Monday, May 31, 2010

Raising a bilingual child

Spreading the word about the benfits of bilingualism is a true passion of mine , even though I grew up speaking only English. My paternal grandparents were from Parma, Italy but it wasn't until I was a student at Boston University that I learned my first phrases in Italian. That was over 20 years ago, and not a day goes by that I don't use my second language-Italian. I think my grandparents would have been proud of me. Unfortunately, when they were raising their children in Boston (including my dad) they were ashamed of their broken English and perhaps believed that using two languages with their children was confusing. However, this is simply not the case. Years of research have proven that knowing more than one language provides myriad cognitive benefits- not to mention it is lots of fun!
Raising a child who is conversant in another language can be accomplished through the use of oral language. However, raising a child who is literate in two languages can be more challlenging. One of the challenges is identifying authentic, engaging literature. Natasha's awesome book- Kolobok- is a perfect example of literature that promotes multingualism on a variety of levels.
I am so thrilled to be a part of Natasha Bochkov's dynamic team of educators. For over twenty years I have taught English as a second language ( ESL) to adults, children, and adolescents in the United States. I have also taught English as a foreign language in Luxembourg and Greece. I am very happy to share my thoughts on second language acquistion and culturally responsive teaching with readers across the globe.