English Proficiency Test Solutions

CHILDREN POETRY BY JOSEPH THIONG’O

This book uses simple poems to help the learner to improve their written and spoken language. In addition, to their reading and listening skills. The poems employ a variety of common rhythms and grammatical structures that can help the learner master written and spoken English. Moreover, the book will prove essential to teachers of English and creative writers who would like to learn how to teach or write poems. 

When writing children poetry always remember that children love reading and listening to a text that is rhythmic and melodic. Using rhyming words, repetition, and maintaining regular number of syllables are some of the easiest techniques one can use to achieve this when writing for children. it is good to read the text aloud when editing so that you can hear the pulse rate of the poem. Try to retain a regular beat of 4/4 or ¾ because most children respond easily to these rhythms. Clapping can help in choosing the appropriate words that convey the message retaining the regularity of the beat.

When teaching or aiding the learners using this book, I would recommend the parents, teachers or the person helping the learner to read the poems aloud and where possible to clap or snap. This will help the learner to easily acquire the common rhythms in the poems, which are also the foundation of English language. Once the brain of the learner acquires the basic rhythmic features of a language, it becomes easy to learn and master that particular language. Repetition and imitation are two simple and easy techniques one can use to help the learner acquire rhythmic skills. 

When teaching oral skills, breath control, body posture and constant exercise of the speech organs using tongue twisters can be helpful in helping the learner to develop the right muscle coordination of the speech organs. Once the learner has mastered the rhythmic features, and muscle coordination of the speech organs, learning a language becomes easy. This is because all one needs afterwards is to enlarge their vocabulary. Consequently, one can easily speak, listen, read and write in that particular language.

Lastly, always remember that native speakers join their words and nasalize as they speak.  Repeating the syllables nan a nan ana na na na naan an na and maintaining the same mouth position and facial muscle coordination when speaking can quickly and easily help nonnative English learners to improve their spoken English. Recording the learner as one speaks and playing back the recorded voice can help the learner to hear how they sound. Doing this over and over again, can consequently help the learner develop the speaking style of their choice. Constant listening to a radio station that broadcasts in standard English such as BBC and VOA in addition can help the learner to develop their listening skills. Remember speaking is an act of performing meaning. Therefore, help the learner to acquire speech habits that can help the listener to understand easily the message the speaker expects to convey. 

AUTHOR

Joseph Thiong’o teaches Literature at Egerton University Kenya. He has specialized in; teaching and research in Creative Writing, Literary criticism, Music, and Gender Studies.

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