What are bilingual books?

The world is getting smaller, the number of bilingual families is growing and with this, there is a need and a desire to teach both languages to children.  There are a few strategies to raise bilingual children, one of the most popular one is OPOL (One Parent One Language) in which each parent (or carer) speaks to the child exclusively in one language.  For example, a bilingual family where dad speaks to the child only in English and mum speaks only in Spanish.

Bilingual books can be a good resource for parents, teachers or carers to teach a target language.  But, what are bilingual books? As you can imagine, bilingual books are books that have the same story in two different languages.  The text is generally split in each language as the objective for children is to read without mixing languages.  This way, for example, the carer that always talks to the child in English, will read the story in English, and the carer that talks in Spanish, will read the story in Spanish.  Nowadays, there is more demand for bilingual books in different languages, and while I focus on bilingual books for children in English and Spanish, there are bilingual books in many different combinations.  In fact, my local library has books in English-Greek, English-Mandarin, English-Italian and many more.  This is because those are the books that the international communities in my city are looking for.

Now that I told you about bilingual books, I also need to tell you what bilingual books are NOT.  Bilingual books are NOT books to learn languages or grammar, Bilingual books are NOT books that mix language and they are NOT books that are translated too literally.

 

How do I read a bilingual children’s book?

It’s very important to be aware that if you are the parent or carer that always speaks in English, your role will be to always read the story in English.  On the other hand, if you are the carer that always speaks Spanish, then you will read in Spanish.  It’s also useful to point at the illustrations, objects and characters.  Ask your child questions about what will happen next.  Bilingual books are not a magic pill that will make your child speak another language overnight, however, they are a powerful tool, that combined with daily conversation, music and lots of patience, will help you raise bilingual children.

What do you think?  I hope I piqued your interest to learn more about bilingual books and that you can find books that can entertain your kids while you give them the gift of speaking another language.

Happy Reading!

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La magia de los libros bilingües – Entrevista con Reto Bilingüe

Hace unas tres semanas, estuve en entrevista en el podcast de Reto Bilingüe.  No había tenido la oportunidad de subir el link aquí al blog y pues aquí está.  🙂

Me encantó esta experiencia puesto que pudimos platicar sobre la magia de los libros bilingües.  ¿Y cuál es esta magia? Da clic aquí y entérate.

Aquí platicando con Minerva Ortega, creadora del podcast Reto Bilingüe

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Tips to help your child learn the letters of the alphabet

Para leer la versión en español haz click aquí.

Learning the letters of the alphabet and identifying how they sound, are the first steps to start reading.  If you want to help your kids to learn new letters, here are 7 tips so they can learn them.  It is very important to remember that toddlers can’t be still for long and that they need to have genuine interest in the activity.  The idea is that they learn while playing.

  1. The alphabet song.

You can use the usual melody or a new version, sing it together many times.  Repetition will help your child remember the letters.

  1. Spell their name.

Your child will love learning how to spell their own name.  You can start little by little by showing the first letter of their name in different books or sounds.  You can write down their name when you draw together in different colours while repeating the letter aloud.  Very soon, you will hear them say “J for John!”.  You can do the same with other words like “M for mum (mom in American English J), “D for dad”, or any other word that relates to anything that your child finds interesting, like dinosaurs or animals.

  1. Join the dots.

You can form words by drawing dots so your little one can join them.

  1. Colouring in letters and a picture that starts with that letter.

This is a quiet activity that you can do together.  You can start with a few letters at a time, two or four, depending on how long your child can focus her attention.  I made this animal alphabet book colouring pages which you can download here.  Also, you can find many other alphabets to colour in on the web depending on what your kid is interested in.

  1. I spy.

You can play I spy, especially when you have to wait.  This has worked well for us when we are driving.  Here I give you the Spanish versión which is called “Veo, veo”.  You can see how it works with the following YouTube link.

 

Veo, veo, ¿qué ves?

Una cosita

¿Y qué cosita es?

Empieza con la “N”

I spy

With my Little eye

Something that

begins with the letter “N”

 

  1. Find letters in signs.

When you are in the street, you can point to letters in a big sign.  For example, “F for Fatima”.

7. Reading.

Reading will always be one of the best ways to learn the letters of the alphabet and its sounds, especially when  your kids show interest in letters.  There are many styles of alphabet books either in English or Spanish.  Some haver ryhmes, some have textures, some have sofisticated illustrations.  You can pretty much find an alphabeth book for every taste.

If you are looking for alphabet books just in Spanish, this is a great list to start.

If you are after English only alphabet books, you can have a look here.

Of course, these are in addition to my book “Bilingual Zoo”. 🙂

I hope these tips have inspired you to play with letters and help your toddler to learn them in a fun way.  If you want to share a tip that I did not include here, feel free to include them in the comments below.

Happy Reading!

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What happened with “CH“ and “LL“?

You can read the Spanish version of this post here.

I know you are wondering, what happened with “CH“ and “LL“?

When I was illustrating this book, I was wondering if I should draw a CHeeta and a LLama.  I could not remember if CH and LL were part of the alphabet in Spanish.  I sort of remember repeating in primary school “A, B, C, CH, D“…. but at the end of the day, isn’t CH the combination of C and H, and LL is L twice?

It turns out that the Royal Academy of Spanish Language excluded CH and LL from the alphabet in 1994.  The explanation is in this link, it is in Spanish though.  You can imagine that I learned the alphabet a lot earlier than that! 🙂

 

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¿Por qué un libro del abecedario?

If you want to read this blog post in English, click here.

Cuando mi hija cumplió 2 años, le regalaron un libro del abecedario súper bonito.  El libro es pequeño para manos pequeñas, tiene las letras troqueladas y colores muy vivos.  Yo siempre había  estado traduciendo mientras leía libros en inglés, pero no es lo mismo traducir un cuento ayudado de las imágenes que traducir una palabra sola.  Era muy difícil decir que la “G” es de garden en inglés, pero en español se dice jardín que se escribe con “J”.

alphabet-book

Busqué libros con el alfabeto en inglés y en español, pero ninguno me llamó la atención como para comprarlo.  Tenía que buscar mejor.  Así que decidí mientras tanto, hacer unas páginas para colorear con el alfabeto y relacionando animales en inglés y en español.  Y después se me ocurrió, “¿por qué no hacer un libro con estos animalitos?  Tal vez, muchas familias bilingües tendrán este mismo problema”.

alphabet-book-g

Fue así cuando convertí mis páginas de colorear en un libro.  Justo antes de enviar el archivo para imprimir, y con la ayuda de mis buenas amigas, me di cuenta de que al libro le faltaba “algo”.  Me di cuenta de que si este libro le iba a gustar a los niños, tenía que ser más divertido y no tener el animal ahí sin hacer nada.  ¡Qué chiste! Entonces, mejor decidí escribir el tercer libro de Millie y dejar el libro del alfabeto por la paz.

Pero un día, escucho a mi hija decir “P for daddy”, en lugar de “P de papá”, “P for dog” en lugar de “P de perro” y casi me da el patatús.  Si bien, yo sé que esto es ayudado porque viviendo en Australia, su idioma más fuerte es el inglés, eso fue suficiente para darme otra vez el gusanito de terminar este abecedario para niños bilingües.  Así que ¡a volver a empezar con todas las ilustraciones! Todos los días después de terminar el trabajo, de cenar y poner a nuestra hija a dormir, le dedicaba una hora a arreglar los dibujos.  Gracias a Dios, mi esposo y yo somos muy buen equipo. 🙂

zoologicobilinguehardback

Debo decir que ahora estoy contenta con el resultado.  Espero que sea un libro que le guste mucho a tus peques y que disfruten leyéndolo juntos.

¡Hasta pronto!

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Reading aloud: Millie goes to space

I just wanted to share the read aloud of my first book ‘Millie goes to space’.  I hope you and your kids enjoy it!

Erika

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Leyendo en voz alta: Millie va al espacio

Aquí te comparto la lectura en voz alta de mi primer libro ‘Millie va al espacio’.  Lo estoy leyendo en español del libro en su versión bilingüe.

¡Espero que tú y tus peques lo disfruten!

Erika

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Millie va al espacio / Millie goes to space is available on iTunes!

So I finally got around editing the book so it can work out on in iTunes.  It is a little bit more difficult than doing it on Amazon but I think I will get used to it for the next book!

I decided to do this because a lot of the people I know, especially in Australia do not have an Amazon account!

You can download the book here.  And please, if you and your child enjoyed it, please leave me a review so other parents can find it.  Thank you!!

Erika

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Printable bilingual colouring alphabet

Hey!

This month I have been posting on Millie’s Facebook page something a little different.  I have made a bilingual alphabet colouring pages printable for you.

A few months ago we were given this beautiful alphabet book (in English) as a present for my little girl.  She absolutely loves it, however, it was very hard for me to translate to Spanish on the spot because I didn’t know whether to follow the image or the letter.  So I got this idea to make my own little animal alphabet, but I didn’t really pay attention to it as I was also working on finishing up Millie makes a new friend.  For some reason, this idea kept coming into my head so I decided that  I had to do something about it.

C is for crocodile C de cocodrilo-03For weeks I kept thinking of the animals with different letters of the alphabet that would be the same in English and Spanish and then finally I came up with a list!  Here is where I gave myself a little challenge to post one letter everyday during February.  Now that the month is over I just wanted to keep this somewhere as a printable version so you can come back to it any time you need it.

I really hope you and your kid(s) enjoy it as much as I enjoyed making this.  Download the printable Bilingual animal alphabet (Spanish-English) and get colouring!

Happy colouring!

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