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Learning reading in 2 similar languages


bakpak
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Hi everyone,

I know we've covered this before, and the words of wisdom that I've heard (and appreciate!!) are you can easily teach reading in multiple languages if the alphabets are really different. I'm just curious if ANYONE has tried to do 2 at once with a young child 3-4 years old in which the alphabets are similar and potentially confusing, like English and French, English and Spanish, Spanish and English, etc.

 

**If you tried it, how'd it turn out? Did you end up dropping back to only 1 language, do you think it confused matters, or did the kids just adapt really well as you expected? **

 

I'm just too excited about reading and feeling impatient probably :) My language-savy 3yo is going to be reading sentences in English within the next 3-6 months, and I've been waiting to introduce reading Spanish until then, but I also wondered if I'm just being overly cautious. Seems like if she can handle all the craziness of reading in English she could handle the easy structure of Spanish at the same time. :)

 

I'm not trying to overwhelm her, but we read LOTS of Spanish books and it seems a bit silly to me to avoid sounding out words with her in her Spanish books since we do it all the time with her English books.

 

So, to sum up, I'm just curious if anyone tried 2 at once and was successful.

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We did English and German, but not that early, and not fully simultaneously.

DD first learned to read English when she was 5; it took her just a few weeks form knowing the abc's to reading. Once she read in English, I immediately introduced reading in German by explaining which letters/combinations of letters make different sounds than in English. She could immediately read German, with small mistakes when letters made very different sounds; these had to be practiced a bit.

IMO, when a student has made the step from single characters to blending sounds into words, this skill can easily be translated to another language that sues the same alphabet, if the student is fluent orally in that language.

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Thanks! That helps a lot. My daughter can sound out longer words (5-8 letters) in English, but isn't very fluid yet between words, or sight reading words. I just introduced the Spanish names for letters this week and she got them immediately (and has already corrected me :P ), so I think my gut is telling me the right thing, that it wouldn't hard for her to learn reading in both simultaneously. I'm finding I'm probably way more cautious teaching her reading concepts than I really need to be, as she just absorbs, runs off to play, then applies the concept properly the next day. Mostly I try to keep it short and fun, as I don't want it to be a chore at all - she's too young for that!

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Hi everyone,

I know we've covered this before, and the words of wisdom that I've heard (and appreciate!!) are you can easily teach reading in multiple languages if the alphabets are really different. I'm just curious if ANYONE has tried to do 2 at once with a young child 3-4 years old in which the alphabets are similar and potentially confusing, like English and French, English and Spanish, Spanish and English, etc.

 

**If you tried it, how'd it turn out? Did you end up dropping back to only 1 language, do you think it confused matters, or did the kids just adapt really well as you expected? **

 

I'm just too excited about reading and feeling impatient probably :) My language-savy 3yo is going to be reading sentences in English within the next 3-6 months, and I've been waiting to introduce reading Spanish until then, but I also wondered if I'm just being overly cautious. Seems like if she can handle all the craziness of reading in English she could handle the easy structure of Spanish at the same time. :)

 

I'm not trying to overwhelm her, but we read LOTS of Spanish books and it seems a bit silly to me to avoid sounding out words with her in her Spanish books since we do it all the time with her English books.

 

So, to sum up, I'm just curious if anyone tried 2 at once and was successful.

 

started teaching ours to read in English and Spanish at age 3.5. Has worked beautifully...no problems at all...Used Teach Your Child to read in 100 lessons and ordinary parents guide to teaching reading...also have some spanish resources. if you are interested in the details let me know...But Spanish is so phonetic you can use almost anything....Please give it a shot. Good luck.

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We did English and German, but not that early, and not fully simultaneously.

DD first learned to read English when she was 5; it took her just a few weeks form knowing the abc's to reading. Once she read in English, I immediately introduced reading in German by explaining which letters/combinations of letters make different sounds than in English. She could immediately read German, with small mistakes when letters made very different sounds; these had to be practiced a bit.

IMO, when a student has made the step from single characters to blending sounds into words, this skill can easily be translated to another language that sues the same alphabet, if the student is fluent orally in that language.

 

Same here but for English-Dutch. Dd already spoke the second language and I am positive that it made a huge difference.

 

For Ds it took much longer so I think it also depends on the child.

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Hi everyone,

I know we've covered this before, and the words of wisdom that I've heard (and appreciate!!) are you can easily teach reading in multiple languages if the alphabets are really different. I'm just curious if ANYONE has tried to do 2 at once with a young child 3-4 years old in which the alphabets are similar and potentially confusing, like English and French, English and Spanish, Spanish and English, etc.

 

**If you tried it, how'd it turn out? Did you end up dropping back to only 1 language, do you think it confused matters, or did the kids just adapt really well as you expected? **

 

I'm just too excited about reading and feeling impatient probably :) My language-savy 3yo is going to be reading sentences in English within the next 3-6 months, and I've been waiting to introduce reading Spanish until then, but I also wondered if I'm just being overly cautious. Seems like if she can handle all the craziness of reading in English she could handle the easy structure of Spanish at the same time. :)

 

I'm not trying to overwhelm her, but we read LOTS of Spanish books and it seems a bit silly to me to avoid sounding out words with her in her Spanish books since we do it all the time with her English books.

 

So, to sum up, I'm just curious if anyone tried 2 at once and was successful.

 

I think with Spanish, sounding out the words would be fairly straight forward once you know the letter sounds. Other languages, such as French with many endings not heard and multiple letters creating single sounds, it would be more challenging for very young readers to pick up on reading it as a second language. This is especially so because many learning to read English methods are phonetic based on single letter sounds.

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I may have replied to one of these threads before. (Hopefully what I say on this one will be consistent. :D)

 

We started reading in French with my now 5 year old when she was about 4.5, but she was able to read "real" chapter books at that point. I haven't stopped our French reading. We are not, however, native speakers. Her vocabulary is the limiting factor right now. Have you heard the argument against either early reading or phonetic reading in English that suggests a child will be reading something but have no idea what the words are saying? While I have no worry about that happening for us in English, it is a definite reality for us in French. I'm hoping that it's more of a short-term problem. Since she is consistently acquiring new vocabulary, I'm not too concerned.

 

Her sister is 3, and sounds to be reading on approximately the same level as your child. I'm intentionally not teaching reading in French with her right now. I'm waiting for her reading to be at a similarly high and automatic level before I introduce reading in another language. It isn't that I don't think she would be able to sound words out according to the different rules, it's that I'm concerned that introducing a second "code" simultaneously will prevent her from truly internalizing the rules of either. I have absolutely no scientific evidence for that, and I could very easily be wrong.

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Our son grew up in bilingual Spanish-English house from birth and learned to read English first, which I would definitely recommend learning first, although he basically just learned to read English and we didn't do anything. Then at 3 yrs, 1 month, I spent 5 minutes on each of two days explaining the differences between reading English and Spanish, and he started reading Spanish. It was ridiculously easy, but he wanted to do it, which makes things so much easier. I'd read English first though, as it has so many weird patterns, and Spanish (or German or French, etc.) are so regular. The experience at an early age might be very different, given how differently kids learn at 3yo vs 5yo, but lots of bilingual kids learn to read in both languages.

Edited by Brad S
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Guest perdirent

I am trilingual and I mainly speak to my kids in English and Chinese. My 6-year-old son has been learning some French for a year and we added Spanish this year. So we're juggling with 4 languages right now. I think if you start the languages at different times, it shouldn't get confusing. My 3-year-old son simply picks up as we go. Curriculum with catchy songs help. Sometimes we find great youtube videos. I personally know of many who grew up in a multi-lingual family and had no worries about confusion. Good luck!

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