Now that we are off to another new year, I've been thinking about what I can do more of or even start doing in order to support my children's Spanish language development. Two month trips to south America, homeschooling them in Spanish, and just ignoring them when they speak to me in English just don't seem practical! But as it's been said, there's nothing much new under the sun, and some of the things that I resolve to do this year, are simple and easy to implement, in most cases, something I've already been doing with my children.
#1. Read, Read, Read! In Spanish!
Research shows that reading to your child is a great way to build their vocabulary, no matter what the language, and builds the foundation for later success in their solo reading efforts later on. I currently read most days in Spanish to each of my children, periodically checking for understanding. I am always amazed at how much they understand. Eve if they have never heard of a particular word, they can usually figure out the meaning in the context of the story. In addition, reading creates a natural snuggle time, which I find that fo rmy children, at least, is a big attractionof the whole activity. So I plan to continue reading, and resolve to read at least 20 minutes each day to them.
#2. Utilize Television Better.
One of my friends has, from the get-go, made it clear to her kids that only certain TV stations, like Discover en Espanol, are acceptable in her house. I wish I'd started that way, but Ben-10, Pokemon, and the like are now regular visitors in my house. So instead, I've decided to start recording even more programs suitable for children in Spanish, and wathc these with them, for about 30 minutes at a time. I've done this in the past, and my kids actively resist watching for the first 5 minutes, but the lure of television inevitably wins out. So why not lure them in Spanish?
#3. Online Learning Resources.
Over this wonderfully snowy holiday break, I finally decided to do a month's subscription to Pipoclub. WII, DSS, Nintendo, and GameBoy games seem to be everywhere, and I thought if my kids are going to pester me about playing computer games, then I'd let them try Pipo Club instead. So far so good! They enjoy the games, which help them work on their math and language skills, and get to explore thematic subjects--all in Spanish!
As with all things, keep it simple, easy to achieve and hopefully both you and your children will continue to develop Spanish as a growing and living language in your family. Happy New Year!