Parents often ask me how they can incorporate Spanish into their daily routine aside from turning on Dora and Diego! I reply with enthusiasm that there is no teaching degree required, and there is no prerequisite for having command of the Spanish language yourself to bring the new language into your home, your car, your family routine.
Want to sprinkle some new Spanish vocabulary words across your home? Use the internet to get free vocabulary words simply by typing in a search for Spanish translation. Choose the words you want translated, say vocabulary from the kitchen to start, type them in and voila! You have the start of your own bilingual label making business.
Children love traveling through their home discovering two words for one item, table and mesa or apple and manzana. Experts agree it is just as easy for a young child to learn two words for one item as it is for the child to learn one word. And those myths about being language delayed if you start the second language introduction early, early in life are just that, myths.
Another simple way to jump start the rain storm of Spanish learning fun during the summer months ahead is to visit web sites that present both languages side by side in a true bilingual format. Conduct a search for bilingual music sites or introduce my child to Spanish sites, you get the idea. There are many out there that might say immersion is the best method for any language introduction, but I beg to differ. The latest research is proving that bilingual methodology is a great choice for children ages birth through ten.
Experts are noting that children still acquiring skills in their native language benefit more from a bilingual introduction, meaning they learn perro for dog in the same song, on the same page of a book, or in the same sentence. It appears that better retention and higher self confidence during the language learning take place with this bilingual approach. Think about it for just a moment from the perspective of a very young child, say the age of two.
Mommy all of a sudden puts you in your car seat, drives to a building where inside the lady is speaking only Spanish, and you and all of your new amigos are instructed in only Spanish for the next thirty minutes or so.
It all sounds so very foreign to you. It all seems very scary to you. And when Mommy asks you to perform one of your newly acquired words from the lesson that day, you refuse because you did not have such a great time so why even let on you learned a thing!
Next week Mommy decides to try another approach one of her friends told her about, and off you go to a bilingual playgroup class.
The lady here is singing and dancing and playing in both English, your native language, along with Spanish, the new sounding language Mommy must want you to learn! You are not so sure at first, but the words flow back and forth between English and Spanish, the games are cool that incorporate both languages, and after all, you are not being forced to listen to Spanish only for thirty minutes straight. You feel a connection, a strong point of reference with the new lady so you do perform back at the house that weekend when Mommy asks you to say a new Spanish word.
Now do not misunderstand me.
Immersion can work. It is just that the latest research and the reality of our busy lives is that the bilingual method is best for those in the birth through ten age set. The bilingual approach is practical for those homes that have monolingual parents where even the parents would like to pick up a few words along with Junior! And think about how happy you were as that young child hearing both languages side by side and not just that new foreign one. Your self esteem was much higher with the second type of class setting.
You have the labels going on around the home.
You have spent some time on sites that promote the bilingual approach. Maybe you even found a local playgroup or bilingual class to attend once a week. Just remember that once a week is not really enough to wire those neural connections in the brain of the young child. Daily exposure to the new language is the key to helping develop lifetime language learning skills.
Not possible you argue? Let me assure you that there are some very cool, upbeat, will not grate on your last nerve type of bilingual music CDs that the entire family will enjoy listening to.
Compared to five years ago when just a few companies were offering songs for children that introduce language learning fun, today you can find many choices for your family to enjoy.
That is the final summer time tip. Have fun! Enjoy! You know that if you as the parent love the CD or DVD or bilingual book that you decide on then you will actually listen to it again and again. Repetition is the key to learning any skill so both you and your children need to enjoy the new tools you bring into your daily routine to get the second language journey underway. This summer take an adventure without ever traveling outside your city. Learning Spanish opens doors to other parts of the world your child may explore later in life.
About the Author (text)Beth Butler is the founder of the BOCA BETH Program for young children. Gather your children around the computer and sample the BOCA BETH bilingual music and movies for free at http://www.bocabeth.com
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