Judy Martialay, author of ¡HOLA! Let’s Learn Spanish, is my guest author today. She’s giving ideas of how to introduce another language to your kids at home even if you don’t speak a second one (like me)!
Giving Your Child Another Language, Even if You’re Monolingual
Do you want your child/children to be ready for the global world of the 21st century? Here is a gift that you can give to the child/children in your life that will last a lifetime: an early start in learning a language.
Consider the benefits of knowing another language: direct communication with millions around the world; understanding, appreciation and respect for other cultures as well as our own; increased tolerance for diversity abroad and at home. There’s more: better and more opportunities for employment; broader perspectives; better understanding of international affairs; delay of onset of dementia for up to five years. Read more…
Janet Wong has a great post at Multicultural Children’s Book Day blog on Lunar Year Traditions that span many Asian countries, not just Chinese New Year! But if you are thinking of doing it up for Chinese New Year but need some ideas, I’ve rounded up my posts.
If you need a picture book or two specifically on Chinese New Year …
Top 10: Best Chinese New Year Books for Kids (created during Year of the Dragon, my year)
If you want to hand out Red Chinese Envelopes (craft included to make your own) and wondered what the meaning is …
No one in my family can speak Spanish but we’ve been trying for more than ten years to learn to converse. Our efforts have gone in waves of high effort and burn out but we are now at a good place where my kids actually want to go on immersion trips to learn to speak Spanish.
They weren’t always so enthusiastic about learning, however. And their lack of effort resulted in very little retention. Still, I don’t consider the lessons they took to be a total loss; the two youngest kids can roll their “r’s.”
It’s been my experience that learning a language when you don’t speak it yourself requires stealthiness. You need to keep the kids exposed more than just weekly tutoring sessions and it has to be fun or they will resist.
The summer is a great time to expose kids to a foreign language. I received a huge box of books from Tuttle Publishing that are perfect for this and I am giving most of them away. Please see the Rafflecopter giveaway below.
What languages would your kids be interested in? Are you using any great sites, books or videos? Please share! Read more…
If you are like me, you want to expose your kids to foreign languages but you don’t happen to speak any yourself. Classes and tutors are a great way to get started but more exposure would make the foreign languages stick a little more. I’m always on the hunt for games, books, apps, TV shows, DSi games … ANYTHING to get my kids interested in Spanish or Mandarin Chinese but it’s not easy!!
There’s an issue of age as well. The younger the better? Yes! And for a few reasons:
- Kids’ brains are more receptive to foreign language sounds the younger they are.
- Kids thinking that learning a new language is fun is inversely proportional to their age.
- Many TV shows, games and apps that teach foreign languages are geared for young kids, or adults but it’s much harder to find for tweens! Read more…
I’m trying to get back in the swing with Foreign Language exposure again this year. We fell off the wagon last year. We lost our Spanish tutor due to scheduling conflicts and commute distance and we could not squeeze in Chinese with the soccer schedule. Grasshopper and Sensei took Chinese in Middle School again (year 2) and PickyKidPix did a few months of classes with a new Spanish tutor whom she really liked. Not optimal but it was the best we could do. PickyKidPix will be taking Spanish this fall in Middle School.
My 8-year-old son did nothing and, as a result, promptly forgot every word of Spanish and Chinese he ever knew. Seriously. I asked him to translate a few colors in Spanish — it came up but I don’t remember why — and he got 100% of them incorrect. Easy ones too, like verde (green) and azul (blue) which he used to know because they are his favorite colors.
Ah well. What can you do? It goes in and it goes, just as quickly as the moving tide, back out again.
When Little Seas emailed me with their Colita Rosita videos, I thought music to get my kids exposed to Spanish is not a bad idea. Ease them in gently. But then I had trouble translating the music so I asked for lyrics. And I also needed them in English. I don’t love animated computer graphics in picture books but I’m ok with them for Spanish language videos for kids. Read more…
I use these sites to reinforce Foreign Language curriculum that we either do at home using a tutor or to help my child in middle school who is studying a foreign language. Hope these foreign language for kids online sites help!
Follow PragmaticMom’s board Teaching Kids Chinese on Pinterest.
Follow PragmaticMom’s board Teaching Kids Spanish on Pinterest.
Teach Kids Chinese Through Songs
When my kids were younger, I found that Spanish Sesame Street, Plaza Sesamo, entertained my kids while also teaching them Spanish. Songs were also an effective and pleasant way to expose my kids to foreign languages. As my kids got older — 2nd or 3rd grade — they rebelled and no longer would allow Plaza Sesamo DVDs in the car. They preferred silence. Ditto to foreign language CDs.
My point is that there is a window when kids are open to learning foreign languages. Both their brains and attitudes are receptive. As they grow older, not only do they not want to learn, but also making the sounds are more challenging.
I was excited to discover that Sesame Street is now in Chinese with a series geared for teaching kids Mandarin. For a CD of fun songs to accompany your Chinese language experience, try A Little Mandarin by NYC mom Toni Wang.
I’m not saying that this combination will have your kids conversing in Mandarin, but you are laying a foundation both for training their ear and for exposing them to the concept of non-word for word translation. Who knows? This might be the introduction that makes them actually want to learn Chinese when they are older. I’m still shocked that both of my girls are choosing to learn Mandarin as their mandatory foreign language in middle school!
How about you? Are your kids getting exposure to foreign languages? How do you manage this? Please share your tips!!! Read more…