Help your student learn Spanish, even if you don't know how to speak it

Posted by Elana Nashelsky on 2/3/2019

  • READ with your child every day. Regardless of the language, genre, or even variety of text (“You want to read Curious George AGAIN??”), reading to and with your child is the single most influential predictor of reading success… And if your child can read in one language, learning to read in a second language is that much easier.
  • TALK with your child every day. Regardless of the language, topic, or setting (in the car, on a walk, at the dinner table), talking with your child in your family’s home language(s) will help build vocabulary, provide a model for speaking, and build the confidence and performance of your child’s speaking and listening skills. Plus, fully present conversations about topics your child is interested in (PUT THE PHONE AWAY) will strengthen your relationship with your child!
  • CELEBRATE and APPRECIATE the language your child is learning at school. Provide opportunities for your child to experience the second language outside of school.
  • LISTEN to the local Spanish radio station in the car.
  • WATCH the Spanish television station or setting the language preference to Spanish on a favorite movie.
  • POINT OUT when you hear Spanish being spoken around town: “Oh listen! That family is using Spanish! I wonder if they are bilingual like you!”
  • ENCOURAGE your child to pick a friend from class whose family speaks Spanish at home and invite him/her over to play.
  • And of course, TRAVEL to Spanish-speaking countries whenever possible!
  • SEEK OUT opportunities for your child to learn the second language:
  • VISIT the library for bilingual storytime and/or check out bilingual books or Spanish books to read together.
  • EMBRACE the challenge of completing homework in the language it was taught (Spanish math homework, reading a social studies text in Spanish; have your child teach you or work it out together versus asking for the English translation). If you need additional support, www.wordreference.com is an excellent resource.
  • UNDERSTAND, SUPPORT, and APPRECIATE the fact that your child is a developing bilingual and will learn differently than his/her monolingual peers. Don’t get caught up in comparing test scores, classroom activities, etc., with parents of monolingual students. If you have questions, ask us!

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