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Why young children should learn English and how reading improves scores!

Updated: Apr 4, 2020

It stands to reason that the younger a child begins learning English that the easier it becomes to pick up the language.

The very youngest children initially absorb new vocabulary like a sponge. Research has suggested that between the ages of two and six, children are learning at least 10 new words a day (one for every hour that they're awake). The average six year old will recognise around 14,000 words and, over the next few years to age ten, they will learn around 20 new words a day.

If we consider these numbers, it is important to consider the role that reading can play in a young child's development. If we take, for example, a child in Kindergarten who reads (or is read to) for 20 minutes a day, during that year they will read/hear on average 1.8 million words. By the time that same child reaches Year 6 then they will have read for at least 851 hours and studies suggest that they will perform 90% better in tests than their peers. Naturally, the more words that a child is exposed to, then the better links they can make between written and spoken vocabulary with the added benefit of an increased confidence in spelling.

Educators have always advocated reading as one of the most important elements to brain development and supplement to learning and researchers have found that children who read at any age make different areas of the left side of the brain begin working - it is this side of the brain that helps understand new words and improve memory.

English as an additional language

Research has suggested that children who are bilingual are smarter. At a young age, bilingual children often perform better at recognising shapes and patterns in comparison with their peers who speak only their first language.

The younger a child begins learning English then the more chance they have of speaking it without an accent. Further research has found that young children have the ability to learn foreign language accent-free, while older children, especially after the age of 10-12 will almost never learn to speak English without an accent.

There is no denying the benefits of being a competent English speaker due to the fact that English is the official language of 53 countries and more than 750 million people speak English around the world either as a first or a second language. In addition to this, English is the most commonly spoken language in the world and one out of five people can speak or at least understand English.

British Academy Thailand

At the British Academy Thailand we are committed to improving the English ability of all of our pupils, whether they be native English speakers or learning English as an additional language. We offer your child texts pitched at the appropriate level for their ability and offer them the opportunities to delve deeper into the text by learning new vocabulary and providing extended questioning to assess comprehension.

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