Another post about our progress and struggle with reading in both languages, as it´s a subject that´s close to my heart! I also realised that in my last post about reading I don´t think I spoke too much about the Spanish side of things!! Reading is much a uphill struggle both in the majority and minority language, with my daughter not appearing to be at all motivated about learning to read nor enjoying reading. At school they have started reading the "cartilla" using a set of "books" called Letrilandia (Edelvives). Although Letrilandia seems to be used in many schools to teach children to read,I´m not a big fan of it. It takes one letter or sound e.g m and then combines them with vowel sounds eg mu, ma,mi,mo,mu and then it has 3 words and pictures with some of these sounds and then sentences using these sounds e.g. La momia. La paloma. I think it is rather a tedious and boring way to learn how to read...no wonder some kids might not be motivated..The Oxford Reading Tree is much better in comparison. My sister-in-law also lent us the collection of El Zoo de las Letras, in which each book a story is written which contains lots of words containing the letter and at the end of the book there are activities that the children can do to further help their comprehension of the text and reading skills. This is a bit more similar to the Oxford Reading Tree and I think is more fun and motivating. I also discovered these two websites with interactive online games based on helping children to learn to read: http://paraaprenderaleer.blogspot.(not sure if this website works though) and educajuegosparaleer.blogspot.com although unfortunately we haven´t got round to trying out these websites and games particularly as I tend to concentrate more on my daughter´s reading & writing in English and it is my husband who tends to do Spanish reading with her.
I´m continuing to do the things I mentioned in my previous post The 2 R´s although I´ve learnt not to push it so much and have relaxed my efforts a little because she is struggling with reading in the majority language too and is falling behind the rest of the class and secondly, because I want her to enjoy reading not hate it so don´t want it to feel too much like an obligation.
I got some really good ideas off the Bilingual Monkeys blog, which talked about captive reading, that I´d never heard of. The basic idea is to expose your child to as much written print in the minority language as possible. I bought two of these magic boards as shown in the photo(I can´t remember the actual name of these now!) and started leaving little messages such as "I can see you","Good morning" etc in both bathrooms. The drawbacks are that these "magic boards" are very cheap and not very good and half the message would disappear almost instantly. Another drawback is that even some of these short messages are difficult for my daughter to read so I´m now contemplating just writing one word.However, I need to find something better to write my messages on...any suggestions??It was pretty effective as I think my daughter enjoys the novelty of finding a little message just for her especially if it is funny or silly and once or twice it even prompted her to reply!!As she was struggling with reading in Spanish too I also started writing the Spanish translation...however, it´s not really what I wanted to do and sometimes I make mistakes in the majority language so am unsure as to continue doing this.
I´m also trying to establish a good homework routine especially as next year she will have homework every night so this will stand her in good stead,particularly as I´m not sure how much time she will have to dedicate to extra English homework.My daughter doesn´t really like to do "quiet" activities though and would much rather play than be doing extra work which seems too much like school. I´m trying to find fun ways to incorporate reading and writing but it can also be difficult for example to play games with flashcards etc as my 17 month old starts picking up the cards and messing them up. However, I´ve got the Jolly Phonics books out again and a Peppa Pig activity book and we are slowly working through them and she gets a sticker or a stamp after she´s completed the homework.She also writes her name and I write the date on it so we have a record. We are also trying to play board or card games to make learning to read and write more fun. After a slight disaster trying to get hold of Junior Scrabble, I had a look on Amazon and discovered the board game Pop for Sight Words which had really good reviews so I ordered it but unfortunately I´ve only managed to convince my daughter to play it once and I can tell that it hasn´t been such a successful buy!!
As she is also struggling with reading in Spanish, from time to time I´ve bought majority language magazines, such as one about ponies and another about princesses. The first one she was quite enthusiastic about and did a lot of the puzzles and activities but I think she barely looked at the second one. Apart from the one magazine, CBeebies, I haven´t got around to buying any other minority language magazines although this is definitely on my to-do list and I eventually want to take out a subscription.As mentioned in my previous post, I registered on the Oxford Owl website, which means that I now have access to 250 free ebooks so we have also been using this excellent and -best of all-free resource. You can read the book online and also listen to the audio and complete the activities and as it´s a different format, this has been quite motivating for my daughter and she read two books one after the other the very first time we used this resource!
Another reccomendation from Bilingual Monkeys to encourage reading was to try reading comics so I bought one of the comics reccomended, Gabby & Gator by James Burks, and I read it aloud to my daughter during our nightly bedtime story. She really enjoyed it and asked me to read it each night until I´d finished it and I think ,once her reading ability has improved a little, that she should be able to read it by herself so I ´m going to buy more comics by this author and try other comics. The final idea that is a fun game involves using white sticky labels and writing names of the things in the room and then,with my help we would read the labels and my daughter would stick it on the item so this adds to the use of captive reading.So little by little we are making gradual progress.