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EIKEN 2 Speaking, & spelling for 3-yr-olds

We teach our students to answer question one in the EIKEN 2 speaking test without hearing the question. This method not only guarantees they get maximum points for this question but boosts their confidence to pass the whole test before they even read the passage aloud. Learn how below.

 

Why Teach Spelling to 3-yr-olds?

Children must read to pass EIKEN 5. Moreover, children may study independently if they can read. Therefore, it is beneficial for students to read as early as possible. Besides developing phonemic awareness using books and interactive games, another path to reading in preschoolers is lessons that integrate phonics spelling skills with phonemic awareness in an entertaining way. Some schools that accept children from age 3 teach such lessons, and by doing so they give their students a head start in English.

 

Question:How do some schools that accept children from age 3 give their students a head start in English?

Answer:They teach lessons that integrate phonics spelling skills with phonemic awareness in an entertaining way.

 

Children enjoy playing interactive games to learn spelling.

 

The Four Skills

Teaching students all four skills, listening, speaking, reading and writing is important for them to master English. Some people erroneously claim child development experts agree that children should not be writing until about the age of six because they have not developed their fine motor skills required to use a pencil well. However, teaching spelling to 3-yr-olds improves these skills, and by doing so it helps them develop a mature pencil grasp considered efficient for legible writing. Also, it involves all four skills required to master English.

 

Question:How does teaching spelling to 3-yr-olds help them develop a mature pencil grasp considered efficient for legible writing?

Answer:It improves their fine motor skills required to use a pencil well.

 

Three year old demonstrates dynamic quadrapod pencil grasp considered efficient for writing.

 

Important Classroom Activities

One teacher might hold off on letter recognition and phonics until the age of four and spelling until the age of six. Another may teach their own child or private students writing from age two years old. Some may say it depends on the kid when to teach writing. But in these cases, it depended on the teacher. Psychologists know it is appropriate to teach classroom activities for 3-yr-olds that require the coordination of scissors, pencils and paper. Informed teachers include them in their lessons, and in this way they help students master essential preacademic skills.

 

Question:How do informed teachers help students master essential preacademic skills?

Answer:They include classroom activities for 3-yr-olds that require the coordination of scissors, pencils and paper in their lessons.

 

Three year old demonstrates coordination of scissors and paper.

 

Early Development and Learning in Children

Some teachers are very vociferous in telling other teachers they should not teach writing to 3-yr-olds. But one US milestone is ‘begin to copy letters at age 3’. And a Hong Kong study revealed that most US and Hong Kong kids acquire mature pencil grasp fine motor skills by age 3. Teachers play an important role in helping children to develop emergent writing skills. One way they can help is teach children the ability to write their own name. Some 3-yr-olds acquire this ability, and by doing so they pass a key milestone on their journey to learn English.

 

Question:How do some 3-yr-olds pass a key milestone on their journey to learn English?

Answer:They acquire the ability to write their own name.

 

Passing EIKEN 2

Students at David Price English School are taught to use the 20 seconds silent reading time to find the answer to question one. They are trained to search and quickly find a demonstrative pronoun or determiner word. Such words are clues. Especially if they precede a noun which can be traced back as the object in the preceding sentence. The words such, these, them and this are important. By quickly finding such words in the passage, students can determine question 1 and hence prepare their answer in anticipation, which effectively boosts their confidence to pass the test.

 

Question A:Write what you believe is question A as a comment to this blog.

Answer A:They quickly find the words such, these, them and this in the passage.

 

Boosting Confidence

Besides looking for a demonstrative pronoun, students are taught to pay attention to periods and commas. They are trained to find a period or comma preceding a clause that translates as ‘therefore’, ‘consequently’, or suchlike and use it to determine the question. With sufficient practice using several different passages students readily find this clause, and in this way they can deduce the question and boost their confidence in passing the test. The question is likely in a clause starting with ‘therefore’ following a clause with a demonstrative pronoun.

 

Question B:Write what you believe is question B as a comment to this blog.

Answer B: Write what you believe is answer B as a comment to this blog.

 

Background and references

Here is a link to a sample of the EIKEN 2 speaking test which was used as the foundation upon which we constructed our materials.

Here is the rationale employed to construct our materials.

In the sample:

Sentence 1, 15 words.

Sentence 2, 13 words-starts with a phrase which can translate as ‘therefore’, ‘consequently’.

Sentence 3, 11 words-contains demonstrative pronoun ‘these’.

Sentence 4, 9 words -starts with a phrase which can translate as ‘therefore’, ‘consequently’.

Sentence 5, 15 words.

The passage contains 5 and a bit lines under a bold heading in title case.

In the sample, the question is in a clause following a clause with a demonstrative pronoun. We can deduce this by examining the Q&A and noting that ‘these’ services refers back to ‘childcare services’. We can also observe that the precedent clause is SVO and a perfect answer would be this SVO after substituting the S pronoun, using the same verb, and inserting the referent of the demonstrative pronoun into the O.

In our school, we emphasize identification of S and O and therefore teach children to always use pronoun S and O in response to questions containing S and O, as a method to develop listening comprehension. This is why our answer is not the same as that in the sample, but it is unarguably correct.

Emergent writing.Children as young as 2 years old begin to imitate the act of writing. Hence we teach 3-yr-olds by providing materials and setting the scene such that they play with older peers and discover how to spell and write.

Here is an example of where the children role play teacher and students with minimal explicit input from the teacher, akin to autonomous learning.

Sesame Street milestones chart showing 3-yr-old children begin to copy letters.

Table 3.6 : US children and HK children acquire the fine motor skill of mature pencil grasp at 3 years old.

American Psychological Association report of a teaching strategy that was effective in teaching 3-yr-old children to independently write/spell CVC words.

 

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