I feel like such a wimp, but I’ve been crying like a baby the last few days. They’re mostly tears of happiness, but they’re tinged with a bit of sadness too, for time come and gone. Vanessa graduated from kindergarten yesterday and I’m so happy to report that it’s been an incredible first year of school for her — and for me.
For starters, all my worries about my daughter’s English abilities (since we only speak to her in Spanish) melted away pretty quickly as I saw and heard her flourish in her kindergarten class. I’ve always known Vanessa’s vocabulary in Spanish is much more extensive than in English, and yet, she had absolutely no issues communicating not only with her teachers, but with all the little friends she made this year.
As you might remember, Vanessa also had the opportunity to learn how powerful it really is to be bilingual, as there was a little boy in her class who had just moved from Mexico to Denver a few months prior to the start of the school year. Vanessa served as his translator; a connection to his native language and a bridge to his new one, making the transition much smoother for the boy who is now bilingual.
But the most amazing thing that happened this year to Vanessa is that she learned how to read and she’s been loving every single minute of this awesome journey! I’ll be forever grateful to her kindergarten teacher because even though I know it was her job, I’ll always remember her as the person responsible for teaching my daughter how to read in English so well that she was able to come home and transfer those skills into Spanish. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t worry about the whole reading process because I had always heard that it’s better for bilingual children to learn how to read in their dominant language, which in Vanessa’s case is Spanish. But children have a funny way of teaching you to have faith and it truly never ceases to amaze me how incredibly flexible a bilingual mind really is.
Not only is Vanessa reading perfectly well in both English and Spanish, but the week before school ended I got notice from her teacher that she’s actually reading above grade level! I can’t begin to tell you how proud and excited I am for her, considering very little English is ever spoken or read at home. So for all of you out there who are using the mL@H method and are worried your children are not getting exposure to English, my daughter is the perfect example of why you need to stop worrying.