Drop Everything And Read!

When it comes to reading to your little one in their target language, it could be simple if you speak the language. But, if you’re like me, reading to your child in Arabic may be a bit more challenging (if not impossible). I have bought tons of books in his target languages for my son’s tutor to read to him, but the books don’t get much use otherwise. That’s why I was so excited to find Language Lizard and their hundreds of books in English and other languages.

My son loves books and I’ve found the best way to help him practice his Arabic comprehension is to read books to him. Recently, I did a test to see how much Arabic he really understood.

Usher in The Giant Turnip!

The Giant Turnip

I had my son’s babysitter read the book to him solely in Arabic. He was glued to the book and even a few times asked her to re-read certain pages.

When she finished the book, I asked him in English to retell me the story to see how much he actually understood from what his babysitter had read.

To my surprise, he nailed it! He recited the details in the book that he would not have been able to get from just analyzing the pictures.

He even repeated a few phrases in Arabic. For me, this was very reassuring.

During the day, my son is exposed to 10+ hours of Chinese at his immersion school, so his Arabic exposure is limited to a few hours each evening when his babysitter has him after school.

In just under 15 months, his understanding of Arabic has soared and he actually enjoys it more than Chinese!

If you haven’t bought a few books in your child’s target language, then now’s the time! If you’re concerned the books won’t get much use, then buy a bilingual version in English and another language. That’s why I love Language Lizard’s books. Not only do they have a wide selection to choose from, but all of their books are bilingual.

 

What if I don’t speak the target language?

Remember, you don’t have to speak the language to teach the language. I’m living proof of that! When my son was a toddler, I hired a Chinese-speaking babysitter. It was the easiest job because I had her sit with him for an hour, three times a week and read to him in Chinese. Now, I have his babysitter spend at least an hour every evening reading to him in Arabic.

If this is not an option, consider buying Language Lizard’s award-winning PENpal Audio Recorder Pen. You can download pre-recorded sound files for free to turn many of their bilingual picture books into “talking books.” That’s right! Your child can hear the book in another language, by just scrolling the pen over the words.

The PENpal can also record up to 250 hours of audio. This would be great to have your child’s language teacher record short phrases for you to practice with your child in between lessons.

Reading in any language is a great way to increase your child’s language fluency. What are your favorite websites to get high-quality bilingual books? I love Language Lizard and ChinaSprout 🙂

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