English learning difficulties

21 replies, Page 1

rams 2009-09-16 18:29:46


My son is 8 years old and he is Class 1V. He is having difficulty in making new setences because of that he is not able express his ideas in English. Also lerning new English words and making sentences using new words is not good. Any suggestions, how to improve..?

Also if you can recommend good enlgish teacher who can take tution near in HSR layout, please give me the contact details.

aanchal 2009-09-16 21:32:00


hi rams,

there are many word games that can be played to tackle this problem. few games target word-making, while few target sentence making. many board-games and puzzles are avalibale in the market too. there are activities to encourage creative thinking too.

inability to make sentences can be mainly due to two reasons: hesitation(performance anxiety) or poor sequential thinking..how is he in other subjects like other language, maths?

i am a special educator and take kids for learning difficulties in basic english and mathematics.i am moving to belandur on25th. but i guess it will be too far from yr place. i do online counseling too..let me know if i can help u in any ways.


rams 2009-09-17 19:15:58


hi aanchal,

Thanks a lot for your reply. Could you please suggest me where can I get these games and other details (like publisher etc).

I think Bellandur will be 5 to 6 km from my place. Please give your details. If you can take classes on Saturday or Sunday, I can bring him to you.

I can say he is  little bit slow in learning but he is able to unerstand the concepts in Maths and EVS.  I also feel, he is having hesitation to speak in english. Recently, I told him to speak in english at home so that the fulency will improve. But he does not speak much.




aanchal 2009-09-17 21:59:12


hi rams,

i would not suggest u to go for weekend tuitions..children these days are already under a lot of pressure and stress..making them go for multiple tuitions or coachings add to the load..plus, in bangalore, commuting in bad traffic takes a toll on children's health, skills and capabilities.

instead, what u can do is, meet up once when i shift and settle down (lot of unpacking will be there!!).talking to u and the child personally will help me understand the issue better..then  i can show u the books,  games and puzzles, hand out few materials and coach u how to tutor yr son at home..we can keep in touch through emails and meet up as and when required to follow up his progress..this kind of structure is called home-based programs and is best suited for kids who are not facing a very severe problem and/or who cannot commute on a day-to-day basis.

let me know if that suits u.


rams 2009-09-18 18:14:24


Thanks a lot, Aanchal. I will definietly meet you. Please let me know once you are setteled in your new house.


aanchal 2009-09-18 22:46:33


ok rams..will let u know..take care


Murielkakani 2009-09-20 10:37:36


hi rams,

Like suggested before, your child doesn't need tuitions... I would just suggest something very simple to do and absolutely inexpensive: start reading books aloud to you child. Start with simple illustrated books that he enjoys. Then soon, you can upgrade to small junior novels like Magic Tree House (adventure stories around the world - children love it. The best one is may be Tiger at Twilight) or even famous Enid Blyton. OK, any book you both like will do. And don't be afraid to read children novels with him (plenty of titles are available at Crosswords) that take several days to finish. Just read to him for 1/2 hour, 1 hour everyday. You will see definite improvement in his language and vocabulary within few months. Plus it will add quality time with your kid. That is what I have been doing with my daughter who is now 8 years old. Together we have read hundreds of books, thousands of pages... Today, at the age of 8, she has an amazing vocabulary and has just finished to read Wolf Brother, a 250 pages novel. All this not to boast but to emphasize the importance of reading stories aloud to kids. All the best.


rams 2009-09-21 18:49:02


Hi Murielkakani,

Thanks a lot for your suggestion. I do read with my son but not every day as you mentioned. I will implement your suggestion. When I am reading the stories, how to handle the new words (which are not known to my kid). Sometimes, I would have understood the word based on context in the story. So, I look into the dictonary to find the correct meaning. In the dictionary there are many meanings for the same word. So when I go thorugh all these meanings, child gets confused. Finally I will tell only one meaning which is relevant to current story. My queries are 1. Is it the right approach? 2. How can he form the new sentence using new words and understand the word thorougly.




Murielkakani 2009-09-21 21:33:54


Dear Ramachandran,

Let me reply to your queries. I might sound outrageous but you never need to bother about the exact meaning of the words. If the child asks the meaning of a word, just tell him what it means in the context of the story. Never bother whether he has understood the word thouroughly or not. And also don't pressurize him to repeat sentences. Remember that your story reading session has to be just fun, just a good time for you and your son. At the end of it, your child should ask for more. When you ask him whether he wants to read a story or watch TV, he should be willing to read a story. So choose stories he likes most. Generally children love stories with animals... Anyway you know best what he likes.

Now you must be wondering how all this will help to improve his language. For that, you must know that all children are intelligent and have a good memory. Your child, like all children, has a good brain. And when you read a good story to him, all the words, the sentences, the dialogues get imprinted into his mind (it is just as automatic as the infant who learns to speak. When you talk to a baby, you don't bother whether he understands or not and you don't correct him if he makes a grammatical mistake!! And yet the baby learns!!).

Another thing you must remember is that children are very emotional. They learn what they like, they learn when they have a good time (that is why they don't learn much in school especially if the teacher is not vey sympathetic). Children need love to learn. That is why they will remember a Shah Rukh Khan dialogue while they have though time remembering their lessons in school. That is why you have to make your reading sessions most pleasant (your reading sessions shouldn't be looking like a lesson and at the end of it your child shouldn't be yawning).

So make sure to give your child a good time (take him to the nearby bookstore to select the books) and be sure that sooner or later he will surprise you with his language (it is just a question of time). But certainly don't harass him by correcting each of his mistakes, and by giving boring explanations. Just be cool!!

And by the way let me know what is his favourite book.

By now, you will have understood that I am a great lover of books. And in my blog, Ecological Tales for Environment Education-India, I have put a virtual bookshelf with some of my favourite children's books. I am updating the shelf every few days. And I make sure to choose books that are usually available in India (Crosswords).



madhuriesingh 2009-09-22 12:09:17



I noticed that your son is very young for class IV. He is only eight. Ideally he should have been in class 3.

I have noticed that even a six months difference in the age of kids, contributes to the difficulty in children being able to pick a few things in particular as compared to other topics.

Kids love to pick what they love or what is interestingly taught.

My kids hate when I start with their school books and revisions.

But every 10 min they ask me, when will I do the fun study with them.

My kids go to diffrent schools.

One has started hindi in nur, where as the other one who is on 1st has started now. The younger one is still doing ABC.

He was youngest in his class when he was in Nursery, in Kiderbrook. So I decided to allow him to have less pressure and made him do Nursery again in DPS.

He is not very keen on school type studies.

I read stories from Ready to Read - Nick and Claire Page

Or any book which has maximum 20 lines. I read it first with my finger under each word. That makes the kid remember sound unconsciously. Then I ask the older one to read,in the same fashion. Once he is done, then I ask tiny question which the younger one has to answer first in one word or a sentence, whereas the older one has to give a correct answer which is a full sentence with pause and punctuations. I used to make him repeat the answers earlier, but, now he has learnt it. 

Surprisingly, my younger one has started answering in full sentence too now, even though he is not expected to do so. :)

Then, I ask the older one to pick out all Nouns and Verbs as he is doing that now in std 1. 

Then the younger one has to either give a rhyming word or meaning or just the starting sound and its first letter. 

The older one has to make a sentence of a few words.

I draw pictures of a  few words from that story and let them tell me anything they can. Since they are two, they compete at times to give me the correct answer first.

Another thing important I have noted is that the TV. I have made it compulsory for them to watch only in english. They would change it to hindi the moment I got busy. SO now I make them watch one hindi and one english. :)

I know of few classes who teach vocabulary but they they charge a bomb to teach one word per week. !

I think reading is best and making them hear english is the most natural way to pick it.

Do not worry, every child has different times when she/he gets it. I used to get things and concepts only after I passed a class and went to the next one :D.

Infact, I am rediscovering science and concepts better with more practical application around me when I am trying to teach things like magnetism, electricity, pressure, vaccum etc to my kids.:)

take care

Madhurie Singh



suteja 2009-12-14 16:49:39


hi madhurisingh

thanks for ur comments my daughter who is in class and eight years old is having the same difficulty as rams child but as u said she is only 8 yrs ur comment made me realize the problem now iam planinig to work on it



madhuriesingh 2009-12-14 17:23:48


 Thanks :)


samiar71 2010-07-27 01:06:03


Hi aanchal, dont know if u r still in the forum, do reply in case u there, i got a eight year old girl having studying problems.






aanchal 2010-07-27 10:19:45


sundar: i am still here..shoot !! 


samiar71 2010-07-28 23:01:49


Hi aanchal, thanks for the revert,  i got a girl 8 yr old in 3rd standard, she has problem of reading , what i mean is when asked to read any paragraph she reads those words which she already remembers, but does not try to read any new or not so familiar words simply she says i dont know this word.

Because of this she is not able to answer the questions for the assignments / cycle tests in the school.  Her teacher says she will sit with my girl for a couple of months to try and improve her reading saying that in 2nd standard there might be a reading lag kind.

please suggest.


aanchal 2010-07-29 10:46:12


not wanting to try out a new word can have couple of reasons behind:

  • poor phonetic skills: the child doesnt know how to sound the given letters with unfamiliar combination
  • performance anxiety: the child fears trying out new words fearing embarrassment on being wrong

you can coach her on phonetics (letter-sound association)..how each letter has a unique sound, how some letters have a common/similar sound (c-k, g-z), how some letters have different sounds (c-c, g-g, ch-ch, th-th), how consonents combine and make another sound(pr, pl, ph, pn, phr, ).also teach her homophones and homonyms, silent letters, short sounds and long sounds of vowels..there are some tricks that she can learn, like 'magic e' (how 'e' changes the sound by coming at the end of the word-- car and care, mat and mate), bossy 'r'(how the presence of 'r' changes the sound of the nearby letters-- girl..show her how the L is sounded with a tongue twist because R is there)..start teaching her CVC words (rat, mat, den, son)..then move onto units (like 'ate' is a unit that can be turned into many new words by attaching letters-- date, plate, late, gate, hate, fate)..once these basis phonetic concepts are understood, she will start trying to read...u can read her short stories and underline the words that u feel she might not know correctly. after finishing the story, write down those words and coach her on the sound, formation and pronunciation of each word.

if u feel that there is some performance anxiety present too, then handle it accordingly. make her very comfortable when she is reading. is there a lot of expectation from her to perform well, in general? is she your only child? any change in school recently? any major trauma in child's lie recently?

also check out http://www.parentree.in/groupdiscussion-913/Spelling-difficulty-for-my-6yr-old-child.html



samiar71 2010-07-29 23:26:52


Thanks aanchal, phonetics as u suggested will be revisited by me from 2nd standard books itself, which could improve her confidence and probably little bit easy too.

to your questions, she is my first child, second boy is near about 2 yrs age, school not changed, major trauma i dont think so if you are talking about any physical thing.  She after lot of followups and with 70% help from mother etc completes the assignment, but she does not give the same to the school class teacher in spite of teacher asking for the same.

she is very stubborn girl, gets angry very quickly, i used to kinda force her to do things, but in the last one month i have changed my attitude and started to be more friendly with her, in case she does not do, i try and help her out so that she will start doing on her own later.  she used to see TV almost whole day, i disconnected the cable telling her, she was very annoyed but slowly forgeting the same.


aanchal 2010-07-30 14:06:27


it would be helpful to think since when has her stubbornness been a problem..is it after having the sibling? by trauma i meant any signifant and unpleasant event in child's life (sorry i typed lie in the previous post instead of life..F is not working properly on my system)..it could be a small incident for us, but big for the child..anger is not a floating issue..it always has roots somewhere in experiences..anger can also be a learnt behavior..parents who get angry easily, bring up a child who is angry + either  too stubborn or too timid.

disconnecting cable is almost like punishing the child..its not a very good idea..the better way to deal with it will be to limit TV hours..sometimes unconsciously we encourage the child to watch TV (like when we dont want to be disturbed by the child) and then blame the child for the addiction..if that has happened with your child, then sit down with her and talk to her about your concerns of too much TV watching and ask her to suggest you ways to deal with it. you will be amazed to see her coming up with good suggestions, once she gets the due respect(actually we talk a lot about caring about and loving our kids, but overlook the importance of respecting them for who they are..and they crave for it badly)

i can email you sheets for teaching phonetics if you want..let me know.


puffy 2010-08-12 08:51:42


Dear Aanchal,

Good to read your blogs on forum and the help u have extended to so many of members with your skills.  I do have a problem with my daughter, who is 11 and studies in class VI.  Pl. try to suggest me something, if you find time for this!

My daughter, always had an aversion for spellings.  By spellings I donot mean big  or complicated ones used in Spell-Bee orlike.  She does so many mistakes in everyday spellings for eg. spellings like mere or lite instead of light or many more which I cannot even think of.  Two years back , I thoght this was carelessness (also her teacher 's remark) but I ma really bothered now.  I feel, this is increasing with passing time .  She is excellent orally and reads properly, good with concepts.  She spells out the word corretly but makes mistakes while writing.  I desperately looking for some help!.   

Thanks beforehand!




aanchal 2010-08-12 10:55:10


vaishali: seems like a severe problem in phonetics..a child whose basic concept of phonetics is not clear will keep on making mistakes no matter how much you drill her with practise and revisions. i suggest you to coach her on letter-sound association. i conduct workshop for mothers and kids for these learning issues but since u dont live in bangalore, i can try to help you out with some worksheets online. tell me your email id and i will send them to u. i am afraid due to time constraint, i wont be able to explain things in detail, but u will get an idea with those worksheets.


puffy 2010-08-13 18:42:04



Thanks aanchal ! It would be a great help indeed!  My email ID is vaishyardi@gmail.com

If you happen to know someone who conducts such types of workshops in Pune / Hyderabad, pl. let me know.  I will make it a point to attend these. 

Is it very late now b'cause she is already in 6th class?  I am worried because, she still does'nt feel the urgency and need to get things right , although it has become the prime reason for losing marks in all subjects.  Otherwise, she likes English as a subject, likes reading and is pet student of English teacher!   Is'nt it really ironic!  I really dont want her to dislike the language because of continually obtaining low scores in these..   

Thank you once again. Pl. reply whenever you can.  





samiar71 2010-08-15 16:10:39


Hi aanchal

Sry took long to reply back, She has been stubburn since birth, nothing to do with second sibling. When she does not get what she wants she gets quite angry. I do get angry initially then i thought she is just a kid and dosnt know things so try to reason her, 80% of time it works. Disconnection of cable is not having any adverse effect on her, she does not even mentions about missing TV, even though we have a tenant upstairs who has tv she does not even go there to watch tv but to play.

if you could send the phonetics notes let me try and start with her again, my email id shyam_raman@hotmail.com



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