Starting the New Year Off on the Right Foot

Dear ESL Parents,

Happy New Year! We hope you and your child(ren) enjoyed a nice break from school! Is your family ready to start the new year on the right foot? To get off on the right foot means to make a successful start. Here are some tips for making a successful start to 2014:

1. Set language-learning goals for the whole family.

  • Mom wants to improve her listening skills.
  • I want to learn how to read in English.
  • Dad wants to improve his pronunciation skills.
  • Ariana wants to learn English verb tenses.
  • We all want to increase our English vocabulary.

You could place your goals on the fridge, or hide them somewhere fun and dig them up in 2015. I always sew a doll on New Year’s Day. We place our family’s hopes and dreams inside the doll.

2. Vow to listen to English every day. Choose a podcast or English TV program to listen to or watch daily. You could also borrow audio books from the library and make listening to English a bedtime ritual.

3. Organize your child’s study area. Sharpen pencils. Have a fresh notebook ready. Recycle old paperwork. Print off some fun worksheets from Sprout English’s Spotlight, such as this week’s Listen and Draw activity.

4. Start a new family reading log. Reading with your child at a certain time every day is a great goal for the new year. You can read a book together, or read side by side. This principal said that 20 minutes of required home reading reformed his school!

5. Make a new English friend. Encourage your child to have playdates with an English-speaking friend in 2014. Ask your child which school friend he or she would like to play with outside of school. Talk to the child’s parent after school, or send an invitation in your child’s backpack. Invite the parent to come to your home the first time, or organize a meeting at a park or community center.

Don’t forget to include Sprout English in your language-learning journey this year. We want to help you grow!

Happy New Year!


get off on the right foot: to make a successful start

vow: to promise

podcast: a regularly updated series of audio episodes (See ESL-Library’s podcasts.)

reading log: a record of time spent reading; includes titles of reading material and reader’s name

reform: to change (in a big way)

playdate: an organized (and supervised) playtime with two or more children

Note for Teachers: Feel free to copy and print this letter to send home with your students. You can adjust it as you need to. Tanya has some great ideas for teachers here.

Sprout English Spotlight

Find this lesson in the Project Depot – Drawing.


Purchase a subscription to access all our Young Learner resources. Only $7 a month.

Tara Benwell

Tara Benwell is a freelance writer and editor who specializes in materials and articles for the ELT industry. She is the media director and head writer for ESL-Library, and a contributor to its sister site Sprout English. Tara is the author of an iPad storybook series for kids called Happy Campers Books. Her debut novel, The Proper Order of Things is available on Amazon and in the iBookstore.

2 Responses to “Starting the New Year Off on the Right Foot”

  1. Tanya Trusler

    Editor’s Note: In titles, prepositions are usually not capitalized. But when a preposition is part of a phrasal verb, it gets capitalized. In this title, “Start Off” is a phrasal verb, so “Off” should be capitalized. Interesting, right? ;)

  2. Tara Benwell

    Thanks for sharing this important note about titles, Tanya! More to come on our sister site in an upcoming post about ESL-Library’s Style Guide.


Leave a Reply