How reading in foreign languages can introduce your young to more of the world, translated…
Back when my daughter was in the elementary years, I’d started entering into her classroom, and became a story mom, later on, I’d grouped up with a couple of other moms, and became an English story group mom, and toured around the school. It wasn’t for the sake of bettering my English speaking skill, but mostly, I’d wanted to see, what sort of an effect these various English stories can have on different grade levels’ children. Especially, the stories are all very imaginative, flowed along well, especially fitting to Mu’s (Mom, what the author called herself) style of storytelling, exaggerated, dramatic performances, it could surpass the language form, and infect the kids as a group, to laugh aloud. With the fans getting enormous, it’d become this undeniable feedback that the group of story moms wished to have!
But, I’d also had moms complain, that as they were reading the stories from the picture books, the kids would always miss the main points, had ignored the major storylines, and zoomed in on the small unimportant details; there were also moms who’d told me, that they were, very unconfident about reading English books to the children, worried that they may not pronounce the words right, and how the kids are disinterested in the English language, which they’re not at all, familiar with………are the English illustrated books really, a restricted area for the moms? How, should the adults pick out the illustrated books for their own young?
This time, I’d called on the instructor of the southern regions, Mrs. Huei-Jen Lee, she’d collected illustrated books from various nations, and kept trying to incorporate the English illustrated books into her curricula. Through the illustrated books, not only was she able to open up this wider field of vision of worldliness for the students, it’d also, allowed the students to immense themselves in the language which the illustrated books were, written in as well.
Do allow Ms. Lee, to lead the parents, into the vast world these small illustrated books have to offer!
So, reading stories to children is a great way, to teach them about the world, and also, introduce them to a new language that they’re not familiar with, so long as the adults are willing to teach, you’ll find, that the children’s eagerness to learn, is greater, because it’s all, infectious.
And here’s, the second mom…
I’m truly honored, and glad, to be invited by you, to tell the moms about illustrated books!
Actually, the parents need not worry about how the kids would, miss the main points when they read the picture books, how the kids are more attentive to the artwork, and totally ignored, or not getting the main points of what the illustrated books are about. See it through another perspective, doesn’t that show how keen the sense of observation your children have? Instead, we adults were, too caught up by the languages, and, our reading abilities paled, by comparison to the children’s.
When I read the illustrated books, there’s the trouble of picturing what I read in my head, at which time, I’d, call out to my son, had him come help me decipher, what the pictures are saying. And, naturally, the kids have better skills in interpreting the pictures, and, he was able to, immediately, tell me, what the illustrator was drawing, and it’d, left me in awe.
even if the child is too young to understand what is being read, the time spent with the parent is rewarding enough…NOT my photograph…
“Reading in pictures”, that, is one of the key developments of the new age of man! So, as we tell the stories to our young, if the kids showed immense interests in the drawings on the couple of pages, don’t rush through the stories, allow your child to have more time, accompany her/him, in that page that’s, captured her/his attention!
As Mandarin became one of the more advantageous languages for your young, they would, naturally, not want to come into contact with another brand new language. Like how when my daughter started learning about English, she was, already, four, already very familiar with Mandarin, and, whenever I’d picked up an English book to read to her, as she saw the alphabets on the covers, she’d started, battling it, “I don’t want the stories in English, I want Chinese ones!” Or, “Mom, this book is in English, but you have to tell it in Chinese, then I will listen.” Toward this sort of a situation, how do we, help the kids, cross that barrier in themselves, to help them establish an amicable relationship with English?
Back then, I’d told my daughter, “Because this book was written in English, mom shall read it to you in English first, as I’m reading it, you just, look at the pictures, and understand what’s happening in the story. And if after the story’s completed, and you still can’t quite understand what it’s about, then, after mom read it to you again a second time, I’ll explain each paragraph in Mandarin for you, is that okay?”
how can you say no, to such a simple request??? Not my illustration…
I’d found, that when my child was attracted to the story, and became totally immersed into the story, she’d stopped focusing on if the readings are in English or Chinese anymore, after all, illustrated books are visual, sometimes, even if the child seemed to not understand everything that’s being read, there are still, the illustrations, to help her/him understand what the story is about. A good illustrated book must be in compliance with the contents of the storyline, the children, in the guidance of the illustrations, can get into the contents of the stories in English. Slowly, as the child hears more and more stories in English, and they can start to understand the words, the meanings, the usages too, and even, after reading the books to them over, and over again, you might find, that in the situations, your child will blurt out the lines from the illustrated books, and they’d blurted those lines out, in the right situations too!
And, moms, stop worrying about your pronunciations, worrying that your bad pronunciations might mislead the children, and not dared reading those English illustrated books aloud. Actually, what the kids enjoyed the most, is sharing this time with mom, and the children wouldn’t care if mom’s bad in English, couldn’t pronounce the words right. And, if you’re, really worried about it, you can do your homework before your reading times together, look up the terms you don’t know how to correctly sound out, look up the terms in the dictionary, and rehearse the lines several times, and, after you’d practiced enough number of times, then, read it to your child.
If you still have that regret of not learning English well, then, treat this reading time with the children in English as your second chance! Children are always watching the parents as they grow, as the children see how mom is having so much fun, reading the illustrated books in English, they surely, will be infected by your attitude, and would think, “If mom likes English so much, it must be, fun!”, and, wouldn’t this be, the best way to have your kids model after your attitude to learning English?
In the end, I’d wanted to share, how to select an illustrated book in English for your young, if in the huge volumes of books, you’d not known where to start, then, we recommend you start with the funnier stories, the interactive ones do well too, and you can find rhymes, or the repeated sentence structures, to help your young familiarize with the sound of English; you can also, make use of those stories on CDs, then, you wouldn’t need to worry too much about how your own pronunciations have an effect on your young. And, don’t forget, there are, other ways your young will come into interactions with the English language! Like those illustrated books on tapes, you can put them on while your children are playing, as background music, and, for most kids who are playing, their ears stay open, they can still, absorb the rhymes, the tones.
All of these, are invitations from us, for all you, mothers, who are still, hesitant, about reading to your children in English, do take your children, into this beautiful garden of English illustrated books, to smell the flowers, to hear the birds. Or maybe, you will make new discoveries like I had: reading English illustrated books with your child is NOT only a way you can interact with your child, it’s also, NOT the only way to learn English, it also had that healing property, and can not just benefit the children, but the adults as well!
Do give yourselves a chance, and read together with your child, in English!
So, because English may NOT be your first language, you’re, afraid of reading it to your young, especially, as the children look up to the adults to model after, and you need to know, that it won’t be the pronunciation that your children will pick up, but the attitude to which you’re, reading these foreign language books to them, so parents, stop being afraid, and start reading in various languages to your young, but do make sure, that you have the basis in training, in the various languages you’re reading to your children, like you can, at least, pronounce the terms, close to correctly…