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Want to pick up English faster?

If you are facing difficulties learning the English language while you read or speak with your peers, ask your parents to read the text aloud to you.

india Updated: Feb 18, 2010 18:56 IST

ReadingIf you are facing difficulties learning the English language while you read or speak with your peers, ask your parents to read the text aloud to you. It will not only help you learn the language but also enable in speaking correctly.

According to George Georgiou, University of Alberta (U-A) professor in educational psychology, it is instrumental for English-speaking children if they are to acquire the language skills, particularly comprehension, essential to their future reading ability.

Georgiou and his colleagues recently published a study in learning and instruction examining the cognitive and non-cognitive factors that may predict future reading ability in English and Greek. “We have found that in English, you need a rich home literacy environment. It’s absolutely necessary,” said Georgiou.

Since the study was published, Georgiou has expanded his research to Finland and China, with the same outcomes. He said that in the home literacy environment, what parents do at home in terms of literacy, and motivation predict children’s various initial literacy skills, such as letter knowledge and vocabulary, differently across languages. These skills, in turn, ultimately predict future reading ability.

Orthography is the part of the study of language dealing with letters and spelling. Georgiou pointed out that English is an orthographically inconsistent language; in other words, letters can have more than one sound each.

Because of this, he said, children learning English “need someone to show them the letters, teach them the letter sounds, play with letter magnets on the fridge. But that’s not the case in other languages.”