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5 Block-Play Activities to Improve Language Skills

There's a reason most little kids would rather play with the box a gift came in than the gift itself. A box needs no instruction manual, there's no wrong way to use it, and the possibilities for play are endless. Boxes and simple building blocks epitomize unstructured play, an important part of early education. Recent studies have suggested that children who play with building blocks score higher in math classes and standardized tests than their non-block-playing peers and also may develop language skills more readily. If you don't already have a set of blocks for the classroom, start collect gift boxes for painting or wrapping. Once you've got a nice assortment of shapes, try out these five simple block-play activities, designed to improve language acquisition and exploration.
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Success stories: Israa's story

As part of our One Year Later series, we’re sharing the stories of four students who have made remarkable progress with Imagine Learning English in just one year. This is the fourth post in a four-part series; read part one here, part two here, and part three here. Like Khalid, Israa was not part of our original filming plan when we visited Place Bridge Academy in November 2009. It was Israa’s teacher, Della Hoffman, who introduced us to Israa. She had moved to the United States from Iraq earlier that year and, in just a short time, had benefited significantly from using Imagine Learning English. Israa Back in November 2009, Ms. Hoffman led us to the computer lab where Israa and her class were using Imagine Learning English. While it is not uncommon to hear students talking and singing, blissfully unaware of their surroundings as they listen to the computer through headphones, I remember walking into that room and immediately hearing one student singing louder than the rest: Israa.
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Using Music to Teach English as a Second Language

Have you ever noticed how the perfect song can make a bad day good or a good day great? It’s funny how powerful music can be when it comes to giving us a boost of energy or helping us relax. But the power of music goes deeper than energizing or setting a mood.  Music has been proven to have incredible benefits as a teaching tool, especially for struggling students.
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5 tips to get your preschoolers speaking

You don't realize how quickly children pick up on language until you hear your Kindergartners reciting the latest pop lyrics on the playground. While students in early childhood education may be excellent at mimicry, they still need help developing their vocabulary. According to Theresa Roberts's new book No Limits to Literacy, children must be aware of two components of a word before they can use it correctly: meaning and pronunciation. Without knowing both the meaning and pronunciation of a word, children (and adults alike) are powerless to use new vocabulary successfully. So we've pulled together five tips from Roberts's book to help your early childhood education students expand -- and actually use -- their new vocabulary.
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