Thursday, December 10, 2009

Reading in English

First of all, I need to send a big "GRACIAS" to Debbie and Selena at Children Grow, Children Explore, Children Learn for our new book "Green Eggs and Ham." We were the lucky winners of her recent giveaway. The book came with an added bonus of bubble wrap that kept the boys entertained for quite awhile. :)

If you follow this blog, you know that we speak and read to the boys only in Spanish. I often get asked by friends and family when we are going to "teach" them English. This is WAY too big of a topic to completely cover here but I would like to touch on it. Living in the United States and being surrounded by the English language, it would be nearly impossible NOT to learn to speak English. The more difficult challenge is to provide enough exposure to Spanish to make the boys truly fluent. The English that Diego does know is from some television programs, playing with neighborhood children, and my family (who unfortunately do not live close.) I continue speaking to the boys in Spanish even when we are around English speakers (even my parents.) However, I encourage them to speak to the boys, ask them questions, and read to them in English whenever they are around. I have tried on several occasions to read a book to Diego in English. He flat out refuses to listen. Last night when we received our new "Green Eggs and Ham" book, I was excited to read it to him since it is one of my favorite books. I explained to D that the book was written in English so Mami had to read it in English. He very politely told me, "No, español por favor." I thought for a minute about the monumentous task of translating a Dr. Seuss book into Spanish off the top of my head and insisted that he let me read it in English. He reluctantly agreed and really enjoyed the book. I am sure that he did not understand all of the words but I pointed at the pictures and stopped after each page and translated a few key words. I still plan to read most of our books in Spanish but I think that I will start reading one English book a day also.


  1. I am so happy to hear he enjoyed the book, and of course the bubble wrap is always the best part about a package!

  2. I saw enough Russian-speaking children of my friends start school with very little English and speaking it fluently in a matter of months. It's amazing how plastic children minds are and how difficult it is to keep minority language going. Big kuddos to you for giving your boys such strong foundation - they will definitely appreciate it one day. But I agree - reading Dr Seuss in another language would be pretty difficult :)

  3. When I was younger my Nonna lived with us and I was fluent in Italian. Just the exposure to hearing my mum and Nonna converse helped me learn the language. My own parents always spoke English (my dad is not Italian).

    I can't imagine translating any Dr Suess book, it would be a challenge.

    I was reading your post on what your boys actually play with and we also have been playing with blocks and play doh quite a bit as well. Open ended toys and activtities always result in hours of fun (not necessarily all on the same day!)

  4. Congrats on winning the book! I love that book.

  5. Oh my Gosh, I was just reading through some of your posts and I had to comment in this! This sounds like our home! My oldest is going to be 3 this month and we have only spoken to him in Spanish, same reasons as you. Just recently I have starting introducing a little English because I worry that he will be so lost when he starts school/preschool. But he is not liking it much. I have mostly Spanish books that I read to him and recently starting doing a little bit of English reading but he protests saying "No Apon" His word for Espanol, not very clear since he has a bit of a speech delay. Anyhoo, just thought I would share that one of his most favorite books is "Huevos Verdes con Hamon"(Green Eggs & Ham). I ordered through Amazon and it is an amazing translation to spanish of this book. It rhymes so well. Sadly, my son carried the book around with him so much that he lost it a couple of months ago and since I started reading it to him in English he's not as interested anymore. Well I'll have to keep reading more of your posts to see what else our family's have in common :)


My Favorites