One of the best times to teach someone a new skill, including a new language, is in the early development stages of childhood education. Rather than teaching a whole new set of rules for grammar, punctuation, structure and speech, young students are often able to pick up a new language as easily as their native tongues.
For those students who move to the United States from other parts of the world, there are ESL programs available in public and private schools. Teachers are trained to work with students at many different levels of development. One of the main goals of ESL education is to help students develop confidence in their verbal and written skills. Rather than feeling isolated by a language barrier, students involved in ESL education programs tend to develop a sense of community in a rather short period of time. In recent times, teachers have gotten rather creative in their ESL lesson plans. Rather than boring students with traditional spelling tests, grammar quizzes and essay writing assignments, teachers are using music, art and even theater to relate lesson plans to students from all over the world. I once heard of an ESL teacher providing her students with refrigerator magnets featuring English words, and letting them create poetry with them.
One of the most popular teaching tools for young ESL students is a list of commonly used words called "Dolch sight words." These words appear in more than 50 percent of the children's books on the market today. Many lesson plans incorporate the use of these words in creative ways. These lesson plans help students learn to recognize popular words by sight, and help to develop a rudimentary English vocabulary.
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