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Games & Toys

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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Bilingual Lives: Victor Santos, Creator of Innovative Language-Learning Resources

When Victor Santos contacted me earlier this year, to share the innovative language-learning flashcards that he and his wife developed for their young son—and now for children throughout the world—I was immediately impressed with the thought and creativity that have gone into them. The fact is, these flashcards are unique, unlike any others you’ll currently find on the market, and could well be a valuable addition to the resources you use to promote your target language(s). I was also impressed

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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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Guest Post: Promote the Minority Language With Small Bilingual Children Through Playful Games and Activities

My husband and I use the “one person, one language” method to raise our children. We live in Australia and English is the community language. We never speak English with the children inside or outside our home. I speak French to the children and my husband speaks Spanish to them. Between the two of us, we use Spanish. We’re lucky in a sense because I’m fluent in Spanish and my husband can speak French so we can speak freely to

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Recommended Resources: “Think Bilingual”, an Innovative Language-Learning App for Kids

About a year and a half ago, our bilingual journey became a trilingual journey when my kids began learning Spanish alongside Japanese and English. While their level in Spanish is still quite low compared to their native fluency in Japanese and English, they’ve made steady progress with the help of twice-monthly lessons from a friendly woman in Hiroshima who’s originally from Spain and small, daily doses of exposure to Spanish from workbooks and apps. Although I suppose some exposure could

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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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Recommended Resources: Word Games in the Minority Language

When people walk into my house, the first thing they usually say is: “Gadzooks! You have so many books!” (Okay, they don’t really say “Gadzooks!”—I’m probably the only one in this hemisphere who uses that expression—but they do show surprise at our overflowing bookshelves. On that note, I suggest a close look at How Many Books Do You Have In Your Home? for research and opinion on why building a good home library is so important.) The second thing people

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The Importance of Stories and Storytelling in Raising Bilingual Kids

Stories and storytelling have long played a central role in my efforts as a parent and a teacher of bilingual children. Human beings have an innate interest in hearing stories, and I try to take advantage of that natural tendency by “flooding” the child’s world with narratives in the minority language. By increasing the amount of stories heard, and the forms in which those stories are told, a parent or teacher can enrich the child’s exposure to the target language—which

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Recommended Resources: The Marvelous (and Multilingual) “Bananagrams”

I’ve been working with bilingual kids for many years now—as a parent and as a teacher—and one of my most important resources has been a large collection of games that encourage language learning in enjoyable and effective ways. In a previous post, I noted some great cooperative games made by a low-key family business in Canada. Today I’d like to spotlight a game that was also a family invention, but has grown to become a worldwide success and is now

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Leapster 2

Are You Accidentally Hindering Your Child’s Bilingual Progress?

Here’s an important principle to keep in mind: When it comes to nurturing good bilingual ability in your kids, everything you do either moves you closer to that goal, or impedes your progress. In other words, all the choices you make, all the actions you take, will either help or hinder that effort because nothing you do is neutral. Did you read a book to your children in the minority language today? Yes? You just moved another small step closer

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Mr. Troll

Recommended Resources: Great Cooperative Games

If your kids are anything like mine, they’re always eager to play games. And while playing those games, they seem just as eager to get into crying, screaming, punching, kicking, hair-pulling fights over winning. (Fortunately, the biting has been tapering off. ) Still, along with books and music, games should be a third essential resource that you diligently collect for your home. Suitable games that parents can play with kids, and kids can play with one another, are a fun

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