Teaching ESL to Young Learners

photo credit: Google images

photo credit: Google images

 Learning a second language

Language is a universal human phenomenon. Whether it is a verbal language, a series of clicks and other sounds, or even sign language, all humans find a way to communicate with one another. Children begin learning many things from a very young age. They see and hear what their parents do, and copy that. By the time a child is around one year, he or she can make simple sounds. As the child grows, their knowledge of sounds, words, and means increase and grow more complex. According to a 2005 article by Ashworth and Wakefield,

“Language is the key to creative thinking, solving problems and collaborative learning.”

(Teaching the World’s Children ESL For Ages Three to Seven, English Teaching Forum, 43 (1), pg. 3)

I couldn’t agree more with that quote. Language helps us speak our thoughts, express our feelings, and talk with one another. Language is not a dead thing; it grows as new words are added and old words are left to history. Being able to communicate effectively is essential to happy and successful living.

Continue reading

Johnny Is A Bad Student! (Or How Not To Write Student Report Comments)


No matter the time of year, teachers of all ages need to write student progress comments. Whether you write them quarterly or once each semester, it’s a task that can be quite daunting. It can also be a very time-consuming task if a teacher has over one hundred students to keep track of.

Now, not all teachers may have had to write student comments, but for those who’ve had, they know how difficult it can be to write effective and balanced comments. Sometimes it’s easy to focus on the negatives for some students, and the positives for others. All teachers have their “favorites”, but it’s important to be fair and balanced for ALL STUDENTS when writing comments. Below I will give some tips and examples for what makes effective and ineffective comments.

Continue reading

Effective Strategies for Teaching Reading


Reading is a BIG component of teaching any language – first or second. Reading, especially in a foreign language, can be quite difficult for learners. I have been working on earning my TESOL certificate through the American TESOL Institute (ATI). One of the modules I had to complete was about teaching reading.

Reading can be especially difficult since not every student reads at the same level. Some are able to read at higher levels than their peers, and others may struggle.

Continue reading

Building Phonological Awareness in Kindergarten ESL Students

Teaching young learners is like taking care of a plant – it takes dedication, patience, and daily care. You need to water plants daily, give adequate sunlight and air flow. Then it will grow into a beautiful flower, or leafy plant.

young plant

Google Images

In the same way, teaching young learners takes lots of preparation, daily instruction and practice, and a whole lot of love and patience. Helping children develop social, personal, and language skills is all part of a teacher’s job.


Google Images – Shepherdkids.com

In developing language skills, building phonological awareness is one of the building blocks of development. I recently came across a fantastic article focused on this topic, and I’d like to share part of it with you. Continue reading