5 Ways Dads Can Help Spanish Learning

Raising your kids bilingual is more difficult than it sounds. For Hispanics in the United States, it can sometimes be hard when your child won’t speak Spanish to mom and dad, and Spanish learning can quickly become a struggle if we don’t have support. Much more than simply speaking in your native language, there are formal techniques that you can use to help this process along.

One thing is for sure both parents can contribute to this process. It doesn’t matter which of you is the one speaking the non-dominant or minority language – dads can, and need, to be involved in their child’s bilingual Spanish education.

Dads Can Help Spanish Learning in 5 Ways

Dads can help Spanish learning by watching television and movies with their kids.

Dads can help Spanish learning by watching television and movies with their kids in Spanish.

  • Be consistent
    One Person, One Language, or the OPOL method, is one of the most common ways to help your children become bilingual.

    Basically, each parent speaks only one language to the child. This conditions them to think of Spanish as the language that you need them to speak in order to be able to communicate – in this way, dads can help Spanish learning be natural for the family.

  • Be patient
    It’s been shown that bilingual children sometimes take longer to start speaking properly, as their brains are working hard to try to figure out the two languages. So – don’t give up. And don’t push your kids in either language.

    If you are consistent, their language skills will smooth out soon enough.

  • Share your culture
    Particularly if you are far from your native country, your child may feel like it’s not a relevant part of his or her life. Make a point to share photos and stories of your family, country, and culture – in Spanish, of course! Kids will love that special storytelling time with their dads.

But language learning isn’t all serious. Here are some fun things you can do to support your child as he or she learns Spanish.

  • Give them media in Spanish
    One of the best ways to teach kids Spanish is to make sure they have plenty of ways to include Spanish in their daily lives – and that includes entertainment.

    By buying them books and music, dads can help Spanish learning by giving them ways to practice, but you are also showing them that Spanish is fun and relevant to their day-to-day lives. Watching movies and television shows in Spanish together lets them share your culture with you while they practice their listening skills.

  • Play games with them – in Spanish
    Lots of card and board games have Spanish versions. For example, Monopoly, Life, or Scrabble. Other games are easy to use in Spanish: Connect 4, Pictionary, Go Fish, or Uno. Make game night Spanish-only. Not only will they need to use Spanish to play the game, but have them use it in any conversation that night, as well.

With dedication and creativity, dads can help make the Spanish learning process fun and effective.

Do you have a specific tip about how dads can help Spanish learning?  Let me know in the comments.

Learning to Speak Spanish

Learning to speak Spanish is a journey. Fortunately there are many aides you can use to learn how you can start doing it. Here is a simple overview of what I consider the best ways to start this adventure.

Using Immersion as a Tool

The best way to acquire a language is through immersion. To do so you don’t need to travel to a Spanish speaking country for a year although it is ideal. Instead you can find a way to be in a Spanish speaking country for a summer season or another time of the year where traveling can be most convenient to you.

Look for volunteer programs in South American countries or Spain. I have heard of programs in Ecuador, Colombia, Mexico, and Costa Rica that have been very successful.

Look for programs that provide a curriculum at the basic, intermediate or advanced level paired with an internship. Lodging can be part of the program and it is more affordable this way.

If you have some cash to spare venture into paid immersion programs. They are designed to really increase your knowledge and command of the language. These programs give you also time to travel within the country on the weekends or let you free after 4 or 5pm for you to explore the town.

Sites like Don Quijote, Spanish Abroad, and others provide complete packages for weeks and months of Spanish immersion in several countries including Spain.

Using Spanish Learning Software

Playing Spanish Games

Playing Spanish Games

Building the Body -Bilingual-

Building the Body -Bilingual-

No time for immersing into another culture? Your second best way to learn and master Spanish is by choosing the right Spanish software.

First assess your type of learning and define your resources to find the perfect fit. Check this article on how to learn Spanish to get a better idea of how to choose the right materials and software for you.

I have researched and evaluated several Spanish learning software programs and I recommend Tell Me More as the most extensive Spanish language learning software solution available in the market at this point. I also like to recommend Rocket Spanish because of the clarity and quality of the language in this program, which is Chilean.

Both programs are different. Tell Me More has a whole set of tools from voice recognition, to tests, graphs, CDs, etc. It was designed with a complete approach to learning Spanish.

Instead Rocket Spanish is more informal. It has an MP3 format, excellent sound, fun and simple screens and it is more conversational. Best of all you can try them both and decide if you like them or not with NO compromise.

Make sure you read my article on the best Spanish learning software to make an educated decision. You can also check specific characteristics of Tell Me More Spanish in my article Spanish software review where I talk about the number one solution for learning Spanish using software.

There are also many free online Spanish learning courses. I looked at several of them and I thought your really get what you pay for. Don’t get me wrong, many have valuable content but their sequence, tools, and environment are not the ideal for learning Spanish. This opinion comes from a Spanish tutor, teacher and native speaker.

Best Spanish Learning Software
My Reviews of Tell Me More & Rocket Spanish

Wanting to complement your Spanish learning adventure by learning Spanish ahead or after coming back? Check out my top 2 recommendations for Spanish learning software. I tested them myself and remember, I am a native Spanish speaker from Colombia, which has one of the best Spanish you can find in South America!

spanish-learning-software-tell-me-more

Tell Me More Spanish VIDEO
Review

rocketspanishRocket Spanish & Tell Me More
Software Reviews

Complement With Games and Activities That Make You Speak

The truth is I have several students who knew Spanish BUT could not speak a word. This is because they never overcame the terror phase in learning to speak Spanish without being concerned with what people may think of them when they spoke Spanish.

Do yourself a favor, go to cultural activities, parties, fairs, carnivals, and other social events that include Spanish speaking activities and people you can meet to practice.

Continue training your ear with music, Shakira, Juanes, Pablo Milanes, and many other artists have produced exquisite music in Spanish that come with lyrics you can follow and learn pronunciation from.

Share your experience about a method, a school, a software program, an insight or a question about learning to speak Spanish here. I will be glad to answer.

Are Your Children Learning to Speak Spanish?

Bilingual In Spanish? My Own Experience and What You Can Expect
Raising Bilingual in Spanish Children. My Findings and Tips
When Children Learn Spanish They Gain…
Advantages of Bilingual Education
Spanish for Kids

How to Learn Spanish

Choosing the Right Program and Materials for You

Many parents write to me asking if it is possible for their children to learn Spanish if they don’t speak it. My answer is yes, and my recommendation continues to be the same… learn Spanish and you will help tremendously in your children’s path to fluency.

You may have a different reason for learning Spanish. It does not matter. In this article I am giving you a mini road map to successfully choose the right program for you, along my top reviews in what I consider the best programs for learning Spanish online and Spanish software reviews in the market.

How do I know what works? Because years of tutoring Spanish to adults, teaching Spanish to children, raising a Spanish bilingual child, listening to my students’ opinions and being a native Spanish speaker taught me what works and what doesn’t.

Learning Spanish should involve learning the culture

Learning Spanish should involve learning the culture

One size does NOT fit all, but I have been able to single out the best way to learn Spanish using a program and the top choice to consider for how to learn Spanish online.

Follow this guide and read the product reviews I am posting on this site .I dedicated a good amount of time to testing the software I recommend here. Yes, testing. I gained access to and tried both products so you can trust this review. It is coming from a native Spanish speaker and a user of the programs.

How to Learn Spanish? Road Map

But…Is there a better way to learn how to speak Spanish? Yes there is, but the answer depends on you. If you are serious about speaking Spanish sit down and answer these questions:

1-What language learning style am I? (See below)
2-What do I need Spanish for? Reasons.
3-How much time per day, week, etc., do I have to dedicate to learn another language?
4-How much money do I have to invest in this endeavor?
5-Which are my available methods, and evaluate them.
6-Choose the right one and persevere.

Step 1 – Your Language Learning Style

How to learn Spanish the best way depends a lot on your learning style, therefore analyze yourself and identify yours. One person normally has more than one learning style. Which are your language learning styles?

Visual: like to see pictures and prefer reading.
Auditory: learn better by listening. They like to talk and interact with others.
Tactile: like manipulating objects or “hands-on” work.
Kinesthetic: enjoy movement and need regular breaks when performing desk activities.
Analytic concentrate on the details of language, such as grammar. They like taking apart words and sentences.
Global: pay attention to the whole picture instead of the details like proper grammar.
Reflective: take time to formulate correctly their sentences to convey ideas. They like to think about language, therefore they make less mistakes.
Impulsive: like to dive into the language and take risks. They want fluency and accuracy is not the most important factor.

Step 2 – Reasons for Learning Spanish

Is it related to work? Is it because you need to know medical terminology or because your clients are Hispanic and you need to communicate with them.

Is it to help your children learn Spanish? Is it because you are interested in traveling to Spanish speaking countries? Maybe you are dating somebody from Hispanic culture.

The vocabulary, methodology and the resources to help you achieve your goal shape your decision on a language course choice. The vocabulary you need to teach the language to children is not the same as the vocabulary you need for communicating while traveling or taking care of customers on the phone.

Step 3 – Time to Invest in Learning Spanish

When trying to answer how to learn Spanish, consider time constraints you may have like travel time, disposable time and availability due to a job that requires you to be away at different times making it difficult to meet in a classroom.

Maybe you have slots of time during the day you can use to learn Spanish, maybe you know you learn better at night, think hard… and be realistic.

Look at your schedule on a weekly basis. I notice learning speeds up when somebody I am tutoring practices more frequently, tutors twice a week or more, and goes beyond the tutoring lessons.

Depending on your time constraints start visualizing the type of program. Think if:

  • Is it better to buy one you can do at home by yourself at your convenience? Is it online, software or a podcast.
  • Is is better to attend a school? Involves travel time but you may have more interaction with others.
  • Is is better to pay somebody to come to your house? May be more expensive but it is one on one and allows for excellent pronunciation and corrections of your speech. Start thinking about the pros and cons of each choice.

Step 4 – How Much Money Can I Invest?

Think of how to learn Spanish considering your monetary resources. For example, Spanish learning software is relatively inexpensive in comparison to tutoring lessons but it may suit your time needs better. Flexibility and quality goes hand on hand with price. Programs or software with excellent graphics like Rosetta Stone or Rocket Spanish cost a bit more but are totally worth it.

Step 5 – Evaluate Available Methods

Once you have answered the previous questions you are ready to explore the different methods available to learn Spanish. These methods are:

  • Attending university or Spanish language center schools.
  • Studying with a Spanish interactive audio learning course. One of my favorite ones.
  • Traveling to another country to immerse yourself in the language. I recommend Tell Me More and Rocket Spanish. See why here.
  • Taking a Spanish online learning course.
  • Tutoring with a native Spanish speaker in person or online.

 

Then… How To Learn Spanish? Experience Showed Me…

Through tutoring I constantly hear what Spanish language learners are using. The majority found out that interactive picture-based software was helpful to learn Spanish but NOT ENOUGH.

While interactive picture-based Spanish software is very helpful doesn’t provide enough depth, I recommend only two Spanish learning software products. They are TELL ME MORE Language Learning Software which encompassess reading, writing, listening, pronunciation, and extensive vocabulary learning with top notch technology.

My second choice is Rocket Spanish which is best for people who target conversational Spanish and simple grammar and conjugation.

I asked myself as a native Spanish speaker and Spanish tutor which choices were best, and these two emerged clearly. I can tell you not even Rosetta Stone provides so much for the money.

Start Your Adventure FOR FREE With Spanish Learning Software

Wanting to start your Spanish learning adventure? Check out my top 2 recommendations for Spanish learning software. I tested them myself and remember, I am a native Spanish speaker from Colombia, which has one of the best Spanish you can find in South America! Why for FREE? Because you can try these products which come with money back guarantee.

spanish-learning-software-tell-me-more

Tell Me More Spanish VIDEO
Review

rocketspanishRocket Spanish & Tell Me More
Software Reviews

Advantages of Bilingual Education

For anyone who knows me, it is very obvious I am an advocate for raising bilingual children in the U.S. Bilingualism and biculturalism are for me, positive approaches to educating our little ones.

I came to that conclusion after reading about scientific studies that proved the advantages of bilingual education, and after being myself educated in two cultures and three languages, one of them French which I don’t speak now due to lack of practice.

What Made Me Advocate for Bilingual Education in the U.S.? Three Reasons…

The first one is the differences many researchers found in brain development when they compared bilingual vs. monolingual children.

Second, I recommend learning Spanish in addition to English because of the growing need for bilingual Spanish people in the U.S.

The third reason is because after considering my need to continue living and enjoying Hispanic culture in our home, introducing Spanish for children at an early age was a very good avenue to be true to my heritage.

Advantages of Bilingual Education

  • Creates open minded children by giving them access to different cultures.
  • Makes learning a third or more languages much easier.
  • Gives twice the enjoyment of reading and writing.
  • Fosters understanding, appreciation and respect of differences.
  • Increases self-esteem and confidence in social interactions.
  • Improves interpersonal skills.
  • Fosters adaptability to new situations and contexts.
  • Provides better economic and employment opportunities

Interesting Findings about Raising Bilingual Children

advantages-of-bilingual-education

Making Friends in Spanish at Genesis. A School in Colombia Where Ian Spent 3 Weeks

1- Ellen Bialystok in her 2001 book “Bilingualism in Development: Language, Literacy, and Cognition,” says that bilinguals have “consistent advantages” to understand the nature of language rather than the ability to use language to communicate meaning.

2- A study conducted by Peal and Lambert in 1962 showed bilinguals to be superior to monolinguals in the domain of mental/cognitive flexibility.

3- Children who are bilingual develop the concept of “object permanence” more rapidly than monolingual children. That is what Therese Sullivan Caccavale, president of the National Network for Early Language Learning says.

4- If you think it is too difficult to raise a bilingual child think about this comment Dr. Geoffrey S. Koby, associate professor of German Translation at Kent State University said in the article “Raising a Bilingual Child, Parents Can Teach Their Children a Foreign Language at a Young Age” By Diane Laney Fitzpatrick in 2007: “All human beings are naturally, innately able to learn a foreign language as a child.”

5- I learned about one of the most interesting advantages of bilingual education after reading the October 2004 issue of Nature, where researchers found that bilingual speakers had denser gray matter, in particular in areas of memory, language, and attention. WOW who doesn’t want to give this present to their children!

6- The obvious one, introducing Spanish for kids at a young age and keeping with it give them stronger communication skills in a global economy that is constantly evolving. It is like having an extra tool in your tool box.

7- The U.S. is one of the few countries where the norm is to be monolingual. In the majority of countries natives learn at least two languages. Even the indigenous people in North, Central and South-America!

Learning to speak Spanish in a country that has an increased need for Spanish speaking people may be a great gift for your children.

There are many advantages of bilingual education, but amongst all, I consider raising an open minded flexible child able to accept other cultures and ways of thinking the most important one. A bilingual education allows him to be more emotionally mature.

Other Articles in these series

Bilingual In Spanish? My Own Experience and What You Can Expect
Raising Bilingual in Spanish Children. My Findings and Tips
When Children Learn Spanish They Gain…

Raising Bilingual in Spanish Children
Findings and Tips

When I started raising my child to be bilingual in Spanish I never envisioned all the road blocks I would be encountering. I wrote this article to let you know my own findings and realistic tips that work for me in a household that is in a predominantly English speaking environment and where only one parent is fluent in Spanish.

Findings

Remember, all children and household environments are different, therefore you may experience some of the findings I describe here or you may not. The point is I have described them here so hopefully you have knowledge and options (tips) on what is coming down the road while raising a bilingual in Spanish child.

Introducing Spanish for kids at a young age should not be a daunting task; we…I had to do a lot of research to find the best materials to reinforce Spanish. Be informed, knowing what you may be facing allows you to prepare and enjoy the journey.

bilingual-in-spanish-2

Playing in Both, English and Spanish

  • Reality hits hard. I found out that Speaking Spanish at home is not enough for children to learn how to properly use, read, write, and communicate flawlessly in Spanish. Be prepared to do more than speaking.
  • Bilingual children probably know twice as many words as their peers just because they speak two languages. At least this is my experience with my son.
  • Don’t worry about your children not learning English if you speak only in Spanish to them. As soon as they enter pre-k, kindergarten or school they will be bombarded with English and you will see how fast they acquire it. Remember raising children to be bilingual in Spanish requires work as Spanish is the minority language.
  • Your children will most likely mix languages. Don’t panic, they don’t get confused at all. This is perfectly normal, and it tends to disappear at the age of five.
  • You will probably have to “fight” with your children to use Spanish because soon after entering school they will know more English. Be smart about it, and make speaking Spanish fun and enjoyable, otherwise they will see it as a chore and won’t speak it.
  • Some bilingual children delay their speech. My son did not, but my friend’s son certainly did. There is no scientific proof of this, but some parents report their children being delayed three to six months.
  • Many more people speak Spanish than you think. Having friends that manage both languages is a real advantage because your children will see it as normal to speak both and won’t feel intimidated or “different” if they do it also.
  • Raising children to be bilingual in Spanish is also a cultural experience. It opens doors to know other countries, family environments, customs, foods and music, making you and your children more flexible and understanding of others.

Tips

  • Try to speak only in Spanish to them. By the age of 3 I could see my son having to think more in search or words to communicate in Spanish (we live in a predominantly English speaking community.) At that point I decided to speak ONLY in Spanish to him. I also try to make him communicate ONLY in Spanish with me.
  • Read, read, read to them in Spanish. Have many books in Spanish ONLY so your children familiarize themselves with the letter combinations that produce the sounds. If you are concerned about the depth of your children’s lexicon just read more to them, and try to use different words when communicating with them. Read in Spanish at least once a day and encourage dialogue and comments to enrich the experience.
  • Follow the rule of “we only speak in Spanish to mommy” or any other family member who has the minority language. We follow this rule to the t. With mommy my son speaks ONLY in Spanish, with daddy he can speak in English or some basic Spanish as my husband has learnt some.Children are very clever, my son knows fully well daddy is not a native Spanish speaker therefore he doesn’t waste any time and speaks mostly in English to him.
  • When possible do some Latin travel (Spanish speaking countries.) If you can, stay for extended periods of time. We do so forcing our family to speak in Spanish and to educate their ear. Immersion is the best tool.
  • Introduce Spanish games, DVDs, and puzzles. These aids make learning and using Spanish fun.
  • Get together with other Spanish speaking families. Maintain close contact with mothers who have Spanish speaking children Reunite and let them practice. Make it a point only to communicate in Spanish.
  • Combine music in Spanish with movement. I teach my son how to dance while we sing in Spanish, this makes learning to speak Spanish a memorable experience. I use Spanish songs constantly to teach Spanish to children.
  • If you hire an au pair or baby sitter, make sure she speaks in Spanish to your children. Au-pairs work wonders as you can choose where they come from, therefore you can also benefit from the culture not only the language.
  • No matter how, make speaking in Spanish part of their daily routine. That’s right, everyday practice makes perfect! It is like practicing an instrument, you have to do it to get better at it.
  • Compromise and educate yourself about what it takes. Raising your children to be bilingual in Spanish is certainly a commendable goal, but be ware it takes effort, time and a strong compromise from both parents to follow through.

There are many things you can do to raise your children bilingual in Spanish but remember the main keys: Exposure and practice. If you find the process difficult don’t give up, it is normal. You will see that as time passes, it gets easier to do it because you and your children become more accustomed to the process.

Bilingual in Spanish

What You Can Expect the Process to Be

I won’t lie to you, raising a bilingual in Spanish child requires compromise, effort and patience from parents. Read on to learn how I have managed to make it enjoyable for my husband, our child, and myself.
The key to success?… To make your child think it is fun and a normal way of living. Very simple, make it enjoyable for both of you.

Raising a child to be fluent in Spanish in the U.S. today is definitely easier than it was a decade before. These days there are many tools and opportunities for our children to be exposed to the Spanish language.

The Process Can Be:

  • Challenging almost every day, even more if you live in an English-speaking environment.
  • Demanding in terms of costs if you don’t know where and how to start.
  • More compromising than raising a monolingual child as many activities, including vacations, may be geared towards their learning experience.
  • Immensely rewarding when you see the fruits of your labor.

If you ask me, the most important factor for raising a child to be bilingual in Spanish is the quantity of Spanish he is exposed to.

As a mother of a bilingual Spanish English child, I saw the difference in his Spanish language development when he started attending pre-k, a place where everybody spoke in English. English became more prevalent, and I noticed his progress in Spanish started to slow down.

bilingual-in-spanish

Growing Up Bilingual in Spanish

The slowing down of the learning process took a while to manifest, about 3 months. I spotted it when I saw he was stopping to think about the next word he had to use to communicate with me, the only one who speaks Spanish to him. When he could not find the right word in Spanish he simply used the English word for it. It was a wake up call.

I started researching to find ways to keep my son learning Spanish at the best pace I could provide. I wasted money and time finding the right resources to raise a truly bilingual in Spanish child, but you don’t have to.

I looked into other resources even though we have always maintained a well stocked collection of books in Spanish, and some DVDs.

TV in Spanish was another avenue, but I particularly don’t like to sit my child in front of the tube. Knowing the environment we live in is predominantly English I realized he needed to be more exposed to Spanish.

It took a bit of effort to search through the many materials available to help you raise your children bilingual in Spanish. The top choices for me were and still are Spanish books, Spanish DVDs and Spanish games.

Spanish books are a wonderful way to help you raise your children bilingual in Spanish while helping you preserve your Hispanic culture. Reading provides an excellent opportunity to make children excited about learning to speak in Spanish because humans associate experiences with words, books, poems, etc.

DVDs in Spanish are a support system that helps the child reinforce language knowledge and increase his vocabulary. I found DVDs to be very good for teaching the child about differences and similarities amongst many Latin American traditions from people that come from different Hispanic countries.

By far my favorite tool for learning to speak Spanish is using Spanish games. These include Spanish puzzles, Scrabble in Spanish, board games in Spanish, matching words games, etc. There are many available on the market so evaluate them carefully as most of them may require your participation or guidance.

As bilingual toys go, I don’t see much value in many of them because they have very limited vocabulary; most of them don’t require more than pressing a button to make them talk. I think Spanish games, books and watching Spanish DVDs with your children are by far better tools.

Raising a bilingual Spanish/English child is like a wild ride, many moments are fun and exciting and some are hard and bumpy. It is all in how you take the ride and how prepared you are to make the most of it.

If you want to know more about teaching your kids Spanish see my Teach Kids Spanish page.

Bilingual Education Reading

Yes, there is a lot of reading material out there. Start by picking up some books that can deepen you understanding of how to raise your bilingual child, what is bilingualism, how the mind of a bilingual child works, etc,.. Here is a selection that I particularly think can be helpful. If you can recommend a tile, please do so. Sharing is caring! Do it through the contact me page.

Bilingual Education Articles

I had many questions when I embarked in this journey with my son. The best tip I can give you? Educate yourself and start by reading about bilingualism. Here I post bilingual education articles to help you understand the process and to make it smooth.

I bought several books, read them and talked to my dear friend in Colombia who is an equinotherapyst and phonoaudiologyst (the person who knows about the development of human language and its disturbances,) and decided I would provide a bilingualism corner where parents like me could read about our experiences, research on bilingualism (in easy terms) or simply educate ourselves about the basics of bilingualism.

bilingual-education-articles

After living the process, I think the best option is to familiarize yourself with the advantages of bilingual education, how is the process of raising bilingual in Spanish children, and the importance of Spanish language when trying to preserve Hispanic culture.

Bilingual Education Books – Recommended Reading

This is only the start of the journey. There is a lot to learn and understand. Start by reading about the subject as much as you can. Here is a good selection of bilingual eduation books. If you know of a specific book that is a valuable resource, please share it with us!

Bilingual Learning/Education Articles

Language Immersion Myths. Read about the top 5 myths when using language immersion with your child and what the reality is.

Raising a Bilingual In Spanish Child. My Own Experience and What You Can Expect the process to be.

Tips for Raising Bilingual in Spanish Children. I wished other parents told me what I now know about this process.

When Children Learn Spanish They Gain… What happens in their brains while learning another language? Read to find out!

Advantages of Bilingual Education Whoever told you you are going to confuse your child and delay his language learning process? Read to find out the truth.

Spanish for Kids. One of the best ways to boost their brains and keep Hispanic culture alive!

Learning to Speak Spanish Top 3 activities to use to be proficient in Spanish: Spanish learning software, immersion and activities that make you speak.

Picture by Marcela Hede

Easing the Bilingual Learning Process

Articles & Resources to Keep You On Track

Here I am posting resources I use with my son or that were recommended by readers like you.  Through trial and error I found myself gravitating to the same places and aides.  Spanish learning songs for children, bilingual education articles, Spanish toys and games, and Latin travel became my bread and butter in the bilingual process. Here I contribute my 2 cents and I hope you feel inspired to do the same!

When I started to teach my son Spanish I thought it was going to be a piece of cake. At the beginning everything went smooth until…he started nursery school.

Well… at that point his world was mostly in English.
his teacher, his classmates, the majority of his friends, daddy’s family and daddy spoke English.  Ian started talking in English more than Spanish.

Red flags went up in my head. I looked for any reading material, game, toy, and activity to help my son be fully bilingual. I also concluded that to preserve culture the best vehicle is language.

Bilingual Resources I Tried

Start With Spanish Learning Software!
My Reviews of Tell Me More & Rocket Spanish

Wanting to complement your Spanish learning adventure by learning Spanish ahead or after coming back? Check out my top 2 recommendations for Spanish learning software. I tested them myself and remember, I am a native Spanish speaker from Colombia, which has one of the best Spanish you can find in South America!

spanish-learning-software-tell-me-more

Tell Me More Spanish VIDEO
Review

rocketspanishRocket Spanish & Tell Me More
Software Reviews

 

3 Facts on How Children Learn a Second Language

Reading “Second Language Acquisition in Childhood” by Barry McLaughlin answered many  questions I had about the second language learning process in Pre-K children. Here are 3 important conclusions the book showed:

  • Language learning is not a uniform process. Children vary greatly when learning either a first or second language, as well as how fast they learn it. So learn to recognize your child’s speed and help in the process. Be patient and don’t correct him constantly, which may cause him to stop trying.
  • Our children show different learning styles. Some take language word by word literally, and others do it more globally using whole clues or phrases to express themselves. Pay attention to your child’s style, re-phrase things for him without saying “you are wrong.”
  • Cultural environments play an important role in language development. Depending on the environment, some parents expect more of their children and also give more input to their children in terms of language.  Strive to provide a rich environment for your child to learn more easily. Take him to Hispanic art shows, musical events and festivals that enrich his environment and give him a chance to use Spanish.