To improve the level of spoken language requires environment and constant practice. Relying on lessons taught in the classroom is not enough. One effective tip, especially for children, is to record the child’s speaking.
It might sound strange when you listen to your own voice at first (well, we all have experienced this awkward feeling), but it is indeed a very good way to improve. When one listens to his/her voice, it is easy to notice the 4 tones or pronunciations which do not sound right. Once noticed, one can then work on them. Over time, tones and pronunciations will for sure become better.
What to Record
There are lots of things we can ask a child to record. Here are some ideas:
Read a Book
After reading to the child a picture book, we can ask him to record his reading. It is a fun activity and most children like it. It makes them giggle sometimes to listen to each other’s voice. Once they get used to the voice, they normally like to listen to the recording again and again.
Give a Talk
There are so many things for a child to talk about. Favorite toys, family, weekend, pets, sports, games… the list goes on forever. We can ask the child to record his free or prepared talk.
Practical Conversational Phrases and Sentences
Assign a scenario to the child and ask him to play a role. This encourages conversations and makes practicing the phrases and sentences fun. When listening to the recording, we can ask “instead of saying … in this way, can we say it in another way?” You often can get some great feedback which really shows understanding.
How to Record
There are many means to record. Computers, tablets, even phones have the microphone built in. For children, a good gadget to record would be one which is child-friendly and easy to use. Easi-speak recordable microphone is a good example.
For little children, something colorful and solid would be more suitable. The Easi-speak recordable microphone is a great choice. It provides good grasp for little hands. It is colorful with obvious buttons. It works with USB, which does not only make transferring audio files to PC easily, but also recharges the microphone itself. It also allows children to play back their recordings easily.
It Is Time to Record
It is fun for children to record their own speaking. Let them speak in Chinese, let them learn as if they were playing!