If you were to share one tip for motivating children to use target language, what would it be?
The very knowledgeable Rita Rosenback, author of Raising Bilingual Children, and fellow member of the Facebook group Multicultural Kids Blogs, asked us this very question.
Obviously, we’d love to use this opportunity to promote our latest project, Cooking With Languages, which is a fantastic fun tool for language learning. However, Rita has asked us to share our own personal experiences with our children. So, as Cooking With Languages is so new, it does not qualify for us, although it could for you.
So, what is our best tip for motivating children to use target language?
Our answer is; Reading and Storytelling.
No matter which language you are targeting, your mother tongue or a second language, reading and storytelling will really help.
Reading books, suitable for your child’s level of language, is a fabulous way to expand their vocabulary and understanding of that language.
Encouraging them to talk about the books, in the target language, is an easy way for them to demonstrate what they have learnt, without them even realising.
Selecting the right book is essential for a successful outcome. When children are excited and interested in something they absorb like sponges. However, if it is seen as a chore, it will not have the same outcome.
As our children are educated in a Spanish state school, as part of their education, they have grown up reading Spanish books. I was concerned that their English grammar and vocabulary would suffer, despite the fact that we speak English at home.
From an early age, I encouraged them also to read in English. I’m not saying it was easy but it was definitely worth it. Learning how to teach my own children to read in English was also a challenge for me (I wrote about it here).
Our son is a bookworm. He will happily pick up any book in English or Spanish and get totally absorbed by it. I take time to search online for popular titles, suitable for his age, in both Spanish and English and make sure his bookshelf is always full.
Our daughter is still on her journey. She is now happy reading in Spanish but we still have to find ways to get her to want to read in English. She is not as confident as her brother. Although she is very capable, she is afraid to make mistakes. We know not to push too hard. We are taking our time and every little step in an achievement.
A couple of tools we have found that help stimulate interest in reading and storytelling are StoryCubes and this Kid’s Journal that I have just started working on with our daughter …
What tips would you like to share? Please share them with us 🙂
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