What are some ways your child can improve their Primary English skills without using assessment books?
At AGrader Learning Centre, we believe that cultivating a love for the English language can be highly motivating – even for the most reluctant readers and writers. The school holidays are a great time for your child to get curious and creative!
To better support you in nurturing their interests, here are five fun activities that you and your child can engage with at home and around Singapore.
1. Write For 5 Minutes a Day
Support your child in building a habit of writing with an achievable goal. Before the holidays start, invite everyone in the family to write phrases or single words on pieces of paper. Collect at least 20, fold them, and place them in a box.
For each day during the holidays, take turns to select a word from the box. Invite everyone to take five minutes each day, like after dinner, for example, to write something about the word.
Let’s say the word was ‘cat’. Use this prompt to write about a beloved pet, create a cat of your own (who roars like a lion and has the legs of a rabbit for example), or invent a story about a flying cat, and so on. As a bonus, practise reading aloud as you share your completed stories with each other.
The activity is a fun way to bond as a family and encourages building creative writing skills using familiar objects, people, and more, as prompts.
2. Hunt For Patterns
Go on a hunt anywhere, whether it’s around your house or on your next trip to the shopping mall. Your child, the ‘hunter’, will need a notebook and either a pen or pencil to draw the patterns they see.
They could be stripped cushions on your sofa, geometric shapes on poster displays in a mall, vein patterns on a leaf, and so on.
As they share their findings, invite them to talk through the colours, shapes, and textures of the different objects. If they aren’t able to find the right words, look them up together. This gives them the chance to practise creating sentences with descriptive words and expand your child’s vocabulary.
3. Go on a Neighbourhood Tour
Sign up for a guided tour of an area of Singapore that’s relatively foreign to you and your child. Consider free heritage tours of estates such as Telok Blangah, Queenstown, and more offered by my community.
Get curious and learn together with your child as you explore an area that’s new to the both of you. Encourage them to bring a notebook to jot down fun facts they find interesting. Or they could take photos of things that stand out to them.
After the tour, ask them what they enjoyed and something new they learned. If they’re reluctant to start, share your thoughts.
This shows them that curiosity and learning continue outside school, and gives them the chance to model how to organise their views and sentence structures. At the same time, your child learns new vocabulary to express themselves to improve their English language skills.
4. Plan a Short Trip
Make a short trip to enjoy the outdoors. If time allows, consider spending a day cycling at Pulau Ubin. This way, you get to take a break from digital screens and bond as a family.
Encourage them to read up on Pulau Ubin ahead of the trip, to understand the island’s history and its terrain. When you’re there, interview at least one resident or merchant. Ask your child to think of three questions they’d like to ask ahead of time.
They get to practise active listening as they listen to their interviewees’ responses. They’ll need this skill for their PSLE English Listening Comprehension and to effectively communicate as they grow.
The preparation introduces them to different research skills and a wide range of sources such as oral history accounts and desktop research.
Doing the research could also help them connect with Primary school English exercises they will need to practise. This not only better equips them for upcoming exams but also lays the building blocks for taking PSLE English.
5. Explore Museums
Spend half a day exploring a museum with your child. Consider the Children’s Biennale at National Gallery Singapore or the Museum of Ice Cream, depending on their interests!
Then, encourage them to create a museum of their own. It could be based on something unusual like toilets, or be inspired by their favourite animal.
Your walk at the museum offers some structure for them to borrow as they plan a museum of their own. Your child could write or draw their ideas, or simply chat about it on your way home.
Constructing imaginary museums can help generating ideas in creative writing for primary students, as well as possible talking points for their Oral Communication segment in PSLE English.
At AGrader Learning Centre, our Primary English Classes are designed to support Primary school students in cultivating a love for the English language. Paired with our all-in-one English study system, the engaging lessons (that is: not boring at all!) motivate students to build skills and make quick improvements in a short time. If you find the proposed activities fun and interesting, learn more about our Primary English lessons here.