Formal instruction is not the only component of a quality language learning program. People who are working hard to learn English can benefit from other products and resources designed to help them hone their skills. If you know an English language learner and need to buy a holiday or birthday gift, consider a language-foscued gift that will help them improve their English.
Books give language learners a chance to practice reading in English. If you are buying a gift for a young language learner, consider a picture book. For older language learners, look for shorter or more humorous books. For example, you could purchase a book that shows a collection of memes or a book of comics. If there's a particular topic the person you are giving a gift to enjoys, you could also purchase a book of trivia relaed to it.
DVDs make great gifts because they give language learners a chance to listen to different types of English. When they watch the DVDs, they can turn on the subtitles in English or their own language to help make it easier to understand what is going on. Along with popular movies, consider DVDs that contain episodes of cartoons or television shows. DVDs that are part of specific language learning progrms also make great gifts.
Many ESL/ELL teachers use music to help teach grammar and vocabulary. That's because people get hooked to the beat, and then can listen to the words. If the person you are buying for loves to listen to music, purchase a CD or load an MP3 player with a selection of songs. Focus on their favorite genres of music or choose funny songs, like those from Weird Al. If you're looking for a bigger gift, add a karaoke machine or a Pop Solo microphone so they can see the words to and practice singing along with their favorite songs. You may also consider a subscription to Earworms, a language learning program that using music to help the language stick.
Journals give language learners a chance to write down their thoughts or any questions they might have. While blank journals make great gifts, you can also purchase special journals, such as a journal of writing prompts or a question a day journal, which give them something to write about every day.
Flash Cards or FlashSticks
Flash cards and FlashSticks help language learners build their vocabularies and learn other key concepts. FlashSticks are unique because they can be stuck around the house, offering reminders and learning opportunities wherever someone goes.
Magnetic Poetry is another fun gift for language learners. You can purchase a general kit with a wide variety of words or choose a themed kit, such as words for cat lovers or words for geeks. The magnets can be arranged to make serious or humorous poems and short sentences.
Word or Phrase a Day Calendars
Word or phrase a day calendars are like two gifts in one. You can gift a calendar and the person receiving the gift gets the opportunity to learn something new every day. For something a little different, consider a joke a day, word search a day, or crossword a day calendar. These also help build language skills.
Another way to help language learners build their vocabularies and practice their English is through word games. You can purchase a classic game such as Scrabble or Boggle or you can get a stack of inexpensive crossword puzzle, word search, or MadLibs books. Try to focus on simpler games and books. Some word games have a lot of rules and it can be confusing for language learners to focus on those and the words they are creating.
Language courses can be expensive. If there's a particular language course you know an English language learner has been wanting to take, consider purchasing credits or getting a gift card for the course. These courses an be in-person or online.
Coffee and Conversation
If you don't have a lot to spend on a gift or simply want to spend time with the person you're giving the gift to, consider offering a coupon for coffee and conversation. Take the language learner out for a cup of coffee (or tea or hot chocolate) and spend an hour or two conversing in the language that person is trying to learn.
When choosing a gift, be creative and think about the language learner's interests. Remember that anything that helps them interact with the English language can be beneficial. Happy gift giving!
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