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Books for Parents

Recommended Resources: “Bringing up a Bilingual Child” by Rita Rosenback

For new parents largely unfamiliar with the terrain of raising bilingual children, the prospect of embarking on this long journey can feel pretty daunting. Where do they begin? One good place to start would be Bringing up a Bilingual Child by Rita Rosenback, the blogger behind the warm, supportive site Multilingual Parenting. Her insightful, reader-friendly guide, which includes useful exercises and materials for thoughtful planning, can serve as a reliable road map for the new traveler. Rita, who was born

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Secrets of a Successful Homework Routine, Part 2

Eighteen months ago, when my kids were 8 and 5, I offered a detailed look at our daily homework routine in the minority language, which began (gently) when they were around the age of 3. In that post—Secrets of a Successful Homework Routine, Part 1—I discuss the value of a homework routine for nurturing literacy and overall language development, and I provide a range of strategies and resources that I’ve found useful to my own efforts. (Many of these resources,

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Recommended Resources: “A Parents’ and Teachers’ Guide to Bilingualism” by Colin Baker

Note: Below my review of A Parents’ and Teachers’ Guide to Bilingualism is an interview with the author. Dr. Baker generously agreed to an email exchange, and responded to my questions in detail. Because the book itself has been designed in a question-and-answer format, the interview offers a good glimpse of the spirit and value of Dr. Baker’s work. In What’s the Best Book About Raising Children?, I make the point that every thoughtfully-written book on bilingualism is well worth

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What’s the Best Book About Raising Bilingual Children?

I can’t claim to have read everything on raising bilingual children, but I do read pretty widely on the subject. My interest in the literature began many years ago when I became a teacher of bilingual and multilingual children at Hiroshima International School, and now continues with my own kids. The truth is, because I knew, early on, that the odds were against me—my wife would be the main caregiver and my children would eventually be attending school in the

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Recommended Resources: “Bilingual: Life and Reality” by François Grosjean

Note: Below my review of Bilingual: Life and Reality is a short, insightful interview with the author. Dr. Grosjean kindly responded, via email, to several questions I had in connection with his book. An irony is apparent in the fact that bilingualism is so prevalent in our world today—and will surely become even more widespread in the future—and yet, on the whole, the subject is discussed far less than might be expected. Granted, there are some books and blogs geared

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Why Resources in the Minority Language Are So Vital to Bilingual Success (With 6 Real-Life Examples From My Own Family)

Let me propose a basic principle of success at raising bilingual children, something that I suggest is true for 99% of families in the world, whatever the minority language. (And this is especially true if you seek higher levels of literacy in that language, though your children attend a majority language school.) The more resources you have in the minority language, the more suitable those resources are for the child’s age, language level, and interests, and the more actively you

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Secrets of a Successful Homework Routine, Part 1

In How Many Hours Per Week Is Your Child Exposed to the Minority Language?, I mentioned how I began the practice of daily homework with my kids from around the age of 3. Frankly, I would have preferred to wait with written work until they were a bit older—which seems more in line with a child’s natural development. But the hard reality is, I felt it was important to give literacy in the minority language (for us, that’s English) a

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Recommended Resources: “Be Bilingual” by Annika Bourgogne

Writing about raising children to be bilingual isn’t easy. The scope of the subject is so broad and encompasses so many facets—theory, research, practical ideas, resources—that no book (or blog, for that matter) could possibly cover the whole sprawling field. Moreover, every family is different, with its own unique mix of languages, circumstances, goals, and needs, so information that may be relevant to one family won’t necessarily be relevant to another. Over the years I’ve read widely about bilingual children—and

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Recommended Resources: Good Books on Reading Aloud

Raising a child with good bilingual ability is clearly the sum total of a whole range of ongoing efforts: It’s not one thing you do; it’s everything you do. That said, if I had to point to the single thing that has had the most powerful impact on the language development of my children and the children I have worked with over the years, it would be this: reading aloud. It seems hard to believe that something so painless, so

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The Read Aloud Handbook

Recommended Resources: “The Read-Aloud Handbook”

When I think back to my own childhood, it’s hard to recall my parents or teachers reading aloud to me. I have an old black-and-white photo which shows my mother reading to me as we lay in bed together—when I was very small—but by the time I entered elementary school and began reading on my own, I suspect whatever reading aloud was done at home soon ended. And the same, it seems, was true of school: I wrack my brain,

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The Power of Reading

Recommended Resources: “The Power of Reading”

If you need any persuading when it comes to the value of reading aloud to children, and encouraging them to read on their own, look no further than The Power of Reading by the noted linguist and researcher Stephen Krashen. A compact and accessible book, Krashen summarizes decades of research and makes a thoroughly convincing case for putting the highest priority on promoting a love of reading and a print-rich environment. If there’s one book I would consider a “must-read”

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