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Vocabulary
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16.11.2021
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How to Teach Children to Pronounce English Words

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Correct pronunciation of English words is a stumbling block for all English learners. Examples are all around us. Let’s take the English ‘daughter’, 8 letters are pronounced with 4 sounds [‘d?:t?]!  And there are plenty of such cases… This may discourage anyone from learning the language. Let’s remember where learning English begins. The very first topics are counting and colours. And there are more than enough difficult cases! For example, their favourite number is 8 (eight) and their favourite colour is white. Any adult beginner will panic, let alone children…

Will Transcription Help?!

Until recently, all hopes were centred around transcription. In other words, an international system of icons that helps the pronunciation of words correctly in any language. There was little left to do, to learn how these icons relate to English sounds. And they tried to teach children to read transcription almost from the first lessons of English. But something went wrong… From a predominantly grammar-translation method of teaching, the focus shifted to a communicative approach to teaching, and teaching to communicate, rather than reading and translation, came first.

Teaching communication assumes that English for children begins with an oral lead: acquaintance with all the material that the child has to master is presented first orally, without written supports, and is consolidated in live communication through games, songs, etc. With such a presentation of the material, a child forms an initial language base and auditory-pronunciation skills are being developed, which will form the foundation of correct pronunciation in the future.

The reality is that if children begin to learn English at school, then the stage of oral perception of the language is either extremely short and the child’s skills do not have time to form or is completely absent. And children’s English begins with ‘one, two, three’, which must be pronounced, read, and written at once, otherwise…

How can you Help your Child?

You should still start learning new words in English through oral memorisation. First, make cards. Cards with numbers for counting, cut squares from coloured cardboard for colours, find pictures on the Internet or cut them out from children’s books for animals. First, a child needs to memorise and pronounce new words without any written visual support. You can fix it with a ball. This is how the auditory image of the word will be formed in their memory.

The next step is to memorise the sound and letter correlation. The transcription is unlikely to help. If the child does not correlate the sound image of a word with the letter, i.e. with the spelling of a word, make clear captions-clues. There is nothing wrong with that! The task is to relieve a child of the sense of fear or misunderstanding of English in any way. The domino game will come in handy. Have the child match the picture card with the caption card. If he or she copes with this task quickly, you can proceed to memorising the spelling.

With this sequence, the child will not experience problems, firstly, with correct pronunciation, i.e. when reading, he or she will be able to recognise a word by a literal image, and secondly, with correct recognition by ear, i.e. to understand the sound of which word is being spoken about.

We recommend video lessons at the Novakid Online School to avoid the child experiencing future difficulties and to ensure that they can cope with the emerging difficulties when learning English! Classes are taught by native speakers, and they strive to form and develop the students’ correct listening and pronunciation skills from the first lessons. Moreover, classes are given in the form of oral communication between the teacher and the student in English, which makes it possible for children from 4 to 12 years old to hear the correct English speech in each lesson. The first lesson is free!

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