There are more than a million words in the English language, which ranks among the hardest languages in the world to learn. Children, however, have a knack for picking up new languages, which will help them to learn English. Children are still learning and making mistakes in their native tongue, so English learning will be slow, too. Knowing Spanish will cause some initial confusion because of the different grammar rules between the two languages. When teaching English as a second language, help Spanish speakers override this frustration by making class fun and providing lots of positive reinforcement.
Make classes practical. Children may be translating for adults, so practice situations in which children will have to speak English. Examples include the doctor's office, grocery store and bank.
Use flash cards divided into specific categories for vocabulary words. For instance, spend one session learning the English names of farm animals. Spend another day on a topic such as kitchen utensils, fruits and vegetables, and articles of clothing.
Play matching games with Spanish and English flash cards. For younger children, it can be two pictures of cows, one with the English name beneath it, the other with the Spanish name. Older children can match the words without the pictures.
Cater to children's love of imagination. Play "pretend" with the children taking on the roles such as mommy and daddy, teacher or firefighter. Have them act out their persona using English words. Similarly, put the children in a play kitchen and have them make and serve food using their new English words.
Songs are some of the easiest ways to for children to learn anything, including English. Sing the classics, such as "Twinkle, Twinkle," but also incorporate the day's lesson into familiar tunes. Incorporate actions into your songs such as clapping and jumping to make it more fun.
Draw pictures that reinforce the day's lesson. This is an excellent opportunity to teach the English name of colors to children, as well as giving them a chance to practice what they've learned that day.
Watch English cartoons and shows. Children will soak in the natural, but simple, dialogue of the characters, which will expand their conversational abilities.
Play games. It's important that the English learning process is fun, so mix it up every day and give children fun activities to perform that reinforce the day's lesson.
Kyle Martin has been a newspaper reporter in Florida for over three years, and was a reporter in Mississippi before that. He is fluent in Spanish, having lived overseas during his formative years. He has a Bachelor of Arts in communications, with a concentration in journalism from Mississippi College.