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When to start a foreign language


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As you probably just saw I posted a question about Latin I've been thinking about a foreign language.

 

What age would you recommend starting something like Spanish? What programs have you tried for your kids that worked really well? And what age did you start them?

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Your children are 4 and 2? I would hold off on an actual program and just have them watch TV/movies in Spanish. Get Audio books in Spanish, with a book they can read the words along to and look at pictures. Get a Spanish picture book, like my first 100 Spanish words.... It will be tough at first, but if you only allow the to screen time in Spanish, they can learn quite a bit.

 

 

If you know Spanish, you could also read to them, teach them their colors, body parts, and numbers in Spanish. If not, Youtube may be of some help.

 

HTH

 

Danielle

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At your children's ages you still have a choice about what you want to accomplish - if you want your children to be bilingual then you hire someone who will only speak in Spanish to them and expect them to reply in Spanish too - even if they were only in contact with such a person 2 or 3 mornings a week they would pick the language up easily. They will learn a lot though not as much watching children's TV or DVDs in Spanish. They would probably also learn quite a bit though again not as much by letting them listen to story books read in Spanish while you let them look at the pictures in a real book.

 

Here we are expected to teach a second language from grade 1 (age 6) but then it is taught differently and more formally as a second language with grammar and vocabulary.

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We started teaching Spanish at 4.5, Ariel was motivated because the neighbor kids spoke Spanish and wanted to talk to them. We did La Clase Divertida, which she enjoyed, but we didn't use the workbook, just the DVD lessons and projects. The most effective method I've found, aside from communicating with a native speaker on a regular basis, which I haven't been able to afford, is to have her watch movies and listen to music in Spanish. Whistlefritz videos are a good introduction, as are the Sesame Street DVDs, I remember Fiesta was one of them. From there you can use the Salsa videos, which tell familar stories entirely in Spanish, Plaza Sesamo (Sesame Street in Mexico, similar characters but not the same) and watching familiar movies using the Spanish language option instead of English, and trying to find someone to converse with them. You can also read children's stories in Spanish and English - we have Green Eggs and Ham/Huevos Verdes con Jamon to start with, a bilingual version of The Princess and the Pea, Goodnight Moon and Courderoy.

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As you probably just saw I posted a question about Latin I've been thinking about a foreign language.

 

What age would you recommend starting something like Spanish? What programs have you tried for your kids that worked really well? And what age did you start them?

 

I'd start Spanish now, but I would keep it informal. I started formal/semi-formal instruction around grades K-2.

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Your children are 4 and 2? I would hold off on an actual program and just have them watch TV/movies in Spanish. Get Audio books in Spanish, with a book they can read the words along to and look at pictures. Get a Spanish picture book, like my first 100 Spanish words.... It will be tough at first, but if you only allow the to screen time in Spanish, they can learn quite a bit.

 

 

If you know Spanish, you could also read to them, teach them their colors, body parts, and numbers in Spanish. If not, Youtube may be of some help.

 

HTH

 

Danielle

Yes, begin this way - and after that being EARLY, about 1st-2nd grade, a FORMAL, grammar-based program in addition to these things (not instead of them). Start exposure as early as possible, and formal stuff in lower elementary. Typical mistakes are delaying exposure, delaying formal stuff, substituing exposure with formal stuff, as well as doing formal stuff too early and then burning out when too young kids cannot follow it at some point anymore.

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