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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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Why I’m Like This Rumbling Volcano (And Why You Should Be, Too)

We spent the past three days in the city of Kagoshima with my wife’s parents, celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. Located on Japan’s southwestern tip, Kagoshima is home to 600,000 people—as well as Japan’s most active volcano, known as Sakurajima. Looming up from the sea just a short ferry ride from the city, Sakurajima is continually brewing with volcanic activity. In fact, even during our visit, it was billowing dark smoke and ash. But that’s the thing about Sakurajima: it’s

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2 Key Reasons to Keep an Archive of Your Children’s Work

The other day I was going through a pile of papers that had grown like crabgrass on the floor of my office here at home and I came across a little story that I’d like to share with you. It was written a few months ago by my two children and me in a version of idea #68 from 96 Things You Can Do Today to Boost Your Child’s Bilingual Ability. In this case, we wrote several short stories, collectively,

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96 Things You Can Do Today to Boost Your Child’s Bilingual Ability

Today is another opportunity to nurture your children’s language development. Every effort you make today, and again tomorrow, will move you and your children a little farther along your bilingual journey. These small steps will gradually add up over time—over days, weeks, months, and years—and largely determine the distance you travel. But in the end, it always depends on today. Below, then, is a list of 96 things you can do, right now, to help nurture your children’s language development,

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“How Hot Is It?”: A Summertime Game for Laughter and Language Development

In The Magic of Magazine Subscriptions, I mentioned that I had ordered a couple of new subscriptions for my kids. It’s only natural, of course, that as your children get older, they grow out of certain magazines and grow into others. Well, one of these magazines is called “Ask” (from Cricket Magazine Group), which features nonfiction articles about the world at large. Not long ago, we received our first copy, an issue titled “So Many Seasons,” and one of the

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3 Good Ways to Boost a Bilingual Child’s Language Ability and Loving Bond with Grandparents

For much of June, we were in the U.S., visiting family and friends. This series of articles offers observations of that trip in connection with raising bilingual children. The main purpose of our trip to the United States was to provide an opportunity for my kids and my parents to spend time together in person. As it had been five years since our last trip—when my kids were just 4 and 1—they didn’t really have clear memories of their grandparents

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How Messages in the Minority Language Can Boost Literacy (and Much More)

Today is Roy’s last day of kindergarten—and tomorrow morning is the “graduation” ceremony. In April, he’ll enter first grade at our local elementary school. (The school year in Japan begins in April and ends in March.) It’s hard to believe our time at this kindergarten (really, a combined preschool-kindergarten for ages 3 to 6) has come to a close. Both Lulu and Roy spent several happy years there—from the start of Lulu’s enrollment to Roy’s graduation, the school has been

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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: 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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What Positive Action Have You Been Putting Off When It Comes to the Minority Language?

I recently posed a challenge to the subscribers of my newsletter. (If you’re not yet a subscriber, you can subscribe right here. The newsletter is free and contains additional content not found on this site, along with special offers and giveaways of interest to parents raising bilingual kids.) So the challenge I posed was this: Choose an action you’ve been putting off—something that could positively impact the development of your child’s minority language ability—and take steps to get it going.

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When Santa was little, did he get presents from a different Santa?

Funny Remarks from a Bilingual Kid

Roy, now 5, wasn’t trying to be funny here, but ever since he could speak, he has been spouting a string of comical thoughts, intentional or not. His curious question about Santa Claus (which left me tongue-tied) is among the nuggets I have recorded in a journal on Lulu and Roy, which includes: observations of their language development; observations of their personal traits and interests; and noteworthy incidents and experiences. In Why Keeping a Journal on Your Kids is So

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