Language Challenge 180: Week 10 Check In

by Corey · 26 comments

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Parents Are Key

As I write this, I am manning the Language Lizard booth at WABE (Washington Association for Bilingual Education) convention. We just had a wave of people come by but now it is quiet while everyone attends a variety of presentations.

Educators from around the state are here sharing, discussing and learning about best practices in educating bilingual children (and no, that does not just mean children who speak Spanish!). It is wonderful to talk with people who deal with childhood bilingualism in its many forms day in and day out. A good bilingual teacher can make such a difference!

I have spoken with so many different people today, sat in on a few presentations and learned a ton. One teacher after another has shared stories with me about how desperate they are to encourage families to keep their home language strong. The stories I have heard have been heart-breaking as well as inspiring.

I can tell you with certainty that even though there are many teachers out there who support us in our efforts to help our children become/stay bilingual, they all agreed that parents are the key to this happening. Even though teachers would love to see more bilingual education opportunities out there for students, the reality is that most children will not be able to participate in one of these programs.

It is up to us to help our children maintain their home language(s) and/or learn new ones!

Talking to Ourselves

As for Language Challenge 180… How did this week go? Did you talk to your self in the target language all week long? While doing dishes? While driving in the car? While making dinner?

I know it may feel silly to talk out loud all of the time (regardless of language) but it will do wonders for: (1) your pronunciation and (2) your self-esteem. Talking out loud will also cue you into words that you aren’t familiar with (or word forms that you don’t know). If you start the sentence, “I will get the ….” and realize that you don’t know the word for “pan” then you now know about a word that you need to learn!

Keep Those Bilingual Kids Bilingual

So, even though your kids are still young, you have accomplished the impossible: They are bilingual, truly bilingual! They speak your home language fluently, the community language fluently and feel at home in both. Your work is done, right?


Helping our children become bilingual is the first step. Helping them stay bilingual is the real challenge!

Bilingualism is like a muscle: If you don’t use it, you will lose it. You have to keep up the language output and input from all sides to ensure that language mastery continues to develop and grow as your children develop and grow.

To help with this task, Aaron Myers from Everyday Language Learner shares his tips and suggestions in an interview with Susanna Zaraysky, the author of Language Is Music. You can find this interview in the post Fun Ways to Keep Your Bilingual Children Bilingual.

Today’s Check-In Activity

  • Check-In Activity: In the comment section below, tell us something about you/your child(ren) in your target language.
    For example, “My eyes are blue” or “My daughter likes to eat chocolate cake.” There is no pressure to write a lot – just write as much as you can! Use it for a writing exercise in your target language.
    Note: If you are raising your children in your native language, then tell us in that language!
  • Giveaway: After you leave a comment below, head over to the current giveaway and enter! The current giveaway is open to everyone, so tell your friends to check it out and enter!


Don’t forget to visit the Multilingual Living Forum to ask a question, start a discussion or give someone else some support. You do NOT have to log in to post there. We encourage you to check out the Language Challenge 180 section as well as the other sections. And come check us out at Pinterest! We’d love to share with you there!

Keep an eye out for your next email which will arrive on Monday! Keep up the fantastic work!

1 Donna May 12, 2012 at 12:57 am

Я дуже повільно друкую, але намагаюсь щось тут писати: Я живу в Україні, переїхавши сюді в 1998 разом з родиною. Ми в початку вивчали російську мову, хоч офіційна мова – українська.

2 Mary Kay May 12, 2012 at 2:36 am

Sisan, don o don, an ka taa parki la, barisa a be fe ka tulonke tuma bee ani ne ye mogow caman soro minnu be bamanankan fo. Owo, tiendon de. Ola, ni baara ban na, an ka taa, ani a be se ka tulonke ni denw caman ma ani ne be se ka baroke ni musow caman ma minnu be bo Farafina la. A djaara ne ye kosebe! A be na ne deme kosebe ka bamankan lakalan ne den na. Ni ala soona.

3 Seana Parker-Dalton May 12, 2012 at 3:20 am

j’ai trois enfants. Ce matin, ils vont erudier le Francais chez Alliance Francaise.
Yo voy a mi clase de Espanol el Martes con mi bebe y mi amiga de Mexico.

4 Barb May 12, 2012 at 4:14 am

Leímos un libro y luego contamos un cuento juntos.

5 Murray May 12, 2012 at 5:57 am

Mon petit-fils est la formation de pot.

6 Linda M May 12, 2012 at 10:46 am

Tengo tres hijos. Ellos hablan noruego y ingles. Estoy intentando ensenarles espanol, pero no es facil.

7 Gale May 14, 2012 at 4:47 pm

Yo tengo tres hijos tambien! Our native language is English. Estudiamos espanol.

8 audrey May 12, 2012 at 11:14 pm

tengo dos hijos, el mayor aprende conmigo y el canguro pero es muy vago y a veces no le gusta. el mas pequeno es bilingue. hacemos una clase los lunes en espanol y ve mucho tele espanola

9 Jen N. May 13, 2012 at 6:20 am

Mis hijas y yo estamos preparandonos para el verano y las actividades en espanol que tenemos planeadas.

10 Gale May 14, 2012 at 4:45 pm

Yo tambien. Yo quiero estudiamos espanol en el verano tamient. No tenemos mas tiempo ahora.

11 Gale May 14, 2012 at 4:46 pm

OOps! Tambien…not tamient!

12 Jenny May 13, 2012 at 2:49 pm

Mes trois enfants adorent aller a la plage. Mes fils jouent dans le sable et nagent dans la mer, mais ma fille (qui a 1 ans) essaie de manger le sable et les coquillages tout le temps.

13 Wendy May 13, 2012 at 11:47 pm

Tengo dos hijas. Se llaman Michele y Jane y tienen siete anos. Son buenas amigas algunas veces cuando comparten sus juguetes y no pelean.

14 Francesca May 14, 2012 at 1:53 am

G. likes music very much. And the ball. And when he doesn’t want something he says: “NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO”.

15 Mikayla May 14, 2012 at 8:18 am

Soy profesora de español. Enseño a los estudiantes de 6 años hasta los 17 años. Tengo 3 años de ser profesora. Me encanta mi trabajo!

16 Rachel May 14, 2012 at 2:13 pm

Ich habe zwei Kinder. Meine Tochter ist vier Jahre alt und mein Sohn ist sieben Monate. Wir singen viel. Ich finde dass es besser ist wenn wir singen ohne CD. Man muss die Wörter kennen.

17 Gale May 14, 2012 at 4:42 pm

Mis ninos estan ruidos!

18 Alex May 14, 2012 at 9:23 pm

Hallo, Ich bin sechzehn Jahre alt, und mein Mutter hier ist alt nicht. Ich heiße Alex, und Ich Leibe Lieder und Tiere. Ich habe ein Hündchen , zu heiße Coconut. Ich spreche Englisch . Ich lerne Deutsch ,und Habe Deutsch Freunde ,zwei Kinder.
Mein Haus ist große auf Marco Island, und klein im das estates. Tchüss !!

19 Karolena May 15, 2012 at 2:19 am

Mi hijo tiene ojos azules, tan celestes y claros como el cielo. Apenas tiene un an~o pero dice “dog” y “shoes” en ingles, aunque hablo en espan~ol todo el dia.

20 Karolena May 15, 2012 at 2:26 am

Andi kelb wa kelbi ismahu Ewok min Star wars. Ana bHebu al-aqara’ wa mushahda al-aflam.

21 Michelle May 15, 2012 at 6:56 am

Ons dogters praat baie mooi Afrikaans, maar kan nie dit skryf of lees nie.

22 Becky Smith May 16, 2012 at 6:31 pm

Я занимаюсь с моим донерам каждый день. Мы учымся вместе. Ей десят лет. Нам тяжяло заниматся, на стараемся.

23 Donna May 16, 2012 at 10:08 pm

Беки, если хотите как-то помочь друг-другу – скажите! Моей младщей дочери тоже 10. Хорошо, что стараетесь изучать такой сложный язык – молодцы!

24 Tracey May 16, 2012 at 6:49 pm

Tengo cuatro hijos – el mayor es un varón que tiene ya 20 años y hablar castellano como un Boliviano gracias a vivir y asistir el colegio aquí casi 8 años aquí y su personalidad muy amable. Es estudiante en la Normal – para ser profesor. Mi hija mayor tiene casi 19 años y también hablar como nativa de Bolivia. Ella esta estudiando en la Universidad aquí ahora. Mis pequeñas nenas son Bolivianas pero siempre les hemos hablando en una mezcla de castellano y ingles – a ellas les gusta el Prekinder y les encanta hablar en los dos idiomas pero ayer tenían la oportunidad de hablar en ingles con una persona que no es de nuestra familia – no han hecho mal pero han mezclado un poco. Cuando vivimos en NZ en unos meses se van a acostumbrar rápido si la gente tiene paciencia con ellas. Yo voy a seguir hablar (casi) solo castellano con ellas y les vamos a llevar a unos grupos en castellano para que no lo pierdan.

25 Maria Jesus May 23, 2012 at 8:09 am

My daughter and I are learning English. we try to read and sing in English every day

26 Azzuro Liz May 29, 2012 at 3:51 am

To help my children with their English I’ve started to use English as much as possible. For example I’ve started to wirte my shoppinglists in English instead of French, or counting in English while putting the spoons of milkpouder into the bottles of my daughter…

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