This 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.
- Have you defined a goal for your child’s language ability? Is this goal realistic? Do your efforts match your aim?
- Is your child’s language ability progressing as you hope?
- How would you rate your current efforts? What more can you do?
- 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?
- Are you making a daily effort to read aloud to your child in the minority language?
- Have you been building a home library of suitable children’s books, including chapter books in a series?
- Are you making regular use of music to nurture the development of your child’s minority language?
- 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?
- 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! )