Bilingual is Better

This summer has included a multitude of events with my busy toddler including the way she has made sense of the exposure to several languages. I have watched her transform what once sounded like babble to actual words and to no one’s surprise she includes Spanish, English, and French in her speech (though mostly Spanish). What amazes me the most is how she is incorporating English into her linguistic repertoire. I have witnessed (as many SB readers probably have) how much peers influence a child’s choice of language-use. Just today Sabrina said to a friend on our way out of the pool “let’s go!” I, of course, restated the same sentence in Spanish, “vámonos!” When she translated the utterance I felt reassured that she is going to become bilingual, at the very least.

Now that her vocabulary is expanding and she is trying to tie words together, I am faced with the challenge of teaching her how to string a sentence together. For example, the other day she said (while pointing to her lips with her finger), “aqui agua sho-cay [shortcake] papa.” She was asking her papa to please give her the strawberry shortcake water bottle that was lying next to him!

Part of my objective in writing this post is to ask you, the readers, for some tips about helping toddlers string words together to form complete sentences. I bought a book with 1,000 words in Spanish embedded in various contexts as a prompt to promote the use of complete sentences. I also plan on doing the Sticky Paper Collage for Spanish Conversation to encourage the use of complete sentences. I know there is an innate component to language learning, but I also believe in teaching the process like you would any other life activity (e.g., potty training). The main point for me as a mother and educator is to make the process fun, hence my solicitation of strategies from you the readers who may have more experience than me in raising a toddler.

In which ways have you encouraged your child(ren) to string words together to form a complete sentence? 

{Image via dickdotcom}

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