Google+ Raising a Trilingual Child: June 2016

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Friday, June 24, 2016

Easy way of teaching your bilingual kids to write in a minority language.



I try to follow my kids' natural interests as I teach them languages. I started introducing letter sounds while reading books and worked on letter - sound recognition day after day through introduction of different activities. Both of my kids learned how to read well before school. My girl impressed me with reading 3 letter words at the age of 3. ( There was no pushing on my side.)
Writing came on its own as a by product of my affords towards teaching them how to read for both of the kids.


Here are some activities I recommend to help your kids to start writing in minority language:

1. Drawing and writing 
I find drawing together with kids is a very important activity that entertains a wide range of age group: babies, toddlers and elementary school kids.You can teach so many things, without your kids realizing all the learning they are doing!
It can be drawing and labelling, writing a story and illustrating it. Creating your own book, a calendar...
In the beginning you do most of the work, but as a child grows and learns, his/her work becomes more and more independent. These days I am amazed by my kids creativity!


2. Playing games where writing is involved

Pretend play “a Restaurant” is such a great game! Kids love to be waiters and write down orders. Lots of orders! Get ready to pretend eating all the dishes you have order :)




3. Dictation
When kids already mastered the letters and writing words, try to experiment with short dictations. First use simple words, then funny phrases and sentences. Allow your child to participate: start a sentence and let him finish it.

4 years old child's writing
Tip! Use a notebook (btw, I mean the paper one not the computer;) for writing in minority language. Especially for elementary school kids, buy the same type of notebook your child uses for majority language to work in parallel on his minority language. My son just loves the idea of having his Russian language notebook. Give the minority language the same value as to the school's language.




4. Use workbooks/ worksheets with letters in your language
In Russia we call it “propisi”. I found great ones with transparent pages that also show the start point for writing a letter and indicate the direction of writing.


Note: do not expect a lot from small kids. Let them write, make mistakes. Only with time and a lot of practice you will see a result.

These are just some activities to help you get started. Try them. Experiment. Work on developing your child's interest for writing based on his other interests.


SOME TIPS FOR PARENTS TEACHING KIDS HOW TO WRITE:

- Attention: do not criticize!
Even if your child is open to corrections and you already correct him/her speaking. Be extremely careful while correcting mistakes in writing. Do not over criticize him/her. You do not want your child lose interest and stop writing. Everything will come.

- Be prepared for unusual ways of writing:
The letters might dance up and down. Your child might break the word in many different places to start it writing from a new line or, another extreme, write a sentence as one long word. He will not always follow the left to right or the right to left writing rule. Your child will make mistakes. And thus, comes next:

- Be patient:
Your child needs time to figure things out.


I hope this helps.

I’m always happy to hear about your own experiences. Please leave your comment below.
If you’d like to share some tips and /or write about your experience as a parent of a bilingual or multilingual child contact me here.

And if you find my post interesting please share it! It might help other parents too:)

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Kids Radio Sations from around the world!
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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Good Reads: Forest Fairy Tales by Nikolay Sladkov. Лесные Сказки. Николай Сладков




If you’d like your child to love nature, read him or her these short stories by Nikolay Sladkov. In this book nature can breath and animals can talk and think aloud. The author attentively describes everything he saw himself while walking in the Russian woods. He opens the secrets of nature and triggers your child’s imagination.

You can find books by Nikolay Sladkov on Amazon 
I found some other great books by the same author in English and Japanese!

Хотите, чтобы ваш ребенок полюбил природу? - Почитайте с ним книги Николая Сладкова. В них природа дышит, а птицы и звери оживают и говорят, думают.  В каждом рассказе писатель внимательно описывает увиденное, раскрывая один за другим секреты природы и развивая детское воображение.



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Language learning resources:

Children's radio stations from around the world. Let me know, if I am missing a radio station in your language.


Kids Books in Russian

Best Russian Children's Cartoons and Movies. - Лучшие Руссие Детские Мультфильмы и Фильмы.

 List of children's books in Polish language - Lista książek po Polsku dla dzieci
 

Friday, June 10, 2016

How is it to grow up bilingual in a bilingual city? Interview.


Interview with Dani Lechner, who grew up in a bilingual city and  is bilingual from birth.


Question 1: How is it to grow up bilingual in a bilingual city?

I grew up on the east coast of Canada in a bilingual city. French and English were a part of my home, my community and my entire environment from the beginning. At home and in my immediate family everyone spoke French and English. I went to French school till I was 18 but English was present everywhere else.



Many of my family members chose to only speak English many only French.

I cannot even remember when I couldn't speak either French or English. The way it was in my family is you choose which language is most comfortable for you and that's it. For instance my maternal grandmother spoke mostly English with us although she can speak both languages. And when she spoke we just answered in French which came easiest for us since we were in French school. With some of my friends I was more comfortable speaking English although I identify most with the French side.


It's somehow hard to explain but where I come from everyone is bilingual, if you're not it’s almost weird. So from the very beginning I was immersed in both French and English equally. There were periods growing up where I was most comfortable speaking French and other periods (like now) where I feel more comfortable speaking English.


I never realized what a great gift my parents had given me until I was an aupair in France when I realized that no one was bilingual. It was quite a surprise to be honest. I just assumed everyone was bilingual. I'm very privileged to have had such an upbringing and I'm happy that I can also offer my children the same ;)


Question 2. What language did your parents speak to you when your were little? Did they mix the languages? How about code-switching?


My parents spoke French to us and sometimes my mother would speak English, depending on her mood I guess :) and YES we 100% mix languages all the time. As a matter of fact they've even starting calling it a French dialect because it's a mix of French English and "old" 1700 French which no one uses anymore except where I grew up. The "proper" French we learn in school and same for English. And therefore yes code-switching masters in our house growing up ;) but it was also fun because if we were around people who only spoke English we would secretly speak French so they wouldn't understand and vice versa. The negative side of this story is that the code-switching has actually become a language we call Acadian, and it's sometimes difficult for some to speak "proper" French (meaning only French).


Question 3. Since you grew up speaking two languages and often were code-switching, do you feel any difficulty speaking only one language, when you speak to a monolingual person?


Interesting question. To be honest not really. The one thing I would say is that because we speak a dialect in French it's sometimes difficult to be understood by others because some words are pronounced different. But generally no problem keeping to one language :)





Like the interview? - Share it!



Are you interested to participate in the Life Story series and write about your experience as a bilingual or multilingual child and/or a parent?  Would you like to take part in the Multilingual Family Interview series ? You can contact me here.


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