The Ultimate Crossword Puzzle About Raising Bilingual Kids

GIVEAWAY: The author of this masterful guest post, Ana Paula Mumy, is kindly offering 3 free copies of her valuable eBook, Practical Bilingualism: A Concise and Simple Guide for Parents Raising Bilingual Children, in a giveaway at Bilingual Monkeys. For your chance to win, just enter below.

Speech-Language Pathologist Tells All About Bilingualism, Speech, and Language Delays

The question I am asked most often when talking about raising my children bilingually is, “But won’t that confuse them?” Often times I believe the hidden or unspoken question behind this query is, “Won’t they be delayed if you do that?”

The first thing I want to address as a speech-language specialist is that there is no research-based evidence that bilingualism causes language disorders. Again and again the research demonstrates no negative effects of bilingualism, even for children with known language impairments, such as children with Down Syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorder, for example. It has been shown that children with language impairments are capable of learning two languages. The impairment will be evident in both languages, but it will not be made worse or become more severe because of the bilingualism. In other words, the exposure to two languages is not adding to the language impairment, and the language impairment would likely have been present even if the child was monolingual. Yet another way of explaining this is that bilingualism does not make children more or less susceptible to language disorders.

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Do You Really Have Enough Resources in the Minority Language? (Hint: The Answer is Always "No.")

The work I do coaching parents to boost their success in raising bilingual kids is not only gratifying, it’s revealing. Lately, one recurring theme I see is a lack of resources in the minority language, an observation that isn’t meant as criticism of these families. Because in fact, I would say that all of us, to a smaller or larger degree, never really have enough resources in our target language.

Unless children are schooled in the minority language, and have ready access to a library full of books and other materials (and even a librarian to boot), I think this hunger for resources is unavoidable. After all, our children are continuously growing and maturing and new resources are needed on an ongoing basis to match their age, their language level, and their current interests.

In my case, for example, I’m now constantly searching for books that will fuel my children’s enthusiasm for reading independently. While I don’t always choose winners, my quest is relentless to meet the pace of their daily reading. If I don’t stay persistent by regularly bringing in fresh and fitting resources, their desire to read in the minority language will quickly decline. (It’s times like these I wish we had access to a well-stocked school library!)

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The Ultimate Crossword Puzzle About Raising Bilingual Kids!

I made a crossword puzzle for you! Feel free to download it for personal or professional use. And if you like it, please share it with others. I think it’s the only crossword puzzle of its kind! :mrgreen:

To get the two-page PDF file, just click this big link…

The Ultimate Crossword Puzzle About Raising Bilingual Kids! (PDF)

To check your answers, click this link…

ANSWERS to The Ultimate Crossword Puzzle About Raising Bilingual Kids!

Good luck! And if you complete it—without peeking at the answers first—you’re welcome to boast in a comment below!

He Lived for 29,771 Days

He lived for 29,771 days.

In this time, he created nearly 3000 paintings which feature only the dates on which they were made: meticulous white lettering inscribed on backgrounds of red, blue, or gray. He produced these paintings in more than 100 cities worldwide, using the language of each locale. If he couldn’t finish a day’s painting by midnight, he would destroy it.

Nearly 3000 paintings

He sent more than 1500 postcards and over 900 telegrams to acquaintances from places around the world. The postcards had no message; they were stamped only with the time he had woken up that day. The telegrams always bore the same message: “I am still alive.”

More than 1500 postcards and over 900 telegrams

He also made a typewritten list of 1,000,000 years—twice: going back into the distant past, from 998,031 B.C. through 1969 A.D., and stretching far into the future, from 1996 A.D. to 1,001,995 A.D. Together, these lists of 2,000,000 years fill 20 hardbound volumes, each containing 2,068 pages. The dedication reads: “For all those who have lived and died.”

Lists of 2,000,000 years

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New Research Shows Reading Aloud Promotes Brain Activity and Language Development

The first scientific study of its kind has yielded findings which indicate that reading aloud to children has a measurable impact on brain activity and language development.

In a study of preschoolers which used fMRI whole-brain imaging to explore the benefits of parents reading to young children, Dr. John Hutton and his colleagues at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center found significant differences in brain activity between children who are read to regularly in the home and those that receive less cognitive stimulation. For this experiment, children underwent a brain scan while listening to age-appropriate stories on headphones.

Dr. Hutton presented his findings in a lecture titled “Parent-Child Reading Increases Activation of Brain Networks Supporting Emergent Literacy in 3-5 Year-Old Children: An fMRI Study” at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in April.

In a press release from the American Academy of Pediatrics, Dr. Hutton said, “We are excited to show, for the first time, that reading exposure during the critical stage of development prior to kindergarten seems to have a meaningful, measurable impact on how a child’s brain processes stories and may help predict reading success.”

The press release goes on to report that “greater home reading exposure was strongly associated with activation of specific brain areas supporting semantic processing (the extraction of meaning from language). These areas are critical for oral language and later for reading.”

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How High a Priority is Your Bilingual Journey?

This question cuts right to the heart of the efforts you make and the results you produce. If you’re not satisfied with those results, it would be wise to look long and hard at how high this priority really is in your life.

“We realize our dilemma goes deeper than shortage of time; it is basically a problem of priorities. We confess, we have left undone those things that we ought to have done; and we have done those things which we ought not to have done.” —Charles Hummel

The other day I posted a new challenge at The Bilingual Zoo…

Challenge #8: Make This the Highest Priority You Can

This challenge has prompted a wave of constructive thinking and discussion among members of The Bilingual Zoo community. If, like most of us, you must work hard to maintain sufficient exposure to the minority language, amid busy days in a majority language environment, this is a conversation worth joining. And, in particular, if you feel dissatisfied with the results you’ve achieved to date, I urge you to pause and pursue this challenge. After all, if you’re not realizing your hopes for your children, isn’t it best to either make this a higher priority—and make more proactive efforts—or, otherwise, set lower expectations for the outcome?

“Don’t waste your breath proclaiming what’s really important to you. How you spend your time says it all.” —Eric Zorn

To see all the current challenges at The Bilingual Zoo—challenges that can empower your efforts and boost your children’s bilingual development—visit the Take a Challenge board.

Becoming a member of The Bilingual Zoo is easy and free: just register for an account and complete your profile. (An annual donation to help support the site is encouraged, but not required.)

“Time is an equal opportunity employer. Each human being has exactly the same number of hours and minutes every day. Rich people can’t buy more hours. Scientists can’t invent new minutes. And you can’t save time to spend it on another day. Even so, time is amazingly fair and forgiving. No matter how much time you’ve wasted in the past, you still have an entire tomorrow. Success depends upon using it wisely—by planning and setting priorities.” —Denis Waitley

Check out this important new challenge now…

Challenge #8: Make This the Highest Priority You Can

Here’s a new infographic on bilingualism and its many myths.

Bloggers, feel free to embed this image on your site by grabbing the code below.

9 Lesser-Known Myths About Bilingualism

Grab this code to embed the image! (Just copy and paste!)

Click to view all my fun infographics about bilingual kids!

Note: Below my review of Family Language Learning is an interview with the author, Christine Jernigan, who offered frank and insightful responses to the questions I asked via email. And below that you’ll find the giveaway, where you can win a free copy of her fine book!

Family Languge LearningThrough my interactions at this blog and at The Bilingual Zoo, it’s clear that there are many, many parents who are not native speakers of a certain language but want to nurture ability in that language in their children. In some cases, the parent already has some proficiency in the target language; in other cases, the parent doesn’t speak the language but hopes that the family can learn it together.

In both cases, here’s a new book I wholeheartedly recommend: Family Language Learning: Learn Another Language, Raise Bilingual Children by Christine Jernigan. Although I think any parent raising a bilingual child would find it worthwhile reading, the book’s special focus on providing encouragement and support to non-native parents makes this a unique and valuable resource for parents who aren’t native speakers of the target language.

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Adam Beck Goes Bonkers in Interview, Reveals “Crazy Secret” for Bilingual Success

I’ve written a lot of words at this blog about raising bilingual children. But I think this short video of me being interviewed by my kids will demonstrate, better than words ever could, the important sense of playfulness that I’ve described in Be Very Serious. Be Very Playful. The Bilingual Journey Demands Both. and other posts.

I hesitate to call this a “method” because it’s simply my nature when I’m around kids. At the same time, I’m quite conscious of its impact on language development because this sort of silly playfulness is highly effective at engaging children in the use of the minority language. And so, though I’m not this nutty all the time, I do express my wild side pretty continuously with my children and my students, and I actively incorporate this playful quality in my ideas for language exposure.

Whatever success I’ve had in working with bilingual children over the years, this penchant for play is at the heart of it all because my actions appeal to the child’s own playful spirit. And when you match the child’s natural instinct for play, you create more effective conditions for exposure and engagement in the minority language, day after day, which, over time, leads to greater heights of bilingual ability.

In other words, this isn’t just frivolous stuff: to my mind, “serious silliness” is not only fun (and thus creates a closer parent-child bond), it’s the very foundation for maximizing a child’s development in the minority language.

This, as the video conveys, is the “crazy secret” for bilingual success.

Click to watch me go bonkers →

VIDEO: Wacky Interview with My Bilingual Daughter

In a previous post, I explained…

You see, half the battle of raising a bilingual child is making the time and opportunity to provide exposure in the minority language. The other half is making the most of that time and opportunity by maximizing the child’s engagement. In my experience, the most effective way to achieve this is by matching the child’s madness for play.

I then shared a concrete example of this with a videotaped interview of my son. If you missed that post, I highly recommend a look: not only does it describe my “method” in detail, the interview with Roy is quite funny…

VIDEO: With Bilingual Kids, There’s a Madness to My Method

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The pure joy of piggyback rides.

There are many good things about raising bilingual children. In my case, with my kids now 10 and 8, these include…

  • Communicating with my children in my mother tongue and sharing the joys of this language with them
  • Seeing them communicate with family members and others who don’t speak our majority language
  • Giving them the gift of two languages, an ability that can positively impact their lives in so many ways

These are tremendous benefits, and we’ve been blessed to achieve them. At the same time, I’ve become more mindful of a benefit that isn’t often considered, but should be, because, when all is said and done, it might just be the greatest benefit of all.

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