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Music & Audio

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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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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Recommended Resources: Nathalia’s Lively Bilingual Music

Music in the target language has always played an important part in my efforts to nurture bilingual children, first with my students and now with my own kids. When I’m not singing to them, or with them, I’m regularly playing music in the background to increase exposure in the minority language, even when I’m not in the room. (See How the Power of Music Nurtures Bilingual Ability for more on the use of background music.) So when my family recently

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The 12 Days of Christmas for Raising Bilingual Kids

I have a little gift for you… My kids singing (and screaming) “The 12 Days of Christmas for Raising Bilingual Kids”! It starts a little slow (Lulu was monkeying around), but they get better (and louder) as the song goes on. We hope you like it! And if you do, please let us know, and share the link with others! You’d make Lulu (10) and Roy (7) very happy! (Your positive feedback will also encourage me to start using more

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5 Wonderful Days with Bill Harley, the Best Children’s Musician in the World

Over the past few months I was busy organizing and promoting a concert here in Hiroshima. It was the first concert produced by Bilingual Monkeys, and it featured Bill Harley, a two-time Grammy-winning musician and storyteller for children, so it was a pretty big undertaking for me. (Bigger than I imagined, to be honest!) Because I love Bill Harley’s work—for my money, he’s the finest musician and storyteller for kids in the English language—I wrote a post about him around

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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: The Captivating Songs and Stories of Bill Harley

My round-up of Great Music for Kids (and Parents, too!) includes the children’s entertainer Bill Harley, but his work as a singer-songwriter and storyteller is so distinctive, so outstanding, that I feel he deserves a post all his own. If English is your target language, and your kids are from about 4 to 12, I think you’ll find his music not only great fun, but a rich source of language exposure as well. Harley, a two-time Grammy Award winner, has

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Raffi's Christmas Album

Recommended Resources: Great Christmas Music

Is it December already? Over the years I’ve collected quite a bit of Christmas music—both English songs and instrumental albums—and I thought today would be a fitting time to share some of our favorites. As I discuss in How the Power of Music Nurtures Bilingual Ability, playing background music can have a very positive impact on a child’s language development, and Christmas is an ideal chance to keep CDs spinning in your home. Of course, there are hundreds of choices

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Sandra Boynton

Recommended Resources: The Quirky Work of Sandra Boynton

You may not know her name, but I bet you’ve seen her wide-eyed cartoon animals on popular greeting cards and children’s books. In fact, Sandra Boynton has apparently created more than 4,000 greeting cards, which have sold over 200 million copies, as well as more than 40 books that have sold over 30 million copies. In addition to her work as a humorist and children’s author-illustrator, Boynton is a songwriter who has produced four albums of distinctive, offbeat music. If

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Ziggy Marley: Family Time

Recommended Resources: Great Music for Kids (and Parents, too!)

Just days after I posted How the Power of Music Nurtures Bilingual Ability—in which I proposed that regularly playing background music can have a beneficial impact on a child’s language development —I experienced clear proof of this with my own kids. They were in our “play room,” the space with their toys and games—and our CD player—when I slipped past them to play another CD. This time I chose a Broadway musical called “Pippin,” which they had heard several times

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The Power of Music

How the Power of Music Nurtures Bilingual Ability

I grew up in a musical family. My mother is a piano teacher and a church organist; my father is a banjo-playing folk singer; and my brother is a successful composer. I didn’t pursue music as seriously—I was known mostly for honking on an oboe—but music has been an important influence in my life and I’ve wanted my own children to be touched by the power of music, too. And when it comes to nurturing the bilingual ability of my

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