot. Telling the story, rather than reading it, gives you the opportunity of observing your Class 1 students and seeing how much of the tale they are grasping.
Teach sight words. English has borrowed heavily from other languages so students have to memorize certain words. Figuring out how to pronounce "knight" or "knife" by sounding them out is not possible.
Stress the sounds of the letters. Teach the students how to sound out words as they read. Have the class read the story in unison so that they get more practice than they would reading individually.
Have spelling bees. Turn learning how to spell words into a game. Class 1 students love activities and learning is reinforced in an enjoyable way when they think it is "fun" rather than "work."
Organize theme vocabularies. Teach them about colors one week and pets the next. By organizing words into groups, such as kitchen words or classroom items, you can encourage students to make associations with the vocabularies.
Have the students start vocabulary books to track the new words they are learning. Then reinforce the concept by having them draw pictures related to the words. After a unit on farm animals, for example, have students draw pictures of cows, horses and pigs.
Use nursery rhymes and songs. To reinforce the farm-theme vocabulary words, for instance, teach the songs "Old McDonald Had a Farm" and "The Farmer in the Dell."
Jody Hanson began writing professionally in 1992 to help finance her second around-the-world trip. In addition to her academic books, she has written for "International Living," the "Sydney Courier" and the "Australian Woman's Forum." Hanson holds a Ph.D. in adult education from Greenwich University.