What are schools doing wrong?
I think most schools, private buxibans and chain cram schools are not teaching enough reading skills from the get go. They teach the ABCs at a maddening slow pace, and the top ten pattern sentences, in the first 3 months in order to impress the parents, with their kids’ “English skills.”
I would first have the students do a focused course in classroom TPR, how to get about the classroom, and understand the teacher.
I would have the schools teach structured breakdown and translation of simple sentences, so that students know how to break down sentences in order to build up meaning when they put them back together. I would expect all students in the class to be to read and translate the sentences.
These two things along with a simple reader, Ladybird, for example, would build up a solid foundation of reading skills which would help the kids get through the following 6 months, of phonics and harder vocabulary and verbal expression of ideas and opinions.
If all this sounds too planned out, it isn’t. It’s what we do here with fantastic results. And my next three beginning level English books are about this very thing: building readers of English from the ground up.
Catch me on tour!