Of all the examination your child has to take, English Oral is the easiest one to ace. Kids who come from families with a strong English background have a strong advantage here.
English Oral makes up 25% of the total English marks. It takes the least amount of prep time and is probably the easiest subject for kids to ace in. Oral examinations begin in primary/grade two.
There are two components to the English Oral: Reading and Conversation. Generally, it is easy to get full marks. But for students whose first language is not English or their spoken language is not very strong, the intention of this post is to offer tips that will help strengthen it.
What Does The Examiner Look Out For During Oral Exam?
During the reading segment, the examiner is on the lookout for:
- The student’s ability to read with clarity and expression.
- The student’s ability to pronounce challenging words.
- The proper enunciation of words.
Based on the reading script, the teacher will engage the student in conversation. Here are some common mistakes committed by the students:
- Fumble with their answers.
- Not looking at the teacher in the eye (demonstrating no confidence).
- Speaking too softly or mumbling their answers.
- Rambling on and digressing from the topic.
- Pause for too long (examiner is keeping time, so if the pause is too long, they will move on to the next question).
How Can You Help Your Child Ace In Oral?
Many parents don’t place much emphasis on Oral because it is just a component of the subject. But getting full marks for Oral, especially during PSLE, gives the students a big advantage towards attaining that ‘A-star’ grade in the English language. And I will repeat, this is the easiest component to prep for.
Your child does not even have to prep for it if you implement these simple exercises throughout the school year.
1. Read Aloud – Find short passages where your child can practice reading. Comprehension passages in their practice books will do. If your child’s school provide educational programs on MC online, there are passages that the kids can practice their reading. Also, let your child listen to model readings so he/she can emulate the reading style.
2. Read Audibly – many students, especially girls, reduce the volume of their voice when they begin to read. Hence, practice reading aloud helps them to hear their own volume. Sometimes kids misunderstand that louder means shouting. It helps to explain to them that they simply need to tune their voice to a higher volume to be heard by the examiner sitting opposite them. Borrowing a trick from speech therapy, ask your child to mentally “turn up” their volume. So, if their normal voice is a 3, ask them to turn it up to a 4 or 5 to be audible.
3. Clarity and Pronunciation – It pays to speak proper English to your kids on a daily basis. If this is not feasible, put aside an hour a day or one day a week where it is “Speak Good English” hour or day. Watching the English news and listening to the news anchors speak and enunciate words will also greatly tune our kids’ ear to the proper enunciation and pronunciation of words. Click here to access a list of commonly misread words.
4. Practice Conversation – Most oral conversations are on topics that kids are familiar with like family bonding sessions, field trips with school or family, vacations, eco-friendly matters or safety rules (road or home). Here are some easy tips to implement:
- Ask your kids questions to encourage them to describe or share their experiences with you.
- Short answers are fine. Guide them to answer directly to your question.
- When well-meaning relatives ask your kids questions, give your child(ren) the opportunity to reply.
- Praise their efforts profusely when they answered in full sentences. Tell them specifically the parts you thought they answered well in. For example, “I really like how you reply to that lady…” They won’t even realize they are practicing for Oral.
Speaking well takes time. But with some ingenuity on the parents’ part to create opportunities for their kids to practice, our young conversationalists will thrive. If you have really shy kids, try enrolling them in public speaking courses, debate clubs or drama clubs. Just keep encouraging them to keep trying.
Let us know if the above tips were helpful and share with us if you have other alternative methods to help kids do well in oral. Remember to connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter if you haven’t already done so. Best of luck with your kids’ orals.