On Wednesday I had a sudden trial with a 6-year old girl who’s family had just returned from Vancouver, Canada a few weeks before. After the normal introductory questions, realizing that she could already speak, ask and answer questions at the normal US/Canadian elementary school level, I asked her to read Peter Rabbit, then The Cat in the Hat and finally some of Spiderman 3. Wow! She could read and sound out words that she didn’t know the meaning of. I taught her a few of the words that she did not understand and asked her comprehension questions which she had little difficulty answering. Her father said that he speaks English with her at home but he was concerned that she needed to get writing practice so as to maintain and improve her current level, but she is just now starting to study at the Japanese school, so she will be busy learning Kanji and Japanese.
I suggested that he have her write a diary and if they decided to have her join my school, she needs to be a Man-to-Man (Private) student as she is far ahead of my other young Japanese students. I told him I would work on reading, comprehension, speaking and writing short summaries about what she reads. I think it will be fun if she decides to join. I am looking forward to hearing from the staff that they called back to have their daughter join.
Wish me luck!
Al Bartle – Smith’s School of English – Okamoto