Google+ Raising a Trilingual Child: How to develop early phonemic awareness and reading readiness by using language play with kids from birth to preschool.


Monday, August 18, 2014

How to develop early phonemic awareness and reading readiness by using language play with kids from birth to preschool.

As I already mentioned in the 7 principles to keep in mind while teaching your child to read, before child learns to read he needs to learn how to separate  phonemes (speech sounds). It is better for parents and kids to start working on it as early as possible, since in reality it does not require anything special.  So what can you do to help your child develop phonemic awareness? - It’s quite simple: just sing, read and play. Play using the language and play with the language!

When your child is born, start singing to her/him. 

The first recorded lullaby is dating around 2000 BC. According to the researchers, lullabies prepare child's ear and brain for language.
Your child needs to hear YOU, not a recording. If your child is soon to be bilingual, both language speakers should sing to the child. If you are short on lullabies, do not worry, sing your favorite songs in your language. I could not recall any lullabies right away,  but after a while they came back to me from my childhood memories. It takes time for your memory to spit it out and if you can not recall anything, look it up on the Internet.

Site nursery rhymes and children's poetry.

Nursery rhymes are a fun way of learning the language. Children like repetition. By listening and repeating rhymes, they learn about the language patterns and rhythms. Do not think that children prefer prose like some of us, adults, you will be surprise to learn that children like poetry. Just start introducing it to them early. My kids love Russian classics: A.Pushkin, S. Yesenin, A. Blok

Get into action with Fingerplay.

Need to bring child attention to what you are saying? Use fingerplay, which combine words with movements to keep your child engage and interested.  Check this wonderful resource Fingerplay videos, lullabies, nursery rhymes, with audio and words provided in English and Spanish.

Play with tongue twister.

Older kids have so much fun with tongue twisters and you probably know that speech therapist use them too! Tongue twisters can help to work on those difficult to pronounce phonemes.  I was  already able to correct my child's pronunciation of some sounds. We are also using the Russian tongue twisters with alliteration of so difficult to pronounce "Sh" and "S" (Russian "Ш" and "С"): In Russian: "Шла Саша по шоссе и сосала сушку". English translation: "Sasha walked along the road and chewed on a round cracker".

Would you like to try some tongue twisters in your language? Check  the world's largest collection of tongue twisters in 118 languages!
Italian tongue-twisters - scioglilingua italiani.
If you teach your child to speak English and it is not your mother tongue, try this collection of tongue twisters with audio, so you can play it to your child.

Write your own poetry.

If you think you can not write a poem, just let your children do it! Children are very creative. All you need is to give them a little guidelines and help to make more sense out of words. They love create good nonsense rhymes. I laugh a lot when my kids try to come up with rhymes for their poems.

Play with words.

Your child asks you something. For instance, " Could you give me a marker?" and instead of just giving it to him. Ask him, what is the first sound of word " marker"?  Repeat the word slowly several times : "M-marker, marker, marker".
At first your child probably will not answer you right away and you would have to help him and say: "M",  " M-m-m-marker". When your child understands this game rule, he will impress you with a fast answer. Make it fun! No need to tell them "you are right or you are wrong".

Read to your child

I want to stress once more the importance of early reading and share with you my tips on how to read to a toddler. Children listen and memorize the words inflections, the way sound changes by following your voice.

Now it is your turn :) What is your child's favorite activity?

Some more resources in different languages:
Italian, Japanese, German nursery rhymes books and CD

Italian Nursery Rhymes
Japanese Nursery Rhymes
German Nursery Rhymes
Russian Nursery Rhymes
Russian Nursery Rhymes

You might also like reading:

What language should I speak to my child in public? - Multilingual parent dilemma.  
Life Story: Trilingual mama - trilingual kid. Why would it be any other way?  

Touch of nature on a rainy day. Best nurture documentaries in English to watch with children.  

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