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Six Tips for Helping Kids Practice Their Second Language at Home

Liliana Cortez, Guest Blogger
April 27, 2020
Welcome to the new norm, home schooling, at least for a while, that is! As many families are fortunate enough to have their kids in an immersion program or dual language program, they must now be wondering how they can help their kids continue practicing their 2nd language at home. With everything going on right now, parents do not need to be putting more on their plate. Sure, no one wants their kids to fall behind, but you also need to keep things manageable and stress-free (or at least low-stress!) at home. There are plenty of ways your child can practice their language skills at home and hey, some of these even require zero parental guidance!
    1. Most streaming services or cable providers have a language setting. The rule around my house is, if you are going to watch TV, it’s going to be in Spanish. If your child is old enough, you can even add subtitles for a language and reading lesson.

2. Let your kids brush up on their language and listening skills!  Audible has great Spanish books they can listen to. You can later ask them to narrate and translate the story for you, over dinner. They are offering FREE kids’ stories while schools are closed (with six languages available)! 3. When your groceries have been sitting out long enough or everything has been disinfected, you can have them help you put everything away as they name the items for you. Boost their sense of pride and ownership by asking them to teach you the words. This is also great because it eliminates one more chore for you, the parent – See? Taking things off your plate!

4. Simultaneously learning more than one language is a very effective way to raise a bilingual child. Some families are fortunate enough to have more than one language spoken in the home. If possible, assign one language to each parent. For example, mom speaks only in Spanish to the kids and dad only English. Remind the child to always respond in the language of the one who is speaking to them. The same rule can apply for nightly readings, taking turns reading to them in the assigned language. The child will get used to constantly listening and responding in the two languages.

5. Duolingo is a great resource for learning a new language. Its interactive, allowing them to read and hear the words and even to form complete sentences. 

6. There are a wealth of YouTube videos with songs and visuals with everything from letters, numbers, to shapes, and movement games. Nobody wants their kids turning into YouTube zombies but hey, a few videos a day never hurt anyone, and in this case, it’s helping with their language skills. 

Stay Home, Stay Healthy, Stay Sane!  Quédate en Casa.

Liliana Cortez is the director of Spanish Schoolhouse-Round Rock. For more information on Spanish Schoolhouse, visit spanishschoolhouse.com.