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Learn English – Smile!

We receive many anxious calls from parents concerned that their children are not learning English or speaking properly. Anguish and anxiety grow when they feel that their children’s English pronunciation is not clear and others find difficulty in understanding what they are trying to say. There has been a huge demand in elocution lessons for kids as a result.
Many young learners struggle in forming the sounds of common consonants in English – /t/, /d/ and /n/ – particularly when those consonants are found at the beginning, middle and end of English sound blocks.

A common cause for children having difficulty in forming these sounds may relate to the child’s inability to bring the tip of the tongue behind the ridge on the roof of the mouth. In adults learning English, lack of flexibility in the tongue may be one of the main causes for unintelligibility in English.

When learning English pronunciation it is important to smile. By smiling the jaw is pulled upwards, the lips are pulled back which in turn increases the clarity of the sound produced and, moreover, the volume within the oral cavity is reduced, which helps the tip of the tongue to come back behind the ridge on the roof of the mouth. Therefore, there is less distance for the tip of the tongue to travel which assists in reducing fatigue when speaking. The tongue is a muscle, together with lips, and if not exercised or exercised correctly, will become tired during articulation which increases the likelihood of unintelligibility in forming English words.

To assist the tongue in becoming flexible, introduce your child to some simple fun articulation exercises – tongue twisters are ideal once you can hear your child producing /t/, /d/ and /n/ sounds – don’t forget to tell your child to smile, you will hear the difference on smiling.

Once the /t/, /d/ and /n/ sounds are produced clearly, then practise with your children these following fun tongue twisters:

1. Sam’s shop stocks short spotted socks.

2. Unique New York.

3. Red lorry, yellow lorry.

Remember – Learn English kids in a fun way!


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