Reading is one of the greatest gifts we can give our kids. It’s enjoyable, and it’s a valuable step in childhood maturation. It can spark curiosity and imagination, and aid in their communication and social skills. For some kids, however, reading can be a challenge - even in their native language. There are countless reasons, of course, from learning disabilities to just plain don't enjoy it! Luckily, there are many ways to supplement your child’s learning with fun activities that build literacy in alternate ways.
1 - Talking with Friends
Your child has made friends with a number of Spanish-native kids at Dual School. Reach out to their parents to set up play dates. Through play, they can build up their vocabulary from a native speaker. Additionally, your family will get the opportunity to build relationships with new families that you may not have otherwise connected with. How wonderful is that?
Just remember to ask the kiddos to speak Spanish while they interact. Given the dominance of English, they may be inclined to speak that instead. Especially if the Spanish-speaking child knows more English than your kiddo knows Spanish. Keep an ear out, and remind them to speak Spanish if they revert.
2 - Playing Board Games
Like playtime, games offer the opportunity for advancement in a comfortable, fun setting. Games gives children the chance to try, fail, learn, and improve all in one. You can bring these attributes into your child’s Dual Language education by encouraging them to play their favorite word games in Spanish. Bananagrams, Scrabble Jr., Hangman, and Boggle all work well for this. Be sure to have a Spanish-English dictionary handy, or allow them to use Siri, Google Home, or Alexa for help.
3 - Listening to Spanish Music
Music has been shown to help with memorization, reading, and engagement. It’s a great tool for learning another language. Put some Spanish-language songs on a music service app like Spotify, or play Spanish music videos on YouTube. While listening, pull up the lyrics in Spanish (just google your preferred song with "lyrics" afterward) and have your kids read the words while they sing along. Here are a few of our favorites to get you started:
For the ambitious and maybe older kids: Soy Yo - Bomba Estero
4 - Watching Favorite Movies in Spanish
Movies are a captivating way to absorb language, and they can really help speed the connection between the written word and sound with the use of subtitles. Although the act of watching a movie seems straightforward, there are some techniques for getting the most out of it for your Dual Language Learner.
Expanding literacy in your child can go far beyond sitting down with a good book. Many students thrive in traditional storytime, but some do not. For those children, these tips will come in handy to including them in the joys of Dual Language learning.