Use your own home language

Bilingual families can pass on the best of both worlds to their children: a home language in addition to the community language. Talking mainly in the parent's strongest language is the best way to build children's own rich language skills. While it is true that family members can help one another by practicing English together, parents can be reassured that their children will have a better chance at academic success when a home language is maintained. Our own language resides deep within us, as language is more than words. When parents interact with children, they are setting up learning, and it does not matter what language that earning is in.

Stories and languages are tied up with personal experience. So to connect with our young children, we need to use words that have a depth of meaning for us. Share something personal about your own childhood, it helps to use a language that taps into your own emotions, and this has more meaning. Don't be afraid to exposechildren to several languages, young brains are designed for language learning.

How does talking relate to reading?

The size of a child's spoken vocabulary impacts on the ease and speed with which they learn to read. Reading is a powerful tool in developing the relationship between child and parent as well as in growing language and literacy. Books often contain vocabulary that is more sophisticated than words used in everyday conversation.

Reading builds vocabulary and concepts
If a child starts school advantaged in vocabulary, conceptual knowledge and oral expression, they are well prepared to move into literacy. Children with a more limited vocabulary struggle to get understand and learn new concepts. Children who are familiar with books and stories before they start school are better prepared to cope with the demands of formal literacy teaching. There is an important transition point about age 7-8, when children move from learning to read to reading to learn. Children who struggle to achieve this may never catch up.