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Creative Ideas

How to Use Poetry with Your Bilingual Kids (And Why You Should)

How much do you use poetry with your children to nurture the minority language? My sense is that many parents (myself included) don’t make use of poetry to the extent that they could, and should, beyond the early stage of nursery rhymes. The fact is, poetry is a highly effective means of promoting language acquisition. Exposing children to the sound and rhythm of your target language, through suitable poetry, can foster deeper sensitivity to that language and help lay the

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My Favorite Way to Get a Bilingual Child Reading More in the Minority Language

See this? It’s our bathroom. Why am I sharing a picture of our bathroom with you? It’s not because I’m particularly proud of it. I mean, it’s nothing special, right? It’s a typical tiny Japanese bathroom, functional but not comfortable. And completely unheated, too, which means that when the temperature drops, it’s only human nature to flee to a warmer room as soon as possible (even unzipped). But my kids, bless them, they actually linger here in this cold, uncomfortable

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Making Science a Bigger Part of a Bilingual Child’s Life and Language Development

If you’re subscribed to my newsletter, recently I’ve been sharing a personal struggle. (And if you’re not subscribed to my free newsletter, you’re missing out! I often share things via the newsletter that aren’t found on this site, as well as further tips and tricks that could help boost your children’s language development. For full details, just see the Subscribe page.) Here’s the thing: I’m practically a caveman when it comes to science. By nature, I believe, my mind is

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A Powerful Twist on the Use of Skype to Promote the Minority Language

In 3 Good Ways to Boost a Bilingual Child’s Language Ability and Loving Bond with Grandparents, I mentioned that we make regular use of Skype so my kids can connect in English, our minority language, with family members in the United States. As you would expect, these interactions have consisted of conversation about recent activities: school, free time, special events, etc. My experience, though, has been that the outcome of each Skype session depends largely on the “richness” of these

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This Great Way to Get Bilingual Kids Talking More is Often Overlooked

In How I Get My Bilingual Son to Talk His Head Off in the Minority Language, I shared a fun activity for encouraging a child to talk non-stop in the target language. Well, just this morning a related idea arose with my daughter. In fact, I’ve pursued this idea in the past, but today I realized that I should probably make it a more conscious tactic in my never-ending quest to increase the time my kids spend using the minority

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How I Get My Bilingual Son to Talk His Head Off in the Minority Language

When my son gets home from school, he has a habit of stripping off his clothes and strutting around the house stark naked. My wife finally chases him down and puts pants on him, but yesterday she was outside, working in the yard, so he was free to prance about in his birthday suit longer than usual. This led to a very funny scene where he was standing there with his scrawny 6-year-old physique and shouting at me for several

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A Sneaky Way to Get Bilingual Kids to Use the Minority Language

See this box? It’s for you! That’s right! And inside is something really special—it’s something you’ve always wanted! Oh, I just know you’re going to love it! To find out what’s in the box (as well as that sneaky way to get bilingual children using the minority language), just keep reading…

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96 Things You Can Do Today to Boost Your Child’s Bilingual Ability

Today is another opportunity to nurture your children’s language development. Every effort you make today, and again tomorrow, will move you and your children a little farther along your bilingual journey. These small steps will gradually add up over time—over days, weeks, months, and years—and largely determine the distance you travel. But in the end, it always depends on today. Below, then, is a list of 96 things you can do, right now, to help nurture your children’s language development,

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3 Good Ways to Boost a Bilingual Child’s Language Ability and Loving Bond with Grandparents

For much of June, we were in the U.S., visiting family and friends. This series of articles offers observations of that trip in connection with raising bilingual children. The main purpose of our trip to the United States was to provide an opportunity for my kids and my parents to spend time together in person. As it had been five years since our last trip—when my kids were just 4 and 1—they didn’t really have clear memories of their grandparents

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It’s a Scientific Fact! Baby Praying Mantises Can Get Your Child Reading More in the Minority Language!

Have you seen a baby praying mantis before? For a creature that looks a lot like a terrifying space alien, they’re pretty cute. For months now, we’ve had two of these praying mantis “egg cases” in a plastic container in our house. Apparently, when colder weather approaches, the female mantis squirts out a big batch of eggs in a sort of frothy mass which soon hardens. Last winter my son found two of these egg cases sticking to the backs

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How Rats in the Bathroom Can Boost a Child’s Bilingual Ability

If you haven’t already guessed, I’m a pretty obsessive person. This caused me some trouble when I was younger (don’t ask me how I broke my nose in college), but as I got older, and learned to channel this energy toward more productive ends, I found that obsession could have a positive side, too. When it comes to my kids and their bilingual development, one of the useful benefits of being obsessive—of keeping this challenge continuously in mind—is the curious

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