August 08, 2007

The Bilingual Edge

I have wanted to smack my husband up along side his head for many years. (How many times have I wanted to start a post with that sentence? Too many!) Because he promised me that he would speak Spanish to our kids. He promised me that it was important to him. He promised me that he was committed to helping our children learn the language that connects them to their heritage, the part of them that is him.

After having read The Bilingual Edge, I realize that it is just as much my responsibility as my husband's. (I would still like to smack him, though.)

This book is written by two women, both of whom are professors of linguistics and mothers. (They have just about as much "street cred" as is humanly possible!) Not only do they give excellent ideas about incorporating language into every day life, they use their academic background to thoroughly support every claim (and debunk every myth) with research. They address everything from edutainment language programs to starting bilingual playgroups, all of which is based in sound research and also makes sense (two things that ought to go hand in hand, but don't always).

There are some things that I have already changed in terms of incorporating a second language into my children's lives and there are more changes to come. I am rededicated to this task because they will have a greater degree of cognitive flexibility, creativity and a connection to their heritage through language. But Dora the Explorer, Muzzy and Plaza Sesamo will have little impact on my goal of bilingualism. Instead, we will be having a side of Spanish with our pizza every Friday. We will also add one Spanish book to the lineup each night before bed and start using some common phrases in Spanish. Not only that, I have asked Yaya and Papa to start using Spanish exclusively. This will take time, but they have already started. They are an invaluable resource and my children are lucky to have them.

The bottom line is: I don't need my Spanish speaking husband to be the one to teach my children Spanish. I can do it. And I will.


You can find more reviews for The Bilingual Edge, by visiting the Parent Bloggers Network website.

Parent Bloggers Network


Starr said...

How wonderful that you are dedicated to providing your child with the opportunity to learn another language!
You mentioned adding Spanish books to the lineup. The Barahona Center website is amazing for looking for Spanish language books, as is the Reading Tub. You can look up books by level, topic and even vocabulary that you are trying to incorporate. Reading Tub gives parent and child reviews of books.
I have links to these sites on my book's website. Click on "resource directory" and scroll down to "children's books".

Pink Dawn said...

Great find. I want to teach my kids Spanish too.