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Preschool

Look How Far We’ve Come On Our Bilingual Journey (And How Far You Can Go, Too)

Now that my daughter is in junior high school, and nearly a teen, I’d like to offer you a special peek at the progress my kids have made to date in their minority language. (For those who need a bit more context, we live in Hiroshima, Japan and my kids attend local Japanese schools, which means that Japanese is our majority language and English is our minority language.) The idea for this post arose the other day when we bought

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VIDEO: How to Get Your Bilingual Child to Speak Your Language

Having some difficulty getting your bilingual child to speak your language? Watch this video for clear, actionable advice that can help you address this challenge more effectively and get your child using the minority language more actively! View this video at Bilingual Monkeys TV and subscribe to my YouTube channel.

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8 Fun Ways to Get Your Bilingual Child Loving the Minority Language More

One of the basic principles for making good progress on the bilingual journey is the idea of nurturing a positive attitude toward the minority language. This may sound like a mushy sort of aim that can’t really be addressed in ways beyond getting our children to feel that their ability in the minority language is useful to their lives and helpful to the lives of others. But, in fact, there are some very concrete things that you can do to

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The Most Important Point on Our Long Bilingual Journey

Recently, in My Daughter and I Hit a Big Milestone on Our Bilingual Journey Together, I shared how Lulu had graduated from elementary school and would now be entering junior high. (The school year in Japan ends in March and starts up again in April.) In my mind, I’ve always viewed this transition to junior high school as perhaps the most important point on our long bilingual journey: If I could just sustain my persistent efforts until this point, and

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Bilingual Kids and Grandparents: Make the Most of This Opportunity

This week the cherry blossoms are blooming in Japan. This week is also my father’s birthday. (Happy birthday, Dad!) He lives in Quincy, Illinois, the town in the U.S. Midwest where I grew up. In a way, there’s a profound connection between the two because the short-lived cherry blossoms—they bloom beautifully for just days before they fall—are a sharp reminder of how precious and fleeting our lives actually are. My father—and my mother, who lives in Memphis, Tennessee—are now both in

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Guest Post: Engaging Your Incredible Bilingual Child in the Minority Language

My favorite line in The Incredibles movie is when in the midst of complete chaos at the dinner table, which goes seemingly unnoticed by Mr. Incredible, his wife Helen (aka Elastigirl) finally pleads for his intervention and yells, “Bob! It’s time to engage!” I have felt like Helen lately, wanting to plead with my children to engage in the minority language. Over the past 7 months, my children have undergone major life changes: moving to another state, mommy working full-time

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Here’s Clear Proof of the Basic Formula for Successfully Raising a Bilingual Child

Over the past 20 years, I’ve worked with hundreds of bilingual and multilingual kids as a teacher and a parent. Although I love all the children I’ve taught, first at Hiroshima International School and now as a private tutor, I’ve had a special fondness for teaching a certain type of child: children who had no English ability when they first entered this school, where English is the language of instruction. Many of these children have been Japanese or Korean; others

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Guest Post: Bilingual Families and the Importance of Limiting the Influence of the Majority Language at Home

When I joined Adam’s forum, The Bilingual Zoo, I eagerly read about some of the experiences of other parents of bilingual children and the thread begun by James H really struck a chord in me. Despite using the “one person, one language” (OPOL) approach from day one—I spoke English to the kids and my husband spoke Spanish—my elder daughter tended to respond in French, our majority language, especially since starting nursery school, with a little Spanish when she felt like

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Meeting the King’s Family and Enriching My Bilingual Children’s Language Exposure

If you’ve been following this blog, you know that one of my best weapons for promoting exposure to the minority language is my endless urge to say dumb things to my students and my kids. It’s true, and I detailed this idea in one of the most popular posts at this site: Why Saying a Lot of Dumb Things to Your Bilingual Kids Is So Valuable to Their Language Development. The truth is, the more you make a habit of

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VIDEO: Lively Discussion on Raising Bilingual Children with Adam Beck of Bilingual Monkeys and Amanda Hsiung Blodgett of Miss Panda Chinese

Since my book about raising bilingual children was released in the spring, I’ve been interviewed a number of times. These videotaped conversations—connecting me, in Hiroshima, Japan, to kindred spirits in other parts of the world—have been a real joy for me and I’ve been grateful for the invitations to speak about this subject. The truth is, I’m generally not a big talker, but when the subject is bilingual children, which I have a boundless passion for, I’m afraid it’s hard

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Recommended Resources: Lovely Bilingual Products for Families and Schools from Lil’ollo

When Alexandra Nicoletti, the creative force behind the new UK-based company Lil’ollo, contacted me not long ago, I quickly discovered that she and her team are creating some of the loveliest products available for bilingual children and their families. And not only are the Lil’ollo products well-designed and well-made, but Alex is producing items that are uniquely special, too. Would you like a beautiful map of the world that can actually be personalized with the names of family members and

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