I'm teaching my son English as a second language and I use OPOL. We play together in English, I read him books, we sing songs together and we do activities like that. I mean I talk to him in English all the time now.
A few days ago one of my friends told me about the "English learning sets". There are plenty of them in the market from different publishers. Should I use one of them? Has anybody tried any of them?
I think if you are able to speak to him always in English, read to him, sing to him, put English music on in the background, let him only watch English cartoons when he is old enough to watch shows, that is the best. You could also do some flash cards with him, as my children enjoy doing that in English (when they were younger) and French now, as that is the ml language they are learning. But we used to do the flashcards of animals and numbers in English and they enjoyed that. I found the learning program a little boring for them. We tried it in French and they prefer to do French flash cards, watch French cartoons etc. Perhaps because it was also very basic such as showing a baby or apple and repeating the word several times and slowly. There is only so much a young child will sit through before getting bored. Doing the flash cards they like because we make games out of it and they do 10 at most so it's a short time. My daughter likes to watch cartoons in French and then explain to me what words mean or new words or phrases she learns while watching the cartoon, such as recently "mushroom" in French or the phrase "I win" etc.
What helps is finding a program that helps them learn from situations they are experiencing or will experience. For example, Peppa Pig is great for this as they have shows about going to the beach, going to the dentist, Christmas, camping etc. And it's simple English language for a child to understand. At the moment my daughter is loving watching the French cartoon t'choupi ecole. And because it is about young children at school and their day to day activities she learns additional school language and she also understands a lot of it because they use phrases she is already familiar with because of the French she learns at her school.
Thank you very much for your reply. It's good to hear from someone who has experience in this.
I already use flashcards and my son seems interested in them. I believe cartoons will be very helpful too. We decided to wait until he is 24 months old then we will enjoy the cartoons and animation movies together. I'm excited about it too.
Ahmet, I think "learning sets" like Little Pim can be useful as a basic introduction to a language, but their content and value are limited. Moreover, such materials aren't needed at all, really, if the parent has some ability in the target language and can proactively use it by speaking to the child, singing songs, reading aloud, etc. They also tend to be overpriced and I think this money could be better spent on resources like children's books. Wordless picture books, for instance, are a resource that can be used in a far more expansive and longer-lasting way than the simple, tightly-controlled language found in "learning sets."
My children have been learning Spanish for the past several years--but I don't speak Spanish myself--so we tried a Spanish "learning set"...and fortunately it was given to me for free because its value to us was much lower than the actual cost. Again, such materials may be helpful as the first small step toward gaining some basic vocabulary and developing an early interest in the target language, but I'm afraid that acquiring any sort of active "fluency" isn't a realistic hope.
Adam Beck is the founder of Bilingual Monkeys and The Bilingual Zoo, and the author of the book "Maximize Your Child's Bilingual Ability", praised worldwide by parents and experts in the field. Available at Amazon amzn.to/22XKuCt, the global Amazon sites, and other booksellers.
Nellie: My daughter came home from school with her first "naughty word" in French (caca boudin)! I guess this means she is now officially integrated!
Sept 22, 2017 5:54:43 GMT 9
Nellie: Adam - will watch the video as soon as I can (living circumstances not permitting right now - we are still in temp accommodation and I can't turn on volume) - looking forward to it!
Sept 22, 2017 5:56:44 GMT 9
Mayken: Skyping with grandma last night had to be cancelled due to technological problems - I needed to talk my mom through a Skype update and her phone battery died. :-(
Sept 25, 2017 20:45:42 GMT 9
Joanna: sorry Mayken...this is sad but funny as I'm sure many skype Grandparents have the same woes !(mine..) For us this weekend: potty training has led to great quality time reading and chatting, and some pretty hilarious ml questions
Sept 26, 2017 6:20:44 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Mayken and Joanna, I can relate! My mother (Grandma) can't seem to get the sound on her computer working so when we Skype, we also have to use the telephone!
Sept 26, 2017 6:36:03 GMT 9
Mayken: Adam, and Joanna, it's good to know we're not alone in this!
Sept 27, 2017 2:46:28 GMT 9
Joanna: Planning a long Christmas minority language visit, so exciting!
Sept 30, 2017 14:46:01 GMT 9
Mayken: Yay! Skype is working again on my mom's tablet, meaning we can skype with ml grandma again!
Oct 2, 2017 23:12:24 GMT 9
Mayken: The other day my mom (monolingual ml) called while my daughter and I were out, so Daddy (monolingual ML) answered. My mom was amazed to find out he isn't monolingual ML any more after all, and praised his active ml ability.
Oct 3, 2017 23:28:39 GMT 9
Joanna: For each day my daughter is exposed to other people speaking English (here in France) I put a little star on the calendar...trying to fill it up!
Oct 8, 2017 3:52:17 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Nice motivating idea, Joanna! And Mayken, thanks for sharing your good news on two fronts!
Oct 9, 2017 7:11:50 GMT 9
Marisa: My daughter won't say number one in Spanish or English, but in German! She loves recognizing the number and saying it out loud... it sounds more like the word 'ice' in English, though, but it's 'eins.' Number 9, however, is 'nueve'. So funny!
Oct 11, 2017 10:33:45 GMT 9
Mayken: My dad's giving Adam's book to his Lithuanian friend's daughter, whose husband is sceptical about their little girl learning German.
Oct 14, 2017 21:10:20 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Mayken, thank you for sharing my book! I hope it can be helpful to them!
Oct 16, 2017 15:57:32 GMT 9
Marisa: Adam, another bilingual monkey is about to be born near me (one of my colleagues is giving birth tomorrow), so I also got her and her husband a copy of your book... this world needs more bilingual kids!
Oct 18, 2017 0:06:43 GMT 9