When we read to our 11 month old boy, we usually do it separately. For instance, in the morning Mommy (minority language) reads to him, and at night Daddy (majority language) reads to him or either way. Although, we cannot get his full attention for the whole story, we do not give up and keep reading to him until the end.
What happened yesterday was interesting. His dad was feeding him and I decided to read him one of the bilinguals stories (I was only reading the minority language part). Suddenly, my husband got closer to me and started reading the part of the majority language. So, we kept doing it that way until the end of the story; one part his dad, and one part me. I was so impressed to see how fascinated and focused my boy was while listening to the whole story. Now, I am wondering: is it a good idea to do it that way (reading the story in both languages)? Or are we getting him confused?
Dani, I don't see this as a concern. As long as you and your husband are being consistent about your use of the two languages, reading with your son in this way is fine. (After all, it's similar to the times you're speaking together as a family, right? You're using the minority language with your son and your husband is using the majority language?)
In any event, I expect such "bilingual reading" will only constitute a small part of your interactions with him. What's most important, for long-term success, is the overall amount of meaningful exposure he receives in the minority language from day to day.
Adam Beck is the founder of Bilingual Monkeys and The Bilingual Zoo, and the author of the popular book Maximize Your Child's Bilingual Ability amzn.to/22XKuCt and the humorous novel How I Lost My Ear amzn.to/2EsjVRS, both available worldwide. Please support The Bilingual Zoo through Adam's Patreon page www.patreon.com/bilingualmonkeys.
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