Need Advice on Teaching Kids!


I’m a University student from Canada on vacation for the summer and have been asked to teach a couple of kids at their home for 1-2 hour sessions throughout the week.

I thought it would be alright as I’m not partcularly busy and would like to try it out. But I’ve never tutored before and would like to know how to go about educating them in english.

The parents have requested that I buy a story-book and read to them but I don’t think that should cover 2 hours, more like 30 minutes? However, I don’t know what to do with the rest of the time. Introduce words, play games? And what kind of games.

Funny thing is I feel more confident giving business presentations than teaching kids english just because I don’t know how they’ll respond.

thanks for any tips/links or advice!

It can definitely be tough to work one-on-one or in small groups with kids. A lot also depends on the age of the kids, their language skills, and their personalities. It helps if they’re already taking English class so that you can review what they’ve studied, expand on it, liven it up, etc.

For older kids, the parents probably want to see you doing “real” instruction versus casual conversation. You could work through a book together. There are some graded-reader style books with 1-2 page stories, comprehension questions, and a few other exercises. For variety, I’d consider playing some easy pop music and learning the words to the song. They could also do projects such as make a collage of their favorite things and then they tell you about it in English. You could have them tell the storyline of their favorite movie or make up a dialogue that the kids perform for you. You might get lucky and end up with diligent students who really prepare for class time and who like chatting in English.

For younger kids, the 1-2 hours straight would be particularly challenging. Kindy’s usually work in 10-15 minute segments with lots of breaks. Games and songs are mainstays of children’s instruction but with just a few kids, it’s harder to keep it lively. It’s a big advantage if the kids can already function in English and the folks just want them to be exposed to it regularly. In that case, do whatever you’d do with a native-speaking child that age: arts and crafts, make an easy meal, etc. If they are taking English class already, they might already have favorite games. Let them show you how to play!

I personally don’t like doing this kind of tutoring unless the students are interested and I enjoy their company. Otherwise, it’s a lot of hassle and time ticks very slowly by. That’s just me.

Good luck! Let us know how it goes!

I would agree with ckvw that much depends on their age and their familiarity with English; another factor is whether the parents want them to actually make progress or just be entertained. If they’re younger kids, I would recommend the Beeline series, which has mini-stories at the end of each lesson in the student’s book, a workbook, and a project (can’t remember the name) book which has all sorts of fun projects that allow them to practice the skills they’ve learned while creating a collage,
family album, finger puppets, and so on. Hope this is helpful.



Remeber the 2 skills. Reading, writing, listening, and speaking.

I teach a small group of 5-8 everyday for 2 hours (to be 3 hours in September).

The first half an hour is introducing new vocab. Using pictures. We just talk. At first it was difficult cause the kids couldnt speak and I was doing most of the talking. But now, they tell me things. Show and tell is also good.

The second half-hour we do reading. The best way to teach reading is with single-word cards. Teach words that are common like: This, is, a, it, he, she, they, I, like, likes, ball, toy, tree and so on. Ladybird books are designed to teach kids to read using the most common words in the English language.

We then break for 15-20.snack time

Come back. Check their writing homework. They answer questions about the story books. Currently they only fill in one 1-3 letters of a sentence like… Peter like_ the ba_ _ (Peter likes the ball)
They also have to write vocabulary words for homework and do coloring. we take up answers as a class for the writing.

Its also good to play a tape for the kids that they can hear and look at their book at the same time.

Last 20 minutes is usually an exciting game like sticky ball. Or a team competition.

Check out they have the best program I have seen in Taiwan (with my limited experience). Far better than Let’s Go or whatever.

In less than 3 months I have seen these kids learn how speak, read and write. I’ve also seen their social skills improve a lot.

GOOD luck!