- Ask your child or the teacher about the topic/unit they are learning in class and be part of it. For example, if your child is learning about food, it might be a good opportunity to cook a dish from a country where the language is spoken and learn the names of the food items with your child.
- Encourage your child to share what they are learning, with you at home. Let your child read or speak to you in the language and perhaps, let your child teach you.
- Do not focus on the pronunciation or getting it right at first . . . practice makes perfect! Be creative and try to come up with a game to learn vocabulary words or to remember a tricky pronunciation.
- Expose your child to people from varied language and cultural backgrounds.
- Speak positively about the value of learning another language and learning about other cultures.
- Provide videos, music and books in other languages. Your local library or the internet can be a great and free bank of resources.
- Find a pen pal or e-pal: Once your child is a bit older and knows the basics, finding a pen pal is a great way to practice the language and exert some independence. Having a pen pal abroad is a great way to learn about culture in another country and appreciate the differences in lifestyle (e.g. school, food, holidays, hobbies).
- When you feel ready, speak positively about the experience of study abroad programs and search for an experience that will fit comfortably with your student’s lifestyle and learning. There are many programs available in many different parts of the world; a variety of programs offer focused curricula and additional activities that are different than a traditional program. There are also programs where parents and children can all attend classes and activities together.
Remember: As a parent, you are your child’s first and most important teacher. When parents and families are involved in their children’s learning of a new language, the children do better and have better feelings about their language study.
NYSAFLT would love to hear from parents and share with others different strategies you may use at home with your child’s study of a language.
WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP YOUR CHILD WITH LANGUAGE LEARNING?