By Katie Wilson
Learning a second language can be a challenging endeavor indeed. Many experts agree that immersion programs are by far the best way to help students become fluent in a second language. While this may be the best scenario, recent years have seen a steady decline in full immersion bilingual programs. There are some regular activities, however, that can assist students in acquiring a second language. What follows is a brief list of a handful of these regular activities.
Read in a Second Language
Encourage language learners to read everything they can get their hands on in a second language. Newspapers and web sites are usually geared for an average reading level and provide ample opportunities to increase vocabulary and semantic knowledge. Working with textual support helps bridge the gap between the sounds of words and how they appear on paper as well.
Keep a Journal
Writing in another language may be challenging, but definitely needs to be encouraged. A daily journal with sentence frames can help language learners to formulate their thoughts and help them to get started. At first, entries may be brief, but they will get more elaborate over time.
This day and age, there is no shortage of television programs available at any time. Situational comedies allow language learners to use nonverbal clues and context to gather meaning. Additionally, inflection and cadence can be acquired through viewing television. For added enrichment, captions can be turned on to further assist language acquisition.
Live in the Language
Moving from one language to another requires a shift in thinking. Encourage language learners to think in their second language. To help facilitate this, students should be encouraged to learn as much as they can about the culture related to the language they’re speaking. Language, customs, and culture are all interwoven and interdependent. Imitation of accents can also further enhance acquisition.
Practice Makes Perfect
Learning a language requires a lot of practice. Language learners should be encouraged to practice and not worry about making mistakes. Without making mistakes, they will never learn and become comfortable speaking with others academically or socially. Freedom to make mistakes is essential for language acquisition.
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