Usually when your child's school calls you it's not something to celebrate. Either you've got to come pick up someone who isn't feeling well or who is misbehaving in a major way, or you've forgotten to pack a lunch or something else that's just not great news. But when I answered the phone, worried about what I was going to hear, I got a nice surprise.
Levi was accepted into the bilingual program!
|Levi poses with his artwork and a favorite toy, Aug 2015.|
Well, ever since I learned about dual immersion programs as part of my TESOL studies, I've wanted my kids in one of these programs. The benefits are huge. Improved language skills in both languages, and increased opportunities to befriend kids from different backgrounds were two big draws for us. So, of course we accepted. Levi had only been in his other Kindergarten class for a week and a half, and though I worried for a moment about him going through another transition so quickly, I realized that by the time Thanksgiving rolled around it would all be water under the bridge. Jacob never worried about it for a moment.
Levi has been loving it.
It has been such a treat to hear him singing songs in Spanish, and so good for me to have him bringing home Spanish work. I speak some Spanish, but I'm self-conscious about my limited vocabulary and conjugation skills. Having a new practice partner at home has been great.
I'm not going to lie though, we mostly speak English to each other. In the day-to-day routine, especially now that we're into the second semester of school, I forget to practice my Spanish on him. I forget to ask him if he learned any new words or phrases today.
Luckily, we have a new Spanish book. It's called ¡Hola! Let's Learn Spanish by Judy Martialay. It is intended for kids ages 6-10 and their parents, whether or not they speak Spanish. Personally, I'm glad I speak Spanish already. Those who don't can go onto the website associated with the book, and listen to pronunciation. But I'd just as soon keep us off the computer during reading time. The author sent me a copy of the book, in exchange for my review.
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Here are my thoughts about the book:
I like that it reminds me to speak Spanish with Levi. I like that it has so many fun activities in it, and not just a story. We've done the treasure hunt, made some masks, and we're definitely planning on putting on the skit and making a piñata.
I think the book is correctly targeted for ages 6-10. Benjamin, who is eight, was also listening to the story and getting involved.
I'm not super impressed with the illustrations and the design of the book. The author is a retired Spanish and French teacher, and she illustrated the book herself. Levi doesn't mind that it's not going to be winning awards for illustration. That doesn't bother him a bit. What he cares about is the story, which is fun, the activities, which are enjoyable, and the time he gets to spend with me, which is priceless to both of us.
I'm glad we have ¡Hola! Let's Learn Spanish. I think we'll continue to use it and learn from it, and it's a nice start to our collection of bilingual books. We've had My Food Mi Comida by Rebecca Emberley for ages, but I think that's the only other bilingual book we own.
What are your favorite bilingual books? I'd love to hear about them whether they incorporate Spanish or not. If you know another language and/or are teaching your kids, tell me about your experience! Do you have questions about bilingual kindergarten? Feel free to ask.