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.
Mayken: My daughter's ml homework for this week included baking a cake - there's a cake in the story they read, and after each chapter there are questions and tasks, and the current chapter has the step-by-step recipe. She's to bring the cake to school too.
May 1, 2018 23:48:48 GMT 9
Amy: What a nice original homework! Makes such a change from standard homework, and I wouldn't be surprised if kids remember more from it! I like your bilingual school Mayken! Lucky little girl, and lucky Mummy!
May 2, 2018 0:00:43 GMT 9
Mayken: ml cake homework update: About half the class brought cake (8 out of 15), not all of them were the cake from the book recipe, but my daughter's was the most popular. (Maybe because we added food colouring and topped it with chocolate icing and smarties?)
May 4, 2018 5:58:10 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Cake is definitely my favorite kind of homework!
May 4, 2018 11:28:51 GMT 9
Jana: One of the best parts of having kids in bilingual school was getting Mother's Day cards in two languages! (With less-than-perfect spelling in both!) Ha!
May 15, 2018 9:16:08 GMT 9
Amy: (Twice) Lucky you Jana! So nice to read exciting pieces of news like yours!
May 16, 2018 5:46:25 GMT 9
Mayken: I still have that to look forward to, Jana! Mother's Day in our ML country is two weeks later, and the ml teacher goes along with that date. (It was last Sunday in our ml country.)
May 16, 2018 5:58:11 GMT 9