This Baby Loves To Read - Language LearningSaturday, 21 July 2012
Ameria was one when her dad bought her the 'Your Baby Can Read' system. Admittedly, I was skeptical, I felt that she would learn to read just as easily and as quickly had I made my own set of flash-cards and read to her regularly.
One year on and while I've stopped and started with the programme a couple of times, Ameria (now two) can read basic words, like "cat" and "dog". She also recognises a wide range of things that I wouldn't have otherwise thought important to take time to teach her, like the meaning of the word 'pet' or what a squirrel and chimpanzee are.
In the thick of her learning, about 3 or 4 months ago when she was watching the DVD's and using the flash cards more often, she recognised and would read the words "giraffe" and "gorilla". Her language is quite well-developed now, I give credit to the DVD's - as well as Nick Jr and Disney Jr, which she loves to watch!
We recently moved house and have been settling into a new routine, so I've started showing her the DVD's again. Now that we no longer live with our extended family (who only speak English), I'm also able to speak and teach her more te reo Maori. I'd love for her to be bilingual. I came across this resource on the Te Puni Kokiri website, 'Kei Roto i te Whare' (PDF) which has a list of phrases that my husband printed off for me yesterday. I've also been meaning to buy her a copy of the book, "One Day a Taniwha" which can be purchased at the Aunty Bea Online Store. (I've sourced te reo books on Trade Me and Huia. Kokonga Tamariki have made a Maori Children's DVD that we bought too).
The Your Baby Can Read system came with a parent DVD that gave advice on how to teach your children more than one language. Dr Robert Titzer indicated that it's important to speak complete and whole sentences in one language, so that children begin thinking and speaking in whole and complete sentences in each language. Ameria sometimes counts, "one, rua, WHA!" - she always leaves our toru). I try to persist with the 'whole-and-complete' rule, but it's hard because I grew up speaking and hearing English and Maori blended together.
I'm still surprised by the number of people who think that raising a child that is bilingual will struggle developmentally when there are a range of cognitive benefits to bilingualism. As an adolescent/adult learner, I found it much harder to learn another language and after 10 years of secondary and university study, I still would not consider myself a fluent speaker of te reo Maori. I'd like my children to be much better than me.
More information about bilingualism can be found in this article, The Benefits of Being Bilingual.
Are you trying to teach your child/children another language?
Do you think it would be better for them to learn another language when they're older?
Kia pai o koutou wiki mutunga!
Have a good weekend! :)