Bilingual reading at home is probably one of the most precious times parents can have with their children. How can you add more bilingual reading during family times?
With busy schedules and extracurricular activities, you might find it challenging to plan reading times. Even if you can’t dedicate more than an hour, depending on your children’s age you can still commit to blocks of time. With multicultural families of diverse cultural backgrounds and age ranges in particular, consider incorporating activities that all family members can participate in.
Local Library Trips
Many local libraries offer special events for storytelling time or cultural diversity events. Make sure to check their local event calendars to see what best fits your family. While you’re at your local library, visit the bilingual section for books that might interest your children to read together.
Storytelling is an educational activity that promotes literacy and comprehension, so it’s no wonder audiobooks are readily available as well. Head over to the audiobook section of your local library. If there is one, check out bilingual audiobooks. Many selections offer the book with a CD that you can simply play at home. Other options including using online sites for reading aloud stories.
Dramatic Play Reading
While storytelling and reading books are more traditional ways to encourage bilingual literacy at home, you can quickly implement dramatic play activities. You may think you need plenty of equipment and planning. However, depending on the age of your children, you can use finger puppets or a good old blanket with chairs. Then, choose one of your favorite bilingual books and recreate the story.
Just as storytelling and reading books are a necessary foundation for reading, you might be surprised that music is an excellent addition to bilingual reading. The lyrics in music encourage children to associate musical notes with familiar words. For example, nursery rhymes such as “Mary Had a Little Lamb” or “Hickory Dickory Dock” engage children to learn memorization and new vocabulary by using simple lyrics and rhyming.
Art and Reading
Age has no boundaries when it comes to art and reading. That is why many reading bilingual programs incorporate arts and crafts into reading activities. Local libraries or learning centers may also offer classes or events to motivate families to attend an afternoon of painting and reading. These programs will often focus on a particular book as the theme for the craft for the day.
As reading becomes a natural part of your child’s learning lifestyle, you may want to nurture it with trips to the library and through storytelling, music, and art. Although it may take some planning, encouraging bilingual reading at an early stage brings fruitful learning later on. Multicultural families can enjoy bilingual reading throughout their lives and pass it on to future generations.
About the Author
Barbara Mascareno-Shaw is a freelance content writer and multicultural mom passionate about education and learning. She loves to write about parenting lifestyle and family activities. With a background in education and science, she also writes about bilingual learning. Connect with Barbara on her blog at Spanish4Kiddos Educational Resources, bmascarenowriter, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook.
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