I'm mother of a young baby (4 months old), just starting the adventure of raising a bilingual baby. I'm the minority language parent (Italian in Spain). I've read in the blog and in Adam's book that it's very good to read to our children from the very beginning. I was very impressed by Adam's experience of reading aloud to their children from birth!
I'd like to receive some suggestions on what kind of books I could read to such a young baby. Most of the books for very young babies only includes images and are created more to touch than to read. In addition, as you may imagine, my baby can barely keep the attention for more than a couple of minutes.
Any suggestion? I'd really like to create a reading habit in the ml, given that I consider reading important and he'll attend a ML school (no ml schools in my city).
Babies' attention span is very short, and you'll probably have to do several "reading sessions" a day until she develops a longer attention span.
Personally, I find it more comfortable to "hide" behind a text to read than to be creative and make up my own narrative. But my youngest (21 months old) has taught me to be (and your baby will surely do in no time! ) when they start holding the book and turning the pages on their own, you have no time to read a long narrative! So I copy my husband's technique: I just describe the pictures, highlight things that might attract my daughter's interest (e.g: a cat - she's obsessed with them at the moment), talk about the colours...
Hope this can be of help.
***"Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars" - Oscar Wilde***
Agnese, yes, I began reading to my kids daily, from birth. While it's hard to say how much they could actually focus on the books back then, I don't think that question matters much because this regular effort still paid off in these important ways:
1. It provided my kids with consistent exposure to the minority language, from day one. (Before they could crawl away, they were a perfectly "captive audience," as I simply put them on the floor, on their back, and laid down next to them. Just be careful when holding those heavy board books in the air above your heads! )
2. It created the read-aloud habit for us both--and establishing that early routine for the parent is particularly important, I think.
3. It began the process of bonding over books and nurturing a love for the minority language and literacy.
As to what I read at that time, I would try almost anything for young children, and I would encourage you to explore this process in the same spirit. The more books you read, the more you'll discover what appeals most to you and your son. For us (with English as the target language), that included Dr. Seuss and other books that emphasize rhyme as well as titles by such authors as Eric Carle and Sandra Boynton.
Adam Beck is the founder of Bilingual Monkeys and The Bilingual Zoo, and the author of the popular non-fiction 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.
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Amy: Happy birthday to your 2 bilingual monkeys Mayken and Adam Beck !
Jun 30, 2018 5:15:05 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Mayken, that's true, but in our case, the U.S. didn't make it to the World Cup this time! Japan has gone through, but they'll probably get knocked out very soon...
Jun 30, 2018 7:22:16 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Wojtek, Poland won! I was disappointed, though, to see Japan hold the ball at the end of the game because they only wanted to go through to the next round. I understand why they did that but I wish they had played harder...
Jun 30, 2018 7:24:42 GMT 9
Wojtek: Well, it suited both teams to slow down the ball. However, it was really unexpected and peculiar
Jul 1, 2018 1:16:27 GMT 9
Mayken: On the train from Cologne to my hometown, I saw a boy about 9/10 and his older sister. She was fluent in German but spoke French with a slight accent, he spoke only French. They were visiting their grandparents. I was intrigued but didn't ask.
Jul 1, 2018 22:06:55 GMT 9
Wojtek: Does anyone know an online English speech language therapist? I thought that it could be a good idea to get my girl evaluated in her ml...
Jul 6, 2018 4:02:38 GMT 9
Mayken: Yay! My 8-year-old daughter passed her ml swim test today! After swimming & diving, the pool attendant asked her to recite the swimming/safety rules (our recent captive reading), and she knew them all!
Jul 6, 2018 21:28:23 GMT 9
Adam Beck: NEW! Bilingual Lives: Ana Cristina Gluck, Author and Publisher of Multilingual Books for Children (with a Book Giveaway!) buff.ly/2ziSQ4J
Jul 7, 2018 11:28:32 GMT 9
Agnese: First words. What to expect? My son is 10 months old. He's still babbling, but I've noticed some different sounds depending on the situation. I wonder if he'll start saying his first words in the next weeks (or months, who knows?). What should I expect?
Jul 11, 2018 0:30:24 GMT 9
Amy: Don't expect anything Agnese. Just let it happen, and then what he says will hit you like a train. It's an amazing moment. Just live it and don't overthink it. Whatever he says, in whatever language it is, it is a magical moment.
Jul 11, 2018 5:11:14 GMT 9
Agnese: I've recently found a further (annoying) challenge: when I speak ml (Italian) to my child (10m) in front of ML acquaintances, they are making jokes about what I said (mostly accent, similar unrelated words...). What do you think is the best way to act?
Jul 15, 2018 13:04:11 GMT 9
Amy: Agnese, it is simply because they never had the opportunity to be acquainted so closely to that language. Just smile and keep going. Over time (even if this may seem long), the comments will fade. Don't show your son you are embarrassed by your ml.
Jul 16, 2018 3:56:41 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Agnese, I strongly second Amy's advice! Stay strong and continue speaking Italian!
Jul 18, 2018 6:22:37 GMT 9
Adam Beck: And Agnese, keep in mind that, above all, the highest priority is your bilingual aim, not the other passing concerns that are part of this experience (for us all). Don't let these distract you from the greater goal.
Jul 18, 2018 6:24:49 GMT 9
Agnese: Thank you! After this setback I feel stronger than ever! The same day of the incident I ordered plenty of books in the ml on Amazon and I'm reading every day new research on bilingualism and bilingual education. I'm ready to defend my goal! Thanks
Jul 19, 2018 18:37:58 GMT 9
Agnese: Thank you for the suggestion!
Jul 21, 2018 15:40:43 GMT 9
Mayken: My daughter met some inversed ML/ml kids today who live in our ml country. Their parents probably weren't thrilled they found n ML (for them) friend in their ml country. I'm sorry...a little bit.
Aug 7, 2018 2:07:34 GMT 9