Teaching Tips: Read a book in your language!


8 tips for Bilingual Read A Louds at home
BhashaKids has started a series of Bilingual Read A Louds on Saturdays, at 10(ish) AM EST. Log on to our Instagram Account and watch LIVE as our friend Reading Yaanai/ Haathi translates simultaneously as I read in English. We've done 2 in Hindi and 2 in Tamil so far, with Marathi, Kannada and Malayalam down the pike. The readings have featured Eric Carle and Mo Willems books so far, with vocabulary notes in the captions. The read a louds are about 15 minutes long, so you can easily log on to the account and share with your kids later. Make this part of your home language immersion. 

Bilingual read a louds are wonderful ways to add immersion experiences and expose kids to vocabulary and pronunciation. It takes a bit of pre-work but it will be a special time to bond with your child. Associating your language with something positive, like a cuddly bedtime story, will add to you child's motivation to learn.

Here are 8 tips to make your bilingual read alouds successful. 

  1. Pick an easy book that kids already know and love. 
  2. Read the book ahead of time and try to figure out the translations you are comfortable with. 
  3. Have the native speaker read the book so kids can hear the correct pronunciation. 
  4. Pause for interaction - ask what will happen or if the kids can guess a word or phrase. If there is a repetitive phrase - teach it to the kids to say with you.
  5. Aim for CONTEXTUAL Translation - not LITERAL translation. Say what makes sense in your language. 
    1. Sentence structure is different in South Asian languages and English. For example, in English, sentences are structured as Subject-Verb-Object "I want water" while in Malayalam (& other South Asian languages) the structure is Subject-Object-Verb "Enikku wellum wenum". 
    2. There may be several words in your South Asian language which could mean one English word. Choose what makes sense for a child to say. Opt for simplicity over formality.
    3. Don’t mimic English directly - teach the kids what you want them to say and know in your language. 
  6. It's OK to make mistakes. If you mess up a word, don’t worry. You are modeling behavior for your own kids - if they make a mistake they will know it's ok and you can recover. 
  7. Teach from the book. Review key vocabulary words and one phrase for the kids to remember and try out that week. 
  8. Use a puppet or a doll! If being silly and fun doesn’t come naturally to you, put something in between and take on a new character. Kids learn through play! 

Try this at home - not only will you teach your language, you will have so much fun and build memories with your kids. 


If you try it - please send us a pic with the hashtag #bhashakidsreadaloud


Leave a comment


Please note, comments must be approved before they are published