August is Learning at Home month here at Ohdeedoh, and we have been thinking about the various approaches to raising a bilingual child. There have been volumes written on the subject, and all of the experts agree that there needs to be a consensus and commitment among parents and caregivers to devise a plan and stick to it.
In some households one parent only speaks the foreign language and the other speaks English. If both parents speak the same language then they might declare their home an English-free zone and expose the child to English outside of the home. Regardless of the linguistic approach and teaching philosophy, families can use a number of objects and strategies to promote second language acquisition.
- Beef up your media library. Books, music and DVDs are all incredibly effective teaching tools.
- Use flashcards, either store-bought or homemade, and alphabet blocks. Uncle Goose makes beautiful wooden blocks in over a dozen different languages.
- Borrow a page from bilingual classrooms and label everyday objects in both languages.
- Ask capable friends and family to participate in your efforts by only addressing your child in the foreign language.
What else are you doing to raise a bilingual child?
(Image by Flickr member Sistak, licensed for use under Creative Commons)