You can help your child improve their English by giving them lots of opportunities to listen to English. This will help your child to feel more confident and prepared for their English exams.
Here are some ideas you can try at home.
Videos/TV shows are great source of ‘real-life’ English language and the pictures will help your child to understand what is being said.
Children love learning through videos/TV. It can be a great source of motivation – one of the most important factors in language learning.
Check out the great learning tips and activities in our article: Learn English through videos and TV.
Ask your child what they have enjoyed learning about in school. What would they like to learn more about? For example, it might be something like dinosaurs, castles, space travel, endangered animals, the water cycle.
Then try listening to English-language audiobook and TV shows related to your theme.
Learning tip for 5–12 year olds
You might like to try listening to an audiobook while you and your child look at the pictures in the storybook. Choose books with engaging and interesting illustrations. The pictures will help you follow the story and discuss it with your child.
Before you start listening, look at the picture on the front cover. Translate the title of the book. Make guesses about what will happen in the story.
Then listen to the story and look at the pictures. Pause at an appropriate point in the story. Were your guesses right? What do you think will happen by the end of the story?
Learning tip for 13–18 year olds
Your child can practise their listening skills with our Virtually Anywhere audio series and activities.
Free online learning activities
Encourage your child to try some of our fun learning activities, which are available for using on a computer or on a tablet.
Learning tip for 5–12 year olds
Your child can practise their English with these fun learning activities and games.
Learning tip for 13–18 year olds
Encourage your child to try some of our free listening activities and games.
Try to practise English in your daily life
Regular practice really helps children to learn a language.
We can all feel too busy to fit in any practice. But even just 1 minute of regular practice will build confidence. You could fit this in during a meal time or during a car journey. Challenge yourselves to speak and listen only in English for the next 60 seconds.
Some of the best learning takes place when children are having fun. What does your child enjoy doing? Ask them to tell you about their favourite activities. It could be:
- watching/listening to a TV show in English
- listening to English-language music
- watching/listening to a sports match with English commentary
- reading/listening to an English-language story together
- playing a board game together.
Try doing your child’s favourite activities in English. You can make learning activities fit with the interests of your child, whether that's dinosaurs or dancing!
Games are a fun way to practise English – it can be a really motivating way to learn a language.
There are lots of great learning tips and activities in our article Learn English through games.
Examples of games
- Play guessing games such as I spy something that starts with the letter …
- Ask your child to pretend to be another family member or friend. Ask questions to guess who they are. For example: 'Are you older than me?', 'Have you got brown eyes?', 'Do you visit us often?'.
- Collect photos of different people/animals/objects. Spread out the photos. Choose one photo and describe it. Your child must guess which one it is. Reverse roles.
- In your house, move three or four things (that are usually in the same place). Ask: ‘Which things are in different places?’, ‘Where were they?’, ‘Where are they now?’ This activity is good for revising home words and prepositions.
- Play ‘long sentence’. You say: ‘I can see a TV’. Your child says: ‘I can see a TV and some flowers’. You say: ‘I can see a TV, some flowers and my cup of coffee’. Continue until someone forgets the correct order.
- Find an interesting picture. Let your child look at it for 30 seconds. Remove the picture and ask present tense questions such as: ‘What colour is the flower?’, ‘What is the boy wearing?’
- Put books, chairs and other objects in places where people might bump into them. Ask your child to walk through the obstacle course while blindfolded. Guide them through the obstacle course, by saying directions in English (e.g. left, right, stop, take one step back).
- Try playing the game Simon says. Give your child an instruction. For example, ‘Simon says jump’, ‘Simon says touch your toes’, ‘Simon says pretend to be a duck’. If the sentence starts with ‘Simon says’ your child should act out the instruction. If the sentence doesn’t start with ‘Simon says’ your child should ignore the instruction and stay completely still.
- Read aloud a short story. Ask your child to act out each line or paragraph. Pause at appropriate points to give your child some time to think of a movement. For example, if you read aloud the line ‘there were lots of bees’, your child could pretend to flap their wings and say ‘Buzz! Buzz!’ If they don’t understand something, make up your own movement to give them a clue.
Prepare for the Listening test
Here are some important things to remember about Cambridge English Qualifications.
Encourage your child to use the preparation time, before each recording is played, to read through the questions and think about the context. Remind your child that it is important to transfer their answers to the answer sheet accurately.
Our Listening tests include a variety of accents. So encourage your child to practise listening to lots of different types of English.
Test preparation resources
Your child will feel much more prepared and confident about their exam if they know exactly what they need to do.
It’s really useful to do some practice exams. It will help your child to become more familiar and confident with the different types of tasks. Your child should be able to work their way through these with encouragement and careful guidance.
If your child is anxious about any of their English classwork, discuss it with your child’s teacher and ask them what you can work on at home.
Free sample practice exams and other preparation resources
Pre A1 Starters preparation
A1 Movers preparation
A2 Flyers preparation
A2 Key for Schools preparation
B1 Preliminary for Schools preparation
B2 First for Schools preparation