Well I have just registered for the first free month....
I don't really know how much and how many times I will have to write: THANK YOU! That service is amazing! It has dozens of movies. I can set English soundtrack and English subtitles for probably 95% movies (kids movies included!) There are movies that my Lucy loves to watch. UNBELIEVABLE.
I bet that all of us here have lots of stories that happened to us on our bilingual journey with our kids.
Some funny, some probably less. I thought that this could be a really nice place to share some of them.
Here is mine:
Yesterday my family and I did the shopping. When my wife had gone to another shop, I was putting our things with Lucy into our car as we talked together in ml. There was a poor man that overheard us speaking.
He came and asked me: "You speak English?" I was surprised and quickly responded: "Yes I do."
Then he continued: "You speak Polish?" I answered: "Troszeczkę" (that means: a little bit). I didn't want to talk to him...
Anyway, he wanted to ask me for some money. I gave him some, saying in English that it is all I have got.
Then when I got into the car with Lucy, he wanted to speak more...but finally he said to me:
"Your daughter?" (He pointed his finger at my girl.) Yep, my daughter. Then he stammered slowly in Polish straight into my face: "Dbaj o nią" (which means: "Look after her"). Well, I responded: "Absolutely, I will..." I almost chuckled in front of him.
When we were leaving, Lucy said to me: "That man sometimes spoke English and sometimes Polish." Yes, I know Lucy...
That's my story too! Me and my wife are Polish native speakers. My daughter Lucy communicates with me only in English. However, we started when she was 18 months old. It was I think the last moment for such a change. She didn't speak Polish at that time, that's why I think she wasn't reluctant to her daddy's crazy idea...
At the very beginning she was looking at me like a dog...which sometimes turns its head with no understanding but I saw in her face that her brain was analyzing every new word coming into her little ears.
It is tough anyway... Who knows where we will be in 3 years.
P.S. The advantage of her now being 3 and a half is, for sure, her ability to speak English with me. At the beginning it was a monologue but now I am more confident in the presence of others to speak English with her. That's cool.
I keep thinking about this too. My girl is 3 and half years old now. She started speaking rather late. She struggles sometimes when speaking, repeating many times words like "because, because, because" before she finds the right word after that one. I am so baffled when she says something sophisticated like recently: "I haven't seen swimming pool so far". It happens once in a while. I have also noticed that she uses phrases that she heard when reading a book with me.
That reminds me my English teacher I had so many many years ago. One of the best I think now. Every lesson she used to give me one or two chapters of the book to learn by heart (maybe not word for word, but more common phrases used, I had to learn). Maybe that is the clue?
I mean to help our kids by teaching them how to describe the world?
P.S. I am also really proud of her when I can hear her speaking more advanced phrases. I always praise her for doing this.
Thank you! I have similar feelings. Lucy and I have a friend from US and she 'delivers' strange vocabulary for us (from time to time). We giggle, we smile sometimes, when we treat them as something unusual but generally, I just tell Lucy that it is just another word for 'this' and Shala our friend uses it because where she was born that word is more commonly used. That's all.
Can I ask you something? (off-topic) When you teach your children English, do you teach British and/or American words? English is not my native language and have recently been thinking if I should rather stick to British vocabulary I am more familiar with or also try to introduce some American vocabulary?
For example, in UK we would say: "boot" (the rear part of the car). In AE: "trunk". Do you teach the former word, the latter or both of them?
I will tell how Lucy and me set off on the reading journey together about 3-4 months ago. Lucy is three and a half years old now. She is a little girl and I don't push her too much with the learning process. I am very patient and slow.
We have started with letter by letter. First was A, later B and C. For each letter she has to say its name and sounds it makes. When she learnt A and B, we could start reading straightaway! AB, BA. When teaching learning, you teach what is the direction of reading and how to blend letters. So with AB, she says sounds: "A", "B", then she swipes her finger from left to right to finally say: "AB".
Initially I have also printed big versions of letters and words (A4 size), but later realized it was...too big for my little girl and I stuck with small version (about 5 X 3 cm size) for letters and words.
Now we know 10 letters (a few consonants and a few vowels, a few sight words) and we have about 40-50 different words, short or long which can be read from that set of 10 letters. That is my approach and it turned out to be working.
The child has to catch the concept of blending letters. So each letter is sounded out, and then connected to make a word.
I have also started leaving short words to read all over the house but because at this level it is rather boring, we just sit once a day for a couple of minutes and read them.
My daughter didn't speak too much until she was 3 years old. People sometimes think if the child is bilingual then parents can expect delay in speech development. However I heard it is not true.
I was also really worried about it.
Just before Christmas I found on youtube a video with a speech therapist demonstrating saying basic English sounds. For 2 weeks every evening my daughter had bath time...! We were filling up the tub with hot water full of lather, she was getting into it, daddy was sitting on the floor with the paper with those sounds, and we were practicing saying: a, o, i, u, etc. That video was so great because it showed how to say the letter and express it on one's face. Along with the sounds I showed her how to open her mouth properly, sometimes there were letters with hands.
I stopped doing this when she finally could articulate all of them. That helped a lot!
My wife and I noticed that when we were together at home all day, because of Christmas and New Year, she rapidly started speaking more. We both have full-time jobs and our daughter used to be with our grandparents at that time.
Last thing that just came to my mind was a story about my oldest brother. He started speaking when he was 4... My parents told me that the doctor at that time said to them that he would be very smart. That turned out to be true!
Well Adam. I had seen your link with the music before I asked Lulu and Roy but when I had just taken a look at Raffi I thought he had been just another man playing guitar and singing to children and at that time he seemed to be rather boring..
Now I am after the video I found on YouTube from one of his many concerts:
"...because from that moment on she started to reply to her mom in English (which she didn't do until they had this conversation)."
I would say... oh my..! Your stepsister had been struggling with her girl for about 5-6 years, so that she could answer to her in English until that conversion changed everything..? Respect!
But, well, it is a good thing... It means that we should never give up, our efforts will pay off one day, it is only the matter of time.
Joana, I am in the same situation. (I am Polish and I speak to my 3 year old girl in English).) She hasn't asked me this question (she is still young) but I am sure she will, one day.
I heard different stories, one was that a girl asked her dad to not speak in English with her in front of her peers (she was embarrassed and wanted to be the same like her friends) and she didn't understand why she had to communicate with him in English.
That answer about a bond between parent and child is true and I feel it too. I do it because I really like English, because I think my girl will develop better, because It will help her in the future. She is such a young girl now she can learn everything.
Melissa: Thank you for your reply. Yes I still act as narrator when I am with her. Describing my thoughts, plans, actions, whatever I do she hears that.
At the moment, Lucy has once a week meetings with our friend from the USA, however yes that would be great to find and arrange meetings with peers in the area who have English native speaker parents (I will have to add it to my wish list, however it can be hard...).
With regards to TV, we only have what is on youtube. On our satellite we have Polish versions of English channels. I wanted to get the signal from the UK but would have to install 2 meters satellite dish…
Adam: I know I have a tendency to panic…when things change in the course of time. English books are number 1 in our journey and literally I couldn’t live without them. It is sometimes the problem with getting appropriate items. Lucy needs books that are full of pictures to follow the plot otherwise she gets bored when listening to. That’s why I started to make a show with props, when I grab the book which lacks them. I will also have to get newspapers for kids.
When I was surfing webpages I came across website which offers: Children Learning Reading Program (Children learning reading).
They have a 12 week program that it says will help parents teach their children read in English. They say that even a 2 year old kid can learn to read. It is too expensive for me but as far as I know it all starts with phonemic awareness when child is taught that each word contains individual letters that all make a word. For example, you say: C – A – R (letter sounds) and the child should combine them to make a word – that is a first exercise.
How did you (Adam or other) teach your kids to read? I have always thought that my girl should know all the letters of the alphabet (name and sounds) beforehand to think about reading books. On that page they say that it is not necessary to memorize shapes of them. How is that in English?
My current wish list contains:
- Find peers - Find new picture books - Find music for kids - Teach Lucy to read - Travel to the UK for holiday. Does anyone have a nice place where we could stay in the UK for a week (three of us) so that Lucy could spend time with friends and play? I thought that maybe it would be possible to send Lucy to UK kindergarten for some activities everyday (for 2, 3 hours)
P.S. Yesterday we had a birthday party for Lucy. After Polish "Sto lat" we all sang "For she's a jolly good fellow" and you know what happened...she was terrified, she was sitting straight to the end of the song, when after all she burst into tears...but only for 5 seconds.
I have not written here for a long time. Lots of things happened in the life of my minority language girl. I am also writing here to sort the things out and to think up a new strategy towards my girl and changing circumstances. (I hope that you would support me a little with ideas and advice. Please!)
My girl will be 3 years old in about 3 weeks. She has rapidly sped up with language development in Polish and English for about 2 months. She can repeat everything, she knows a few chants and poems in both ml and ML.
A few months ago I was worried that her Polish was overwhelmed by English and, well, it was not long before things changed slightly. Now I get the impression that she speaks more in Polish and the reason for this is that people around my girl, like her grandparents are so talkative with her... They are playing songs, teaching chants, and speak with her all the time in Polish. How can I compete with them?! It is not possible. Of course she speaks more in English too, but.
I am trying to be flexible and to change our routines so that they can be useful for both of us. Could you please evaluate my ideas? Are they good/bad? Should be changed or abandoned?
1. Reading every day. It has been our routine for a long time.
2. I have started pushing her to speak more for about 2 months and do this:
When she wants to say something and she uses simple 1 or 2 words requests like "Daddy juice", I say “Can I have a juice please? Say it." If she says "This sticker”, I say “This IS a sticker” (she repeats that). Generally speaking, I am helping her construct right sentences and ask her to repeat them. (I don’t know if that is a good idea). I started saying, to ask / say things using full sentences. (Can I, I want to, This is, etc). In spite of the fact that it seems to work, she also learns it by heart and uses utterances in the wrong way…but rather rarely.
3. Recently I have given her a picture from a book and said to her: Now you are reading to me! Tell me what you see!
Using similar method as in point 2 I help her say longer utterances.
4. We have started learning letters, slowly. It is not easy, but I have some games with letters, like: puzzles, board games, cutting out the letters, punch holing them and entwining a ribbon through the holes, etc. Reading ability would help me in the course of time, but anyway it is a matter of probably 2 years after all.
5. Last thing I thought was to take a story we last read in the book (recently it was about a wily cat and a foolish mouse), prepare props like: cushion, plastic cat and mouse, a big pot full of cookies (fat) and to retell the story together.
6. We are learning songs by heart, She likes singing. A couple of weeks ago she could sing dozen times: "Q R S T U V, W X Y and Z now I know my A B C next time won't you sing with me"!
In about 3 weeks she is going to the kindergarten too. I need something STRONG. What can I do more? What I am doing wrong? What should I change/add?
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Mayken: School starts again tomorrow. This year, exceptionally, 7yo will have all of her ml classes in 2 half days, instead of 1h/day. We'll see how that goes. (She's in 2nd grade.)
Sept 3, 2017 17:58:36 GMT 9
Amy: "Bonne rentrée" Mayken! Hope this new schedule will work well for your daughter though I have no doubt she will keep up her already excellent bilingual level
Sept 3, 2017 18:57:33 GMT 9
Mayken: Thanks Amy! Bonne rentrée to you too! My daughter has ml on Tuesday mornings (tomorrow!) and Thursday afternoons.
Sept 5, 2017 5:39:39 GMT 9
Amy: First Wednesday at home magic: ml2 bathed home and catching my 5 year old singing along her music player in ml2.... Bilingual bliss! Only you fellow bilingual parents could understand this
Sept 6, 2017 21:05:46 GMT 9
Mayken: Planning to send my daughter to ml school again during the next holidays. But it's ok, she's looking forward to it!
Sept 8, 2017 4:45:12 GMT 9
Mayken: We had our parents meetings with the ml teacher, my daughter will have a lot of work this year! One parent asked "which kids actually do speak ml at home?" Does that mean many of them don't???
Sept 13, 2017 5:02:26 GMT 9
Nellie: Mayken - my daughter is a lot younger than yours (just starting PS), but in her class there are two children with Spanish-speaking parents, but apparently neither of them actually speak it...disappointing!
Sept 13, 2017 6:28:10 GMT 9
Amy: Nellie, these 2 kids might simply be passive bilinguals, and as you know the penny might simply drop one day and they'll start using Spanish...
Sept 13, 2017 17:05:33 GMT 9
Mayken: In our ml class the kids are required to have a high level of ml. In class they only speak ml (this year there's a penalty for speaking ML!). I assumed they all speak ml with the ml parent at home. (I've known those kids for 2 years.)
Sept 13, 2017 23:42:56 GMT 9
Nellie: Yes I'm sure you're right and they are passive bilinguals! And they are young. I certainly hope by your daughter's age that my little one will be speaking ml1 with me - have already seen a lot of progress over the last week! The penny is dropping!
Sept 14, 2017 5:51:52 GMT 9
Patricia: Has anyone encountered studies, or personal accounts, of bilingualism (or multilingualism) playing a role in delayed speech?
Sept 15, 2017 1:31:58 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Patricia, please complete your Profile (see my "welcome message" for guidance), then post your questions to the forum boards. Thank you.
Sept 15, 2017 6:14:15 GMT 9