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Preschool

Guest Post: My Son Is a Language Superhero, Even If He Doesn’t Know It Yet

My son is trilingual: he speaks English, Arabic, and Urdu. That’s a pretty cool super power. Passing it on hasn’t always been easy, especially living in the United States where we don’t need to speak other languages. This article lays out some tricks and challenges I’ve faced teaching Arabic (not to leave out my wife, but I don’t want to be putting words in her mouth). But I’ll start with a key idea: our son speaks these languages because he

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Use Coloring Books to Promote Language Exposure for Your Bilingual Kids

While it’s vital to provide ample language exposure to our children through continuous efforts like talking to them a lot and reading to them a lot, another productive option for language input involves short-term projects. Over the years I’ve shared a variety of ideas for creative projects—projects pursued by myself or other parents—that can give a significant boost to your bilingual journey by engaging your kids in fun, effective activities that make use of the target language. These projects with

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Chameleon Reader: The One Product I Wish I Could Gift to Every Parent and Teacher of Bilingual or Multilingual Children

If only Chameleon Reader had been around when I was teaching bilingual kids, and when my own kids were small! It would have been such a fun and effective way to nurture their ability in our minority language! Full disclosure: Over the past eight years, since I began this blog, I’ve regularly gotten requests to review books and products and services with some connection to raising bilingual kids. And in many cases, I’ve received free “review copies” of these things,

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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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Guest Post: Non-native Speakers Can Bring Up Bilingual Kids, Too!

Though my husband and I are Polish, and we live in Poland—a largely monolingual country—the language that we use with our two children is English. Because we believe strongly that bilingualism is so beneficial, we think it’s worth pursuing even if your knowledge of the target language isn’t “inborn” but acquired. In other words… Non-native speakers can bring up bilingual kids, too! And I’m happy to say that we’re experiencing success at our bilingual aim. The other night I was

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This Is the Bottom Line for Success at Raising Bilingual Kids

Two threads of my life, both of them months in the making, have suddenly come together with the same message. The first thread involves my 15-year-old daughter and an English speech contest (recitation contest) that took place on Saturday. This event was the culmination of a long process that began in the spring, when her English teacher at school encouraged her to take part. When Lulu, now in her third and last year of junior high at a public school

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Guest Post: How a Monolingual Family Became a Bilingual Family

Konnichiwa! (That’s hello in Japanese!) If you had met me four years ago, I could only have greeted you in English and (maybe) Spanish…from the few Spanish words I learned from sleeping through my Spanish class in high school. I wasn’t interested in learning another language and never realized the opportunities and depth that can come with it. Moving to Japan I am—well, was—a monolingual mom from a completely monolingual family. We’re a military family and, to our dismay—at least

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NEW! The Perfect Book for Parents Raising Bilingual Kids

Just in time for Christmas! I WANT TO BE BILINGUAL! is the perfect book for parents—especially new parents and parents of younger kids—who dream of raising bilingual or multilingual children. Written by Adam Beck, author of the popular guide Maximize Your Child’s Bilingual Ability, this playful book is a unique “picture book for adults” with delightful illustrations by Pavel Goldaev. Narrated by a lively baby, the book emphasizes the most important information parents need for realizing joyful success on a

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Reflections on My Five Weeks in Europe, Part 4: The Sweet Joy of Playing with Small Children

The adorable three-year-old girl was sitting on the stairs, telling me all about her “babies”—her dolls and stuffed animals that were adorned with band-aids (“plasters” she called them, in the British English she spoke) because, she said, they were ill or had gotten injured. And at that moment, in my very first homestay of the trip, I flashed on my own daughter when she was the same small, incredibly-cute age and I suddenly missed that time terribly. A large lump

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If You Like Blueberries and Bilingual Children, You’ll Enjoy This Blog Post

Over the years, my family has followed an annual tradition, each August, of driving out to a large blueberry patch that’s located in the countryside about 90 minutes from Hiroshima. We spend much of the day there picking blueberries and breaking for a picnic lunch. This tradition started when Lulu was two. In fact, we originally stumbled upon the blueberry patch by accident when we were out searching for a larger fruit farm, our original destination. Here’s Lulu that first

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Guest Post: Raising Bilingual Kids in Challenging Conditions Can Ignite a Parent’s Creativity

I have always liked the scene in the Disney movie “Big Hero 6” where, in a moment when the younger brother was feeling hopeless and out of ideas for a big project, the older brother carried him on his shoulders and turned him upside down to shake him and move him around their bedroom, encouraging him to look at things from another angle. Every now and then I feel like I need that kind of shaking up to reset and

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