Talk:Reading and Writing

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Bilingual Reading and writing

Most of this article seems to be about the advantages of reading and writing, and little about bilingual reading and writing. What I was hoping to find was pointers to research or even tips and experiences on how to handle teaching bilingual reading and writing.

I've read many books on raising bilingual children, so I know about the importance of being consistent in the language you use to your child, but I've come across little on helping the child with learning two writing systems simultaneously.


Dear Pemberton,

I found your question interesting and am glad to see you're working on this with your child. Dutch and Portuguese are similar with respect to cognate alphabet to English, yet with differnet pronunciations for each letter. I tend to do a little phonics and some whole language and with the phonics, I don't place a huge emphasis on how the actual letter is pronunced. I do feel teaching children to sing the alphabet is helpful, but taking it much further than that isn't necessary early on. Instead, children should learn the sound for the letters. I found it helpful to teach the sounds while my daughter was focusing on sounds in preschool. So, for example, if they focused on the letter "r," with words like, "road" "rat", etc., I would work on words like "rato" and "roda" that use the [h] sound for the 'r.'

Many would argue, because somehow it just seems intuitive, that it's better to get grounded in one of the languages first before teaching reading and writing in the next, but I could not disagree more. They are learning not only the sounds in English, once they start school, but the whole concept that letters make different sounds. The notion that the same letter makes more than one sound---especially with vowels in English-- isn't much different from the notion that different languages have different sounds from English for letters that look identical. Too many educators and parents worry about confusing the child-- they are limiting the scope of the brain and limiting their child.

I added a few practical techniques to the Reading and Writing page that you might find interesting

I think some hints of techniques used with actually children, you'll find in the Journal from the Trenches. The following sections discuss reading lesson plans/implementation/frustration/celebration with my daughter Sydney:

Once you're in the right section, search (using "control f," not using the search on the left of this page, "reading" to see what types of methods I've used- which worked, which really didn't seem to. Search "read" (again, using Control f) for examples of how reading worked its way into our lives.

You might also find the following links helpful:

Has this helped? Feel free to let me know what else I haven't covered. I'd also be quite interested in knowing your opinions on what I've said in response to your query. I would also love to know what you've tried so far with your own children. CGJ 08:40, 12 September 2006 (MST)