Click to Look Inside: MAXIMIZE YOUR CHILD'S BILINGUAL ABILITY

Take a Bird’s Eye View with These 10 Key Questions

October 15, 2012

Taking a bird's eye viewThis past Saturday was the annual “sports day” at Lulu’s elementary school. While Lulu was cheering from the sidelines (she has a funny expression on her face, doesn’t she?), I climbed to the top floor of the school and took this photo of the sixth graders dancing.

From the ground, of course, their “V” formation couldn’t be seen nearly as clearly as from high above. And it got me thinking: sometimes, to get a better look at life, it helps to take a bird’s eye view.

Ten key questions

Today, then, instead of standing here on the ground, let’s try soaring above our busy lives for just a moment. Let’s look at our efforts at raising bilingual kids from a broader vantage point, by considering ten vital, overarching questions that are ultimately at the heart of our long-term success.

  1. Have you defined a goal for your child’s language ability? Is this goal realistic? Do your efforts match your aim?
  2. Is your child’s language ability progressing as you hope?
  3. How would you rate your current efforts? What more can you do?
  4. Have you made a strategic choice about the use of languages in your family? Is that choice effective?
  5. Are you doing enough to promote exposure to your child’s minority language, while inhibiting (to whatever extent you can) exposure to the majority language?
  6. Are you making a daily effort to read aloud to your child in the minority language?
  7. Have you been building a home library of suitable children’s books, including chapter books in a series?
  8. Are you making regular use of music to nurture the development of your child’s minority language?
  9. Is your home environment rich in other forms of exposure to the minority language? Can you make the environment even richer, such as adding to your collection of games or incorporating the idea of captive reading?
  10. Are you familiar with helpful books related to raising bilingual children? Do you seek out online resources on the subject? (If you’re reading these words, I guess you do! :mrgreen: )

How about you? What other questions are worth asking from a bird’s eye view about raising a bilingual child?

1 Heide Frank February 27, 2013 at 9:00 pm

Hi Adam
Off you go with my “nutshell” comments:))

Question 1: Yes

How would you rate your current efforts? What more can you do?

Try and find Italian girlfriends on my top list. Since Z. won’t play with boys as I was mentioning in a previous thread:))

Have you made a strategic choice about the use of languages in your family? Is that choice effective?
Are you doing enough to promote exposure to your child’s minority language, while inhibiting (to whatever extent you can) exposure to the majority language?

Yes. We stick to OPOL, sometimes my husband even tries to “challenge” our little one by playing-“teacher and student”, while he’s the student and she the teacher. During our last trip to Italy she translated Italian TV programs to him. She was too cute:)))

Are you making a daily effort to read aloud to your child in the minority language?

YES AND YES. No evening without an Italian story or fairy-tale.

Have you been building a home library of suitable children’s books, including chapter books in a series?

YES- we have tons of Italian books and always more to come:)))

Are you making regular use of music to nurture the development of your child’s minority language?

In my car we listen 99,9 % to Italian kid’s music and sing as loud as we can:)))

Is your home environment rich in other forms of exposure to the minority language? Can you make the environment even richer, such as adding to your collection of games or incorporating the idea of captive reading?

Still need to look into this chapter and your respective posts. Bear with me:)))

Are you familiar with helpful books related to raising bilingual children? Do you seek out online resources on the subject? (If you’re reading these words, I guess you do!)

Yes, I’m, even if honestly I don’t like the “scientific approaches, since to me every child is unique and thus follows a unique path in their bilingual upbringing.

Adam, sorry for quoting but it was the fastest way to let you know my 2 cents worth:)))

Keep going with your terrific site!!!! I really appreciate your food for thought.

All the best to you and your family.

Rgds from Germany
Heide

Reply

2 Adam February 28, 2013 at 6:46 am

Heide, you’re clearly doing a wonderful job with your daughter! She’s a lucky girl! I hope your example will also be an inspiration to others when it comes to their kids! :mrgreen:

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