Monday, September 17, 2012

Tips For Teaching Your Child Spanish

1. Sing a Song
Songs are one of the easiest ways to learn a new language. There are many Spanish songs available which are fun, upbeat, and educational. By singing, your child is encouraged to practice the words in a non-threatening environment. Many Spanish songs "canciones de cuna" also have dances which encourage the child to reach, touch, or jump. These songs use movement to teach your child new words. By adding physical objects such as toys you can easily illustrate the objects or actions that are sung. In this way songs can stimulate many of your child's senses in a fun, relaxed environment which encourages learning.
For toddlers and babies, singing in a higher pitched, softer voice has been shown to peak interest, relax and comfort while introducing spoken language. Don't be shy if you are not a great singer, your soft voice will soothe your child and enable them to focus on your words.
2. The "Abuelita" Factor
If you have a Grandparent that speaks Spanish this is the perfect time to get "Abuelita" involved in your child's learning. Have "Abuelita" speak to your child only in Spanish; she will likely cherish the opportunity to pass on the Spanish language and culture to future generations. Having a loved one or parent speak in only Spanish creates a clear distinction in your child's mind as to what words are being said in English and what words are being said in Spanish.
3. Let's get Comfortable
Speak to your child in Spanish for everyday communication like vamos a comer (let's eat) or abre la puerta (open the door) this increases their comfort level in everyday communication and creates an informal learning environment where learning comes naturally. Using real world situations reaffirms the words they've previously learned.
4. Reading is Fun
If you are comfortable reading to your child in Spanish, read from a storybook each night. At the end of the story ask questions to ensure your child is grasping the concepts. If you are not comfortable with reading aloud, use audio books that can be borrowed from your local library to ensure your child is learning. Get your child involved in their learning by allowing them to choose which book they want to read next.
5. Use Movement
It is no secret that kids like to be active. In helping kids to learn Spanish we can use this to our advantage. For example, associating the act of jumping with the word "brinca" is a quick way to build your child's comfort level with Spanish. Acting out the word is a quick and easy way to get your child involved in Spanish.

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