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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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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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Raising a Bilingual Child? Raise the Odds of Success for Your Family!

Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start. —Nido Quebein Think of it this way: Raising a child to be bilingual is about odds and each family’s odds of success will be higher or lower depending on their particular circumstances and how proactive they are about shaping these conditions in effective ways. My experience as a teacher at Hiroshima International School demonstrates that the odds of a Japanese child successfully becoming bilingual are

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How to Effectively Use and Control Digital Devices with Your Kids

Digital devices and electronic toys can certainly play a helpful role in supporting a parent’s efforts to nurture language development. At the same time, it’s also true that using them effectively, and controlling them wisely, can be a challenge. Naturally, your situation differs from mine, and you’ll want to come to the conclusions that best serve your family, but perhaps sharing my experiences and thoughts on this subject—which now looms very large in all our lives—will offer some useful food

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7 Must-Make Resolutions for Parents Raising Bilingual Kids

NOTE: This post was made in January 2016 but the principles below are continuously relevant for raising bilingual children, no matter the month or year. Last year, I shared my New Year’s resolutions, and the year before that, my kids revealed their resolutions (in a post that features the transcript of our funny conversation). This year, I thought I would simply compile a list of important resolutions for practically any parent intent on making proactive efforts in 2016 (and beyond)

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Recommended Resources: Lovely Picture Book That Celebrates Being Bilingual

As parents of bilingual kids, one of our most important aims is nurturing a positive attitude toward the minority language. When a child feels that this language has value, that it benefits his or her life, our efforts to promote its growth can be far more effective. The reverse, I’m afraid, is also true, and if the child doesn’t feel much value in learning or using this language, the road ahead will be more difficult and less productive. It’s like

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18 Ways to Get Bilingual Kids Using the Minority Language More in Your Car

In my last post, I shared a trip that we took to an old silver mining town in Japan, offering a number of photos and an important message about raising bilingual kids. (See Make History. Raise a Bilingual Child.) As we were driving along, and playing little games in our minority language, it occurred to me that this might make a useful post: What activities can parents pursue in the car to promote use of the target language and stretch

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Guest Post: Speech-Language Pathologist Tells All About Bilingualism, Speech, and Language Delays

The question I am asked most often when talking about raising my children bilingually is, “But won’t that confuse them?” Often times I believe the hidden or unspoken question behind this query is, “Won’t they be delayed if you do that?” The first thing I want to address as a speech-language specialist is that there is no research-based evidence that bilingualism causes language disorders. Again and again the research demonstrates no negative effects of bilingualism, even for children with known

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New Research Shows Reading Aloud Promotes Brain Activity and Language Development

The first scientific study of its kind has yielded findings which indicate that reading aloud to children has a measurable impact on brain activity and language development. In a study of preschoolers which used fMRI whole-brain imaging to explore the benefits of parents reading to young children, Dr. John Hutton and his colleagues at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center found significant differences in brain activity between children who are read to regularly in the home and those that receive

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Interview with a Father Raising a Bilingual Child with Autism, Part 2

It’s been over a year since our first interview. What has changed for your family since then? Teeda is now getting ready to go to elementary school, and his little sister Ursula is a very verbal, sly 4 year old. What hasn’t changed is our commitment to raising both of our children bilingually. Thanks to my shorter commute, I get to spend more time with the kids than my partner, so breakfast, school runs and so on are all in

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Interview with a Father Raising a Bilingual Child with Autism, Part 1

Could you tell us a little about yourself and your family? I’m from Britain, but have been living and working in Japan since 1994. I currently work full-time as a teacher at a Japanese university. My Japanese wife and I are both fluently bilingual, and speak English at home as a first language. We have a 5-year-old son, Teeda, and a 3-year-old daughter, Ursula. Our son was diagnosed as being mildly autistic in April 2012. We had noticed that his

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