I’ve recently finished reading Maximize your Child’s Bilingual Ability by Adam Beck. One of the main ideas behind his thinking is the importance of regular daily exposure to the minority language. If your aim is to raise children who are not just bilingual but also biliterate, then this also means daily reading and writing practice. And if minority language or bilingual schooling is not available – this means establishing an effective homework routine.
This advice particularly stood out to me S is now at school almost full-time in the ML (English). We have had permission this year to collect him early once a week for a 1-2-1 Spanish class focused on literacy, and we are hoping the school will allow us to continue this arrangement. However. is education is, and will always be, overwhelmingly in English.
Since starting school over six months ago S has started to use more English at home especially when recounting his school day. He will mix languages, mainly starting in Spanish but adding in words or phrases in English. However he’s still strong in the minority language and thankfully starting school hasn’t made him want to stop speaking Spanish at home.
Aware of all ML exposure he’s getting at school, I’ve been thinking about increasing the amount time we spend on Spanish reading and writing and not just relying on his weekly lesson.
S is now in his final term of his first year at school and we’ve settled into a good routine for his school reading homework. This is how our daily after school routine looks (at least this is what we aim for) :
- 4.20pm – PLAY – Free play, inside or outside
- 5pm – VIDEO – The children watch videos in Spanish while I cook dinner.
- 5.30pm – DINNER – We chat about the school day and sometimes I read to them in Spanish while they’re eating.
- 6pm – BATH.
- 6.30pm – HOMEWORK
- 7pm – PLAY – Free play with Daddy.
- 7.40pm – BEDTIME – Bedtime stories and to sleep
As S is in Reception is only school homework is reading. He gets two books per weeks which take about 15 minutes over two to four days to complete. We’ve recently incorporated daily Spanish reading books (ie he reads to us) into our homework session. Now S is able to read short sentences in Spanish he is also reading a short mini book or a couple of pages of a longer book as part of this routine.
My aim now is to slowly add in some Spanish workbooks and other literacy activities on top of the reading book, still keeping within 30 minutes for the whole homework session (both English and Spanish).
My next post will discuss some of the resources I am planning on using for this homework session. I’d love to hear any suggestions? What are you using for this age group?