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Monday, July 04, 2011

Teaching English at home

This one's for you Annie. You've asked me to do some primary school workbooks reviews. So here's one for starters. :)

I find that my girl's English is not as good as it should be coming from a home where both parents speak only English and a smattering of Chinese dialects. In school she is taught Chinese and Malay and English, in that order.

Jazz Up Writing

English is like the last resort of sorts and placed in the back burner of the classroom. As a result, I can see that her English is getting poorer compared to her preschool days.

I am not going to send her to English tuition to make up for it. So, I have to teach her myself.

Creative Writing Practise

Sometime ago, I found these books at the bookshop hidden somewhere in an obscure corner. It would seem that even English workbooks are placed at the back burner as other workbooks are placed in easily visible racks.

A little about the books. They are RM6.90 each and by the publishers SAP Publications (M) Sdn Bhd. There is another called Jazz Up Grammar but I did not get that one. I especially like the one on Jazz Up Writing because it has many creative writing exercises within. Some of the exercises include writing a movie review, writing a menu, pretend to be an ant for a day, what kind of parent you will be etc. My girl enjoys these guided exercises. They are very interesting.

Jazz Up Vocabulary

Well, she also enjoys copying out Chinese essays which her teacher says she must do, in order to master the Chinese Characters. However, although rote learning may be necessary for Chinese which has many Characters to learn, where constant practise is useful, copying kills creativity. So I got her this creative writing English book to supplement her learning.

The only problems I have with these books are not the book themselves but the time to do them! Sigh. Oh yes, I forget. The book also provides access code to free online activities from Smartyisland.com


  1. I find that the std of Eng in a Keb sch is quite low, as wat I can c in the lower primary yrs. So I can imagine how it is in a Chn-medium sch.
    U mentioned that copying Chn essays is a good way to master the language. But I think it's gonna be difficult to get my girl to do it. Maybe gotta think of some kind of reward/grading sys to motivate her.

  2. slavemom,
    Yes, the class teacher advised my girl to do a lot of copying of essays. She says she has to do a lot of it to make sure she knows how to write the Chinese character. She also reminded her that she has to "depend on herself" because her parents don't know Chinese. Fortunately it is not difficult to get my girl to do it because she rather enjoys doing it. The hard part is finding the time to do it.

    If you haven't already got it, the Chinese writing practise workbook I highlighted would be useful for your girl too.

  3. MG, thanks. I'll look for the books when I get to the bookstore. Haha, this sure save me lotsa time from flipping book after book in the store.


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