For some families supporting kids at home to foster their Spanish language development can be difficult if the family members in the house are non-Spanish speakers. Spanish language proficiency comes with practice. There are ways to practice Spanish by exposing children to learn the language.
The purpose of dual language immersion programs is to immerse students in using the target language in school every day. Nevertheless, it won’t hurt to get your child to practice more since we know that the more we practice the language, the more proficient we become.
We know that kids are known to make friends quickly. The ideal would be to foster a friendship with a native Spanish speaking friend or family that’s comfortable using the target language regularly. If, for any reason, the students are not comfortable using their Spanish, ask the mom or dad to try to use the target language with your child.
Some families may have a grandparent in the house that does speak English. You might also want to see if the grandparent will be willing to speak in Spanish to your child.
Television networks now offer a wide variety of Spanish channels. Some TV networks even offer kids only channels in Spanish. Have your child watch a Spanish channel once or twice a day. This may help improve your child’s listening skills as he/she gets used to the language pace and the different Spanish dialects. Look to see if any Spanish channels would match your child’s interest, such as the animal planet, sports, or cartoons.
One great show to watch with kids is a famous Spanish family show known by most Spanish speakers, called “El Chavo del Ocho.” It is a great series to watch depending on the age of your child. El Chavo it’s often available via Netflix or online. It’s also a kid-friendly show for 3rd grade and up.
Do you know all of your neighbors? You probably live close to a Spanish speaking neighbor. Some neighbors are willing to have friendly conversations with you and your child. Even if this only happens occasionally, let your child know that this neighbor is a non-English speaker.
Encourage your child to greet the neighbor in Spanish. This will train your child to be ready to use the language more often. This will also show him/her that Spanish is a language that he/she will use not only in school but out in the real world too.
If you can travel to other countries, you should consider visiting a Spanish speaking country. A trip to South America, the Caribbean, or any country where Spanish is the primary language will immerse your child in a language environment.
This visit will push your child to speak in Spanish with other kids in the area. Or even with adults working as tour guides, restaurant workers, etc. Learning about the culture and seeing how many others can speak in Spanish will also encourage him/her to continue to learn the language.
An upgraded technological era allows us to connect with people from around the world. Some companies offer online Spanish classes where a Spanish speaker uses various techniques to get learners to practice the language. Under supervision, connect your child to someone that could tailor the conversation to your child’s interest.
Reading out loud is one way to improve language fluency at no cost. Have your child read Spanish text out loud to get him/her to practice fluency. Reading aloud allows the reader to practice vocabulary, which is often used when speaking. Reading out loud will help develop a child’s fluency improving oral language flow with ease.
Some websites offer a PenPal friend program that allows families to write to each other in a target language. This is an excellent way to safely practice reading and writing and learn about different cultures at the same time. If you search for PenPal, multiple options will come on google.
One important thing to keep in mind is that learning a language takes time and consistency is essential to improve proficiency.