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Kate Garcia

Brand new to bilingual homeschooling

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Hello,

I am brand new to homeschooling. My son just turned 4 years old. He is bilingual, but his English is definitely stronger at this point. My husband is a native Spanish speaker and fluent in English. I am a native English speaker and working on Spanish. My son seems ready to learn to read and I want to teach him to read in English and Spanish at the same time. Any advice on how to go about doing that, especially since I am not fluent in Spanish yet?

 

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I taught reading in Spanish with La Pata Pita and spelling in English with Reading Lessons through Literature. You can absolutely use La Pata Pita with minimal skills. It's actually a philosophy to teach spelling instead of reading so what I did really isn't strange. Our English spelling skills transfer into reading and our Spanish reading skills transfer into spelling.

Stop speaking English. You will never master Spanish if you use English as a crutch.

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I disagree.  You need to continue speaking English to your child, and your husband needs to continue speaking to him entirely in Spanish.  This is a method called OPOL (one parent one language) and you can google that for more information.  Expose him to Spanish as often as possible, ideally in high-interest ways like Spanish speaking playgroups and friends, and perhaps cousins or in-laws.  TV exposure in Spanish is not shown to be effective for language learning, especially at young ages.  So while it might be a good idea to turn on a tv program as Spanish, don't count it as "face time" with a Spanish speaker.    

I do not recommend teaching reading in both languages at the same time.  Start with reading in English, which is the harder language to read in.  He can get through certain basic, transferrable skills- like blending, sounding out, etc- in his stronger language.  He can then learn to read in Spanish very quickly by comparison.  We are currently on our 4th bilingual child learning to read this way.  As long as he continues speaking Spanish, he will learn to read it immediately after he has grasped the basics of English.  When a child has grasped that a symbol is a sound, it is not hard to teach them j says /j/ in English and /h/ in Spanish.  Let him understand the CONCEPT of reading in one language first.  It's like learning one card game makes it infinitely easier to learn a second card game.  You are familiar with the deck, how to shuffle, the order of the cards... you get the metaphor.  

 

Good luck!  Keep working on your Spanish, you will need it.  But you will also learn lots as you teach your child Spanish grammar later on.  

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