|Puzzle image via Commons Wikimedia|
Immersion environment at home
I had the wonderful fortune of finding Spanish speaking friends for my son. Their first very first Spanish playdate was a success, and I eventually ended up babysitting two of the girls. Babysitting once a week turned to five days a week. During this time my son was speaking to them only in Spanish. I even had them watching Spanish cartoons, and listening to Spanish songs.
|Picture on left my 7 yr. old. Picture on right when he was 4 yrs. old and we started our bilingual journey.|
Reflecting on our journey, I look at my 7 yr. old and remember when he was a preschooler who barely turned 4 yrs. old claiming he knew Spanish. Seriously, singing Dora’s song of the numbers does not constitute to being bilingual. Ha! At the time that was so far from the truth! Now, I know without any doubt or hesitation when he says, “Mommy, I know Spanish!” He really does. Especially since it’s also his secret language.
Does your child have a secret language? What is your child’s motivator? As a parent what’s your motivator?
- Immersion classes – I’ve said this over, and over again enrolling my child in a language immersion class kick-started his language learning. Remember, we started his journey late! His language coach was wonderful, and he loved learning Spanish!
- Online community – I often turned to a group of amazing mommas from all walks of life, who were also raising bilingual, and multilingual children for advice.
- Spanish playgroup – I was blessed to have met some friends with children who spoke the minority language, hence the Spanish playgroup was created!
- Extended family – although at a distance they were a great support system especially little one’s Abuela and Titi Gladys. They often sent books, and materials in Spanish to aid him in his language journey.
- Immersion trip to our language heritage country – Being immersed and surrounded by the now community language (Spanish) worked wonders for our son. Listening to everyone from the flight attendant to our family members helped him in ways you can’t even imagine. Even weeks after returning from our trip he started saying words in Spanish that he had heard.
- Non-bilingual friends – these are the troops that I rallied indirectly! By creating a Spanish Summer Camp Language Program for my son’s (English only) preschool friends helped and boosted his language learning. He was my li’l helper during the program, and he taught his non-bilingual friends Spanish. This boosted his confidence by leaps and bounds. We also had bilingual playdates with non-bilingual friends for the same reason.
This post was created for inclusion in this month’s “Raising Multilingual Children: Blogging Carnival” hosted by Marianna from Bilingual Avenue.
- If you’re using the OPOL method speak, speak to your child in your heritage language; which will most likely be the minority language.
- Enroll your child in a language immersion program.
- Have your child watch TV in the minority language.
- Read to your child in the minority language, and if possible purchase books in the minority language.
- If buying books is expensive consider visiting your local library or,
- Asks friends, and relatives when gifting to gift a book in the minority language. I have tons of books in Spanish that way.
I’ve been asked by many monolingual parents if they can actually raise a bilingual child, and my answer is yes, of course! When there’s a will, there’s a way!
|Photo courtesy of Kami Fletcher|
Editor’s Note: Kami and I met virtually on-line. She happened to come across my blog while looking for information on immersion trips to Puerto Rico. The funny part is that I remembered she commented on my blog post, messaged me on Google+ and even found my personal Facebook page and sent me a message there. She sent me various messages before I even responded to her. She also wanted to talk by phone as well, and in all honesty I thought she was a stalker! LOL (Yes, Kami I did think that of you!) I’m happy that you “stalked” me. We are now good friends, and our boys are pen-pals writing to each other in Español.
Q: How old are you children?
A: My sons are 7 and 9
|Photo courtesy of Kami Fletcher|
Editor’s Note: Kami, thank you so much for allowing me you to interview you. Your determination is truly inspirational, and your beautiful family, and you are proof that monolingual parents can raise bilingual children. Your perseverance, and commitment has motivated me to start a Spanish book club in our local library! ¡Gracias amiga!
- Him: “Abuela, Mamá no está en el carro conmigo. Yo estoy solo en el carro con mi Papá”
- Abuela: “¡Ay, mi amor! Pues dile que me llame.”
- Him: “OK, Abuela, yo le digo que te llame. Adiós.”
- When we’re practicing homework in English he tends to respond in Spanish.
- He’s using Spanish language as our “secret” language to share with me something he doesn’t want his Daddy to know. This is too cute!!!
- He wakes up speaking in Spanish. For example, “¿Mamá, dónde estas?”
- He’s constantly asking how do you translate words from English to Spanish.
- He’s reading from the phonics booklet used in the Puerto Rican school system: Cartilla Fonética.
¡Hasta la próxima amigos!
Our Spanish text-rich home. I’m taking this reading in Spanish business serious! I’m determined to raise not only a bilingual child but a biliterate one as well.