Our phonics journey with My English School

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Phonics can be a great way for kids to learn how to read. Here is the experience of one mum and her child on her phonics journey with My English School.

As a mom, I have been reading to my kids since they were toddlers, and this practice has helped develop their interest in reading every day.

My daughter Kaira started showing interest in reading on her own but was finding it slightly difficult to blend words and recognise the sounds (phonics), which led to frustration.

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Since we usually speak our mother tongue at home, it is natural for everyone in the family to have our everyday conversation in this language.

For Kaira, she mainly had exposure to our mother tongue as I was with her at home all the time. But she picked up English from her brother before entering her Kindergarten. However, she was not very confident about it.

Reading books to my kids has always been my priority.  At the same time, I also introduced “self-read books” where kids can feel, listen and recognise words to create more interest in them even though that meant only flipping the pages.

During Kaira’s screen time, she watches her favourite cartoon which has helped her add more words to her vocabulary.

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Of course, that is only one part of learning, as children need to expand their horizons with schooling. We needed to look for a school that could help my daughter in improving her English skills.

I tried out a few centres and was looking for something near our place, so we brought Kaira to My English School (MES) centre at Our Tampines Hub to let her sit for the trial class.

I was a bit familiar with My English School Singapore as my elder one learnt his phonics and reading from them. With their help, he began to read even before he started his primary schooling. MES also helped to develop a lifelong  interest in reading, which definitely helps to boost confidence in kids.

A New Beginning

We booked our free assessment with My English School, but Kaira was not prepared to attend, as this was her first time going for any class. These are non-parent accompanied classes, so Kaira had a few fears to deal with. She cried continuously and we had to miss two trial classes, as she would leave halfway through.

We didn’t want to force her to attend because we feel that kids have to show some readiness on their own and genuine interest to learn anything. But we came back again after a week's time when she was more settled.

The teacher did the assessment and advised us that she will fit into the "Foundation class" where MES teaches students "phonemic awareness” (basic sound recognition and manipulation) to prepare them to learn phonics.

My English School Singapore teaches students aged 2.5 years to 12 years old at two levels: pre-primary and primary. The classes are once a week and every lesson runs for 90 minutes. You have an option to select a weekday or weekend class with different time slots.

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Initial Challenges 

For a couple of classes, Kaira had difficulties as she was confused with the alphabet. But later on, once she had picked up the words correctly, she started enjoying the blending of words and recognising them. What I really liked was that she was making an effort to notice words everywhere, be it in the shopping mall or in a magazine or newspaper. She would then read the words aloud.

Kaira's teacher is quite approachable, and she really encourages her students in the class. Kaira always emphasises the word "Funland” instead of a class. After every class, I receive feedback about Kaira’s learning and updates on where she faced difficulties and needed to practice more to improve her reading skills.

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I think for me it is easier to relate and comment from my personal experience that all these literacy skills (reading, listening, grammar and vocabulary) together form the basis for writing in primary school.

My English School Singapore: The Benefits of Studying in a Structured Environment

I feel that even though we read every day, kids  find learning in a structured environment along with other kids of their age more interesting. And they pick up words and sentences while communicating with these kids.

Upon enrolling Kaira at MES, I was not expecting any changes overnight. I thought it would take her a while to become accustomed to the teacher, the other kids and a new place. But gradually, after a month or so, Kaira was more keen to start reading short words, and breaking them down to understand the sounds.

Since she gets some practice work to do at home, that really helps her to start thinking and finding more words with those sounds. Also, she gets into the practice of writing every day.

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Have you tried Phonics classes before for your kids or are planning to send for one? You can go for a trial class at My English School!

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Written by

Pooja Kawatra