A lot of my friends have asked me the same question. “How young is your youngest student? And WHAT do you do with them?” I agree that young children can be difficult to tutor since they have such a low level of English BUT they learn so fast! I love teaching young students (1st, 2nd grade) because I can be silly with them and they are like sponges! They have the potential to learn very fast. Also, they tend to be less nervous and embarrassed about speaking out loud and possibly making mistakes in English. Here are some things that I like to reinforce/teach my youngest students (5-6 years-old).
My first and most important tip is: make it fun and remember that they are small children! If they aren’t paying attention, try something else! It can be frustrating, but you will get the hang of it!
Good topics to try –
- Numbers –Numbers are a very important vocabulary set! The younger the child, the smaller the numbers are. For instance, I will don’t like teaching a five-year-old to count to hundred in English right away. I usually stick around 1-20, 1-50 etc depending on the child’s level, at least at first. What I’ve done recently is I’ve made flashcards with the number set on them and I ask the child to identify the number as I pull it out of my deck. I start with them in numerical order and then I mix it up. It’s a lot harder when they don’t go in order! Then I sometimes play a memory game where I flip them all over and ask the student to flip them face-up and say the number. Then they put them in numerical order, in both ascending and descending order.
- Colors – Another important set of vocabulary! Children love colors, so why not make it fun? I like to do coloring activities and “tell me what color this ____ is” games. For instance, I used to play Barbies with a young girl and I’d ask her questions like “What color is this?” and I’d point to Barbie’s dress or her handbag etc. With older students you can make it a little more complicated and ask the color of something in the room without pointing to it. Then they have to understand what the object is and then tell you the color. “I Spy” is a good game for this!
- Animals – I LOVE ANIMALS! There a many ways to introduce different animals. I like starting by coloring animals and talking about our favorite ones. “I like giraffes. Do you?” Then I encourage the student to answer, and then ask me the same question with one of their favorite animals. You can also play a modified “20 Questions” game to guess what animal you are thinking about. Pick an animal and ask the student to ask you questions about it to guess what it is. Depending on the level, you might need to help them with the types of questions that they should ask you. Ex. What color is the animal? Where does it live? Is is big or small?
- Shapes/basic articles of clothing/basic phrases are also important, but I won’t bore you with the longer explanations. I give you credit J you probably know what to do for these!
There are obviously many other topics that you can cover. These are just a few that I could think of off the top of my head. I hope that this helps some potential or future tutors! Feel free to leave comments!