Post by Abbi Gutierrez on Sept 28, 2018 17:16:09 GMT 9
Hi. I've been reading a lot recently about the importance of reading aloud at home. I understand it helps students with their school work if they are read to at home. We are a minority language at home family (Spanish) and English is the language at school and in the community. We've been focusing on reading in Spanish lately. I was wondering if the benefits of reading at home are generic (as if no matter what language you read in it's helpful as it develops attention, imagination, listening skills etc) or if it's more about exposure to the language in the books itself (i.e. the grammatical structures, advanced vocabulary etc). So, what I am getting at it is, should we also be ensuring that we read aloud in the ML? If school is not enough exposure for monolingual kids then surely that's the same for bilingual kids too. I hope I've been clear! Thanks, Abbi
A very unscientific but definite yes from me. Every language is different, and reading aloud is also about intonation, flow of the phrase etc. Children learn this by listening to someone reading aloud in a given language and by practising reading aloud in that language themselves (preferably with someone to help them do it correctly).
Hence why both the ML dad and the ml mom (me) take turns reading with our daughter.
We're in an OPOL setting, for your ml@home you might need to come up with a specific arrangement, like formally declaring a specific "ML reading" time/place.
Amy usually has creative ideas for this kind of situation.
Amy usually has creative ideas for this kind of situation.
Good evening ladies
I agree with Mayken, reading aloud in each language is important. Some reading skills are transferable from one language to another but that is never 100% of them.
Actually, just a couple of months ago, I wrote this blog post on the benefits of reading aloud as a non-native parent...but these benefits apply to any language and reader learner I guess!
As a strict ml@h family, I don't know how we'll handle this ML reading aloud at home. I think the answer will come on the basis of these two factors: - how my daughters' ML reading goes and hence the need for ML reading aloud time - my daughters' embodying their mls, relieving us from the need to impose a strict ml@h rule
For the time being, I'll treat it like a homework with the time and place rule.
I'm very flattered you think I'm creative Mayken! This is a tough topic though. Here a couple of ideas for what they're worth: - For younger readers, maybe the child can read the narration in the ML and the parent reading the dialogues in the ml, making voices. - For an older reader, reading together a ML play, with the child reading in ML and the parent reading in the ml.
- Have the child read aloud in the ML, but after a few pages, ask them to synthesise in ml to you. Or quiz them in the ml on what they read.
Not very original but I'm afraid that there a little ways to round this topic which in essence is about improving the ML language through ML practice...
Posts: 66 Country (residing now): US Country (originally from): Spain Children, Ages: Girl, born in March 2016 Majority Language: English Minority Language(s): Spanish, German, and hopefully French some day!
Such an interesting post! I'm still not at that stage (my daughter is still in daycare), but I have often thought how I'll handle this issue. In my particular case, it's just my daughter and I, so I don't have any partner who can read aloud in English to her, and I never speak to her in English, her ML. I was thinking that maybe in the same way that I have students (I'm teach Spanish in college) reading to my daughter in both French and German, I might want to consider getting the help of a student in the education department when it comes to reading in English, although I'm definitely open to consider other options, whatever those might be! (Amy, the two factors that you pointed out are definitely the way to go when considering reading aloud in the ML, for sure!)
I also agree that reading aloud in the ML is important. In our case I try to have my husband read aloud in the ML to our kids, but he's not very consistent. What I sometimes use for this (although not very often since I always find it hard to promote the ML myself ) are audio books. In German there are a lot and with very good quality and they are also popular for kids here, so my children can also borrow them from their friends or from the library.
We do a somewhat messy form of OPOL (my husband speaks in ML, I speak in ml1, the nanny speaks in ml2, but we all speak ml1 at the dinner table and regularly speak ml2 when an ml2 speaker is around). My husband reads mostly in ML but also sometimes ml1 or ml2, I read mostly ml1 or ml2 but never ML. The advantage is that we probably read more than we would otherwise, because we want to ensure we get enough reading in in the 3 languages! I do think it's important to read in all the languages your child is learning, but it doesn't have to be you: as others have said, you could consider having a relative, friend or babysitter come over regularly to do it.
This post is worrying me...but better to be worried now than surprised by a problem later I suppose. Our family is ml@h for necessity...neither my husband nor myself speak the ML very well. I have been taking classes, but am not fluent and any further improvements I make at this point are going to be very gradual. My oldest has not started learning to read in ML school yet, but will be very soon. I can read to the children in ML at a very basic level, but am worried about making mistakes. I think I was fooling myself into thinking that learning ML at school would be enough. I do have some of the audiobooks that Marta mentioned, but don't know when we would have time to listen to them. I buy them for when we go on long car trips, which is not very frequently. Sometimes we watch videos on YouTube of people reading books in English (the image on the screen is the book illustrations only). I wonder if I could find something like that in the ML.
Audiobooks seem the way to go here, Patricia. And yes, search Youtube for people reading books in the ML.
If you don't know when to listen to them, maybe you can choose a certain weeknight for ML reading? I'm teaching my daughter English (third language) this year. I'm the ml parent in an OPOL situation, but now, Tuesday nights are English time.
Would that work for your family?
How old are your kids now? If your eldest is in school, their age in your profile can't be right?
This post is worrying me...but better to be worried now than surprised by a problem later I suppose. Our family is ml@h for necessity...neither my husband nor myself speak the ML very well. I have been taking classes, but am not fluent and any further improvements I make at this point are going to be very gradual. My oldest has not started learning to read in ML school yet, but will be very soon. I can read to the children in ML at a very basic level, but am worried about making mistakes. I think I was fooling myself into thinking that learning ML at school would be enough.
Patricia, allow me to differ on this.
I was raised in a ml@home from age 9, my parents never really learnt the ML (Spanish) nor my schooling ml (English) and hence never read to me or were able to help me in learning these languages. This never prevented me becoming fluent in my then ML. As a child, I enjoyed reading aloud on my own (I was a bookworm) and it definitely helped me. However, nobody helped me with it and I still did well. I developed a very good pronunciation and to this day still fool many natives.
The audiobooks is a great idea, but trust your children, they will pick up the ML pronunciation from their schooling environment. Just get them reading, give them the taste for reading, ask them to read aloud (even if you can't correct them) so you get them on tracks...just get the ball rolling and watch it roll on its own after that.
Patricia - I agree with Amy that your children will pick up pronunciation at school and that audiobooks are not ideal or necessary. I also think the main issue is for your children to develop a love of reading (which can happen through your ml).
I do think, however, that there is a big difference between a child who is learning in a language that they don't master in their early years of education, and the experience of a child who has a firm grounding in reading and schooling prior to acquiring the second and third languages (this was also my case). In my professional life, one of the areas that I work on is 'mother tongue' education (funny, huh, given my personal concerns?!). Basically, research shows very clearly that putting young children to learn in a language that they do not master, and expecting them to just 'pick up' the language without effort being put into actually teaching the language, results in lower learning achievements down the line. This is a big problem in many former colonies, where children turn up for their first day of school aged 6 or so, speaking their local language, and are suddenly plunged into an "elite language" environment with very little support. The educational consequences (across all areas, including things like maths that at first glance may not seem related) are disastrous. This is why many countries have moved to teaching children through the first years of school and learning to read in their native language, and gradually introducing and building up the number of hours in the "elite language". It's very different when a child is slightly older and has already acquired the basics.
I'm not saying this to scare you, as your situation (with a highly literate ml home environment) is quite different from that of an average family in a former colony. I also don't think you need to suddenly infuse your home with ML. But I do think it is important to do as much ml reading as possible (much of what is learnt will be transferable across the languages) and to ensure that if your children do fall significantly behind other children in ML development (which I actually think is pretty unlikely) that you find ways to address it. I think if there is a problem, the teachers will tell you very quickly, so if there isn't, there is no reason to worry!
Thank you Amy and Nellie. Since we are just starting this journey in ML school, I'm hoping that the teacher will let me know if she thinks my daughter needs more help. Her language and school readiness was assessed twice before starting school (once by the school and once by the health department, as is the case with every child starting ML school here) and both times it was determined that her ML language skills were adequate (although not perfect). I know that the school will offer extra reading assistance if they think it is necessary: my older neighbors that live above me are both volunteers with a program that pairs them with children who need extra help with reading. I'm not worried about her pronunciation at all...since she has attended ML kindergarten for 3 years starting at age 3, her pronunciation is very good and better than mine will ever be. It's more her vocabulary that I wonder about.
I tried spontaneously putting on a ML audiobook today but that was rejected strongly by both children. I think if I do utilize them, we will have to lay down some guidelines about it first: setting aside a certain time during the week for it.
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Amy: @sheilac, I suggest you create an actual thread on the "Questions & Concerns" board, so fellow Zoo Keepers can help you with your concerns. 256 characters is too little to discuss something that is so important to your heart
Jun 2, 2019 23:44:41 GMT 9
Mayken: Adam Beck, thanks for that very interesting and timely post - it justifies the large order for ml books and DVDs I'm about to place in view of my daughters upcoming birthday!
Jun 3, 2019 23:46:00 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Great to hear this, Mayken! And happy birthday to both yours and mine! (They have the same birthday, don't they?) And if anyone missed that post, here's the link once more...
Jun 4, 2019 8:03:42 GMT 9
Mayken: It's our last night in Canada. We've said goodbye to our English-speaking and bilingual English/French friends but we have lots of memories and souvenirs. Let's see how I can keep up the momentum back home.
Aug 21, 2019 9:06:07 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Sounds like a wonderful trip, Mayken! Safe travels home!
Aug 22, 2019 10:33:45 GMT 9