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My Family

Forget Fluency! Instead, Make This Your Goal When Raising Bilingual Kids.

This year my daughter, now 18, has taken two English proficiency tests. (English is her minority language; Japanese is her majority language.) The first was the highest level of the EIKEN seven-level test, which is widely used in Japan and is essentially a pass-or-fail sort of exam. And the second test, because she’s now applying to university programs in Japan that emphasize English, was the TOEFL

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The 3 Things About Raising Bilingual Kids That I Stress Most Often to Parents

These days I regularly consult with parents about their bilingual or multilingual aim and, during these conversations, I have the chance to look back at my own journey with my kids and the things that have been most central to our success. While it’s certainly true that every family’s experience is different, and so our efforts should always be tailored as effectively as possible to our own particular situation, I do think there are some very basic and very powerful principles that apply to us all

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Two Bilingual Teens, Two Big Milestones

I began this blog 10 years ago, when my kids were 8 and 5—like in the photos above and below. Today they’re 17 and 14 and will turn 18 and 15 in just a few more months. I’ve covered many of the milestones we’ve experienced during this decade and I now have two more

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Memories of Fatherhood on this Father’s Day 2021

Happy Father’s Day! It’s hard to believe I’ve marked so many of them! My kids are now 17 and 14 and today I looked through old photos, taken a dozen or so years ago, and I’ve chosen a few to share. To be honest, I’m feeling wistful for that bygone time. It’s been over for a while now and I’ll never experience it again. Looking back

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My Kids and I Made an Online Store! Please Check It Out!

Over the years I’ve advocated the idea of regularly pursuing creative projects with your kids in the minority language. Such short-term activities not only can add to the amount of language exposure and engagement your children already receive through daily habits and routines, they can be very productive fun. In fact, projects like this can potentially foster glowing memories and impact people far beyond

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My Bilingual Kids Are Now Teens and This Is the Key to Our Success

I took my daughter to the doctor this morning. Yesterday at school, during P.E. class, she felt a painful twinge in her left leg—probably a pulled muscle. It doesn’t seem to be anything serious, and will likely heal on its own in a few days, but the school wanted us to have it checked. Naturally, I don’t wish for my children to injure themselves, but I must confess: it was a welcome chance for us to spend a little time

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Play This Great Indoor Game with Your Kids (And Get Them Eagerly Reading, Too)

The other day at The Bilingual Zoo, one mother (thanks, Judit!) described a game she was playing with her young son in the house and how much fun it was for them both. And, at the same time, how it got him reading eagerly in their target language. Reading about her experience, I fondly recalled the times I played this game with my own kids when they were small. And I thought: “Yeah, they’re now teenagers, but I bet they

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Can This Difficult Time Also Be an Opportunity for Your Family?

What a surreal six weeks since my last post. The swift, worldwide spread of the coronavirus has abruptly upended the lives we had grown so accustomed to living—and has even stirred deep pangs of existential anxiety about survival itself. (Full disclosure: I have a congenital heart condition—which I only found out about two years ago—and though I’m still reasonably healthy, this probably puts me at a higher risk of more serious illness.) Still, as trying as this time is, in

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