Bilingual is Better

“Hola. My husband and I are both first generation US-born Cuban-Americans. We moved away from all of our spanish speaking family but would like to raise a bilingual child. I’ve been researching how to accomplish this and I’m extremely overwhelmed with the amount of information I’m finding and have no idea where to start. There are so many products out there that claim to help teach a child English and Spanish that I don’t know which one to go with (or what combination to use). Any tips? Any starter kits that I should look in to? LOL!

Many thanks!

Roxanne”

Dear Roxanne,

I agree. There are so many resources available – and also many products that make exaggerated claims about how much language a child will learn while using a certain product, method or website. When I am looking for materials for our students, or great links to recommend to other teachers, I tend to consult people I trust – experts in the field, professional journals, master teachers and the like. The best way to access this information is through professional organizations: ACTFL – the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages and NNELL – the National Network for Early Language Learning, and ListServs: FLTeach and Ñandutí. I am also always on the lookout for great resources and I post a new link (almost) every day on my Facebook page and in my Delicious bookmarks.

Some good online (and free!) resources for Spanish include:

There are also many commercial programs available – some are better than others. Of interest are:

Bottom line – you and your husband are really the best resources for your children. If you can commit to speaking Spanish with them, they will learn the language. Play word games with your children in Spanish, teach them vocabulary and read stories to them. You can supplement your input with some fun websites that your children will enjoy, along with picturebooks, videos, games and other materials in Spanish. Good luck!

Lori Langer de Ramirez.- -Bilingual educator who began her career as a teacher of Spanish, French and ESL. She holds a Master’s Degree in Applied Linguistics and a Doctorate in Curriculum and Teaching from Teachers College, Columbia University. She is currently the Chairperson of the ESL and World Language Department for Herricks Public Schools, New York. Lori is the author of Take Action: Lesson Plans for the Multicultural Classroom and Voices of Diversity: Stories, Activities and Resources for the Multicultural Classroom, as well as several Spanish-language books and texts. Her interactive website (miscositas.com) offers teachers over 40 virtual picture books and other curricular materials for teaching Chinese, English, French, Indonesian, Italian, Spanish and Thai. Her areas of research and curriculum development are multicultural and diversity education, folktales in the language classroom and technology in language teaching. You can read her answers here and submit your own question for any of our experts here.

Recent Posts