How to teach English as a Second Language

Hi everyone! I had a question from a reader asking for tips on teaching English as a second language. Especially when English is not the teacher’s primary language either. I’m hoping some of you can chime in and help out?

Anyone have tips on teaching English as a second language?


Listen a lot and read a lot! Listening is the first thing to do. A lot of people feel they can’t master a new language because they don’t listen enough. Think about a kid learning his/her mother tongue. Listening is how they get familiar with a language. When there is enough listening, they tend to speak and say the things they have heard before. Output (speaking&writing) comes when there’s enough input(listening&reading). So let the kids watch many English cartoons and movies, read English stories to them. Later on, let them try to imitate. I hope that can help :smile:

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First you need to teach lots of vocabulary and listening skills. I used Speaking English With Ace and Christi from ACE curriculum. It is an ESL course for kids designed to prepare them for using a complete curriculum in English.

After that, I taught my kids to read using a phonics program (ABC with Ace and Christi, also from ACE; and A Beka for my youngest), so they can learn new words from reading, too.

Now my kids study most subjects in English without difficult, and 2-3 subjects in our first language. We are a Spanish speaker family.

Some tips:
Use real objects to teach vocabulary instead of flashcards.
To teach a verb, let the kids perform the action.
Teach them songs and let them watch lots of videos in English.
Assign a book to read and do an oral or written report.
The more contact with the English language, the better.


A good resource would be Uncovering the Logic of English: A Common-Sense Approach to Reading, Spelling, and Literacy, by Denise Eide. In her book she explains the 33 rules that govern the English language and how English really is a logical language (with very few exceptions!) when you know the actual rules governing it.

It wasn’t until this book that I knew most of these, such as the nine rules governing the use of the silent ‘e’. Understanding the “why’s” is really helpful when trying to learn a new language.

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