Speaking in your home language
At Alma Park we recognise that it is very important for children learning English as an Additional Language (EAL) to continue to use their first language at home.
First languages help families share values, traditions and cultural identities. If children can speak and write in their first language, they can make new friends in their community and keep in touch with family and friends in their own country or region.
Children who can speak another language can also learn English better because they see when words are similar (or have a similar meaning). They can also use what they know about grammar and pronunciation in their first language to help them with English grammar and pronunciation. This is also the same for learning other languages.
Speaking more than one language improves thinking skills, memory and brain health. Furthermore, employers value people who are good at languages, opening up future job opportunities.
Ways to help you maintain your first language
- Sing songs, tell stories and share books in your first language
- Tell jokes, learn rhymes and have fun with language
- Watch television programmes or DVDs and talk about what happened
- Talk together at meal times. Use your first language.
- Stay in contact with family and friends by talking together on Skype or writing messages on WhatsApp, Facebook, etc.
- Borrow dual (2) language books from the library for your child to read
What if my child refuses to speak our first language?
It is normal for children to prefer one language over another at different times especially outside of the home. Schools respect and value your first language and it is important for children to feel proud of their language and culture. Explain the importance of being bilingual to your child and keep speaking to them in the language you are most confident in.
The importance of reading with your child
Reading in any language is a valuable skill. Reading together in either your home language or in English is one of the best things you can do to help your child progress in their learning. Here are some tools and resources for reading together in English:
Online resources for children learning English
- Learn English Kids - Free online games, stories, songs and activities
- Letters and Sounds Resources - Online phonics lessons
Online resources for adults learning English
- ESOL Nexus - a free website for people living in the UK to improve English and understand more about UK life and work
- Learn English - a free website with games, stories, listening activities and grammar exercises
- BBC Learning English - a free website where you can practice and improve your English
English Language Support - Manchester ESOL
If you or someone that you know is interested in learning English or wants to improve their English language skills, then Manchester ESOL may be able to help. They offer online assessments, lessons, resources and advice. The information on their web page can also be translated into many different languages.
Click here to get to the Manchester ESOL page.