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English Level

We have prepared the following explanations in an effort to help you evaluate your child’s English level.  We hope to make the differences of the various levels clear so that you can know what is expected at the different levels in Just for Kids as well as what your child should know or be able to do in English before entering his/her class this summer.

We hope these guidelines help you to pinpoint your child’s English level so that they may be placed in the appropriate class.  As our summer JFK program puts emphasis on listening and speaking skills, please bear in mind of those skills especially when evaluating your child’s level of English.



It is your child’s first time to study English or he/she has had a few English classes for up to 6 months.  Your child cannot read or write yet (a pre-reader), but may know the alphabet and can distinguish between letters.  Your child is beginning to recognize sight words but he/she has minimal or no speaking ability



Your child has had 6 months to a year of English classes once or twice a week.  He/She is familiar with basic question/answer patterns, knows simple grammatical structures and has limited vocabulary.  He/she knows the alphabet well, knows the sounds and have no problem distinguishing different letters.  He/She can write their name and a few words, and can read a few sight words.  He/She can answer a few simple, basic questions like “How old are you?”, “Where do you live?” and “Do you like sports?”  The child knows “-ing” verb forms and may have some exposure to “can” and “have”.



Your child has had 1-2 years of English classes in a school or privately once or twice a week.  Your child has a small working vocabulary and can ask questions to native speakers. Your child may even have a little knowledge of the past tense (is/was, go/went) and is starting to write short sentences. Students at this level are learning the difference between the two present tenses, i.e, “speaking” and “speak”, and 1st and 3rd persons “swim” and “swims”. He/She is starting to write and can manage reading with a little help. Your child should have good listening comprehension skills to understand basic language used for classroom instruction.



Your child has studied English for 2-3 years, once or twice a week and/or may have lived abroad for up to a year.  He/She can read passages that are 2-3 sentences long and write a short paragraph, though with some mistakes. Your child can speak and ask questions without being prompted. Your child can use the past and future tense (going to) to some degree and may be able to use comparatives (bigger, taller) to some extent as well.



Your child has studied English for up to 4 years, once or twice a week, and has spent some time abroad for up to a year.  He/She can read passages that are 3-4 paragraphs long and write, with a few mistakes. Your child is well-aware of grammar, has a wide range of vocabulary, and is able to understand what is being said to them, as well as converse in English.  Past tense usage is more fluent, and he/she may be semi-familiar with the present perfect (have/has been) and future tense (will).  Your child may be able to read English books for his/her pleasure.



Your child is/has been attending an international pre-school on a daily basis for 2-3 years and has been taught in English or is encouraged to use English at home. They can communicate freely in English about themselves, their opinions and their feelings.  Your child is able to read and write at an appropriate level for his/her age and is comfortable speaking in English.  Your child may not be truly bilingual but is getting there and doesn’t have any difficulties stepping into an English only environment.



a)  Your child has received an education in English attending an international (pre-)school in Japan for 3+ years and/or English is the spoken language at home. Your child has no problems expressing themselves, their opinions and their feelings, only in English. Their speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills are well developed.

b)  Your child may be a returnee and has spent several years abroad where he/she was exposed to English on a daily basis in either an international school or a local school in an English speaking country. Your child may read, write, listen, and speak (almost) at the native level.

c)  One or both of the child’s parent is a native speaker of English or is Japanese but speaks English fluently as they have lived abroad for years and uses English as the spoken language at home.  The child’s reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills in English should meet the standards of their age as expected in an English speaking country. Your child is ready to be challenged with more complex English speech.