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Tips for Improving Your ESOL Middle Schooler’s English Language Skills

two Indian aunties stand with a little boy and a middle-school girl

Are you raising a middle schooler who is learning English? Middle school is hard for anyone. Learning English as a Second Language (ESOL) at the same time can feel overwhelming. You can help your child learn to speak the local language fluently – even if your own English language skills aren’t as strong as you’d like them to be.

Use Your Native Tongue

According to the U.S. Department of Education, using your native language at home is not detrimental to your child’s ability to learn English. Actually, if your child has a strong foundation in their native language — meaning they can speak, read, and write in their native tongue — they’ll have an easier time learning English. Support your child by explaining new words and concepts to your middle schooler in your native language, while they are building their English language skills. 

Help Your Child Find Resources

It can feel nearly impossible to support your child in their journey to learn the English language if you’re still learning yourself. Luckily, there are plenty of resources available to help you and your child.

Look around online or visit your local library. Many libraries have English as a Second Language resources that you can check out. If you don’t feel comfortable going to your local library with your middle schooler, head to their school library instead. 

Get Your Child Involved in Extracurriculars

Sports and afterschool clubs are just as important for English language learners as for local students. Joining sports teams or clubs gets your child involved in a community with their peers. They will be able to make new friends and maybe even meet other kids who are also learning English. 

Extracurriculars introduce your child to a new way of learning English. Instead of sitting in a classroom, they’re actively working with a team on something they’re passionate about, which may motivate them to practice their English skills. 

Make Multimedia Multilingual

There are many ways to learn English. You don’t have to limit your child to flashcards and classroom-style learning. Use every aspect of your child’s life to help them learn. Listen to music and watch TV in English and in your native language. For example, you can watch your child’s favorite movie with English audio and with subtitles in your native language, or vice versa. 

Work with your local librarian to get two copies of your child’s favorite book – one in English and one in your native language. Your middle schooler can use the book written in their native language to help translate the English words they don’t know. 

Find the Right Resource for Your Middle Schooler

Middle schoolers who are learning English find themselves in a unique situation. They may feel isolated from their peers and struggle with their academics. If you’re a parent to an ESOL middle schooler, you know that this can take a toll on your middle schooler’s confidence. If this sounds like your child, it might be time to sign up for LeadYouth. 

As an immigrant parent, LeadYouth’s CEO Sarat Chakravarthi understands the unique situation of raising a middle schooler in a bilingual household. LeadYouth is designed to build the confidence of students so they can communicate, lead and thrive in any environment.


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