Traditions Around the World: Celebrate Autumn

Display for Día de los Muertos (or Day of the Dead in English), a holiday celebrated mainly in Mexico and by people of Mexican heritage living in the United States and Canada. The holiday is dedicated to the remembrance of friends and relatives who have died.

The air is becoming cold and crisp. Leaves are turning a vibrant gold, red and purple. Pumpkins dot the countryside and hay rides are a dime a dozen. Autumn is in full swing.

In addition to the changing of the seasons and the euphoric smell of hot apple cider, this time of year brings with it a wealth of cultural traditions from around the world. This has always been a time to be thankful for the summer bounty that was produced and to start preparing for the coming of the winter chill and darkness.

This time of year is also for remembering those who are no longer with us – to honor our family, friends and loved ones who have passed on. Celebrations and festivals centered around the dead and departed can be found in cultures all over the world, each with their own set of traditions.

Given that this time of year is bursting with global festivals and celebrations, it is a perfect opportunity to help your children and students appreciate the different ways that communities celebrate around the world. You can encourage children to share their own family’s traditions as well as introduce celebrations that are new to them. Continue reading Traditions Around the World: Celebrate Autumn

Bilingual Book Giveaway: The WINNERS!

THANK YOU to everyone who participated in Language Lizard’s $250 Bilingual Book Giveaway!  We were impressed with the number of entrants and very inspired by the feedback we received from participants!  You are all working so hard to improve literacy and language skills among dual language learners.

We also appreciate all your efforts to teach children about other cultures and support a greater understanding of diversity and our multicultural community.  If you would like to read some of the comments of our entrants, simply click here.

We know there is a need to offer additional grants and giveaways to support the dual language learners and educators that we serve.  And we would like to do more!  Feel free to share your thoughts and ideas for future giveaways or grants (e.g., one larger prize or more smaller prizes?).  We appreciate your feedback and you can contact us at any time.

Continue reading Bilingual Book Giveaway: The WINNERS!

Bilingual Book Review: The “Our Lives, Our World” Series

In continuation of our celebration of The Bilingual Child Month, we’d like to share with you a review of three bilingual books that explore and celebrate global diversity. Read these books with your students to help them appreciate children just like them from around the world.

Goal! Let’s Play! – written by Joe Marriott and illustrated by Algy Craig Hall
Yum! Let’s Eat! – written by Thando Maclaren and illustrated by Jacqueline East
Brrmm! Let’s Go! – written by Julie Kingdon and illustrated by Leo Broadley
Paperback Ages 2-6
Review by Maureen Pugh

These three books comprise the “Our Lives, Our World” series, which explores the rich diversity of children’s lives and develops a worldwide perspective. Although the books are written and illustrated by different people, the series does have a cohesive style.

Each book introduces eleven children from eleven different countries, and every child is given a two page spread that introduces the child, and illustrates what the child is describing. The children are introduced with “my name’s Charlie …” or “I’m Abeba…”, so the text repeats the introductory phrases that we all want our children to be familiar with.

The text goes on with simple sentences, which contain mostly commonly-used vocabulary (and some new vocabulary), such as “I’m Khaled. We eat couscous and lamb tagine when we visit Grandpa.” Another example is “My name’s James, I play tennis with my family every weekend.”

Not surprisingly, Brrmm! Let’s Go! focuses on vehicles (bicycle, helicopter, tuk-tuk) and action verbs (to ride, to fly), while Goal! Let’s Play! introduces popular sports played in the country (ie, India – cricket, and Switzerland – skiing). Yum! Let’s Eat! depicts favorite foods from around the world.

Continue reading Bilingual Book Review: The “Our Lives, Our World” Series

Celebrate The Bilingual Child Month!

October is here which means it is time to focus on celebrating bilingual children!

Although we know that childhood bilingualism is fabulous and fantastic, it feels as if many in this country haven’t yet come to realize this (let alone celebrate it).

When it comes to bilingual children, words such as worry and concern are often used: “We are concerned that the bilingual children in this country won’t learn English, especially if their parents speak to them in their heritage languages at home.” We hear the word funding all the time: “The funding for our dual language learning program is being cut – yet again!” And, of course, the words motivate, encourage and inspire are key when it comes to bilingual children: “What can I do to motivate bilingual families to keep using their language(s) at home?”

But what about the word celebrate? When was the last time we called out: “Let’s celebrate bilingualism!”

Continue reading Celebrate The Bilingual Child Month!

6 Reasons Why Children Should Learn Languages As Early As Possible

The research extolling the benefits of bilingualism abounds in today’s day and age. Bilingualism helps us better understand the structure of languages and can give us an in-depth view of another culture.  Bilingualism can delay the onset of Alzheimer’s symptoms. It can help people find jobs here in the United States and in other countries.

Although most of us in the United States don’t start learning additional languages until middle school or college, for some time now studies have shown that this is not the ideal time to begin learning new languages. In fact, recent studies are showing that the best time to pick up a new language is when we are very young. Rather than causing linguistic disorders or difficulties (as was once believed), being exposed to additional languages from birth is actually the best time to start.

Does this mean that we can not learn languages when we are older? No! It just means that if we are trying to decide when to introduce a new language to our children, the earlier the better.

Here are 6 fantastic reasons why children should be introduced to languages as early as possible: Continue reading 6 Reasons Why Children Should Learn Languages As Early As Possible

8 Tips to Protect English Language Learners from Bullying in Your Classroom and School

As schools open their doors each fall, students from all walks of life enter. Each has the opportunity to share with other students in the amazing experience of education. Wide-eyed and anxious, children slowly lower their guard and allow themselves to get comfortable with their teachers, fellow students and surroundings. The hope is that this experience will be filled with joy and comfort for each and every student.

For many English Language Learners (ELLs), school is a place of laughter, fun and expansion. Bit by bit language and cultural elements are learned, shared and savored. For other ELLs it is a place of fear, humiliation and intimidation.

Continue reading 8 Tips to Protect English Language Learners from Bullying in Your Classroom and School

Learning Foreign Languages: 5 Reasons Why a Small Amount of Language Exposure Is Beneficial

Research abounds about the benefits of bilingualism: the more exposure to languages from as early an age as possible is the best. Being that our brains are still growing and developing rapidly when we are young, multiple languages can be assimilated as seamlessly as a single language at this age. Some research even goes as far as defining optimal age limits within which languages should be learned for greatest benefits, primarily for picking up a native-like accent. However, experts enthusiastically agree that it is never too late to learn a language and to learn it well.

Not all children will have the opportunity to be exposed to multiple languages in their childhood. They may not grow up with parents who speak another language at home. They may not have the benefits of attending a bilingual school. However, just because our children may not benefit from delayed Alzheimer’s doesn’t mean that even a small amount of language exposure isn’t beneficial in a number of ways. In fact, the small amount of language and cultural exposure children receive in their early years may have the most lasting impact.

Continue reading Learning Foreign Languages: 5 Reasons Why a Small Amount of Language Exposure Is Beneficial

Support Your Dual Language Learners with $250 Worth of Bilingual Books!

We are delighted to announce a chance for you to win $250 worth of bilingual books in your choice of languages!

Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, French, German, Gujarati, Haitian-Creole, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Panjabi, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Swahili, Tamil, Turkish, Twi, Urdu, Vietnamese, and many more languages!

It is easy to enter! All you have to do is go to www.LanguageLizard.com/giveaway.htm and submit the entry form.

We’d love it if you could spread the word about this wonderful opportunity! By doing so, you may even increase your chances of winning!

Good luck!

Continue reading Support Your Dual Language Learners with $250 Worth of Bilingual Books!

Bilingual Book Review: Row, Row, Row Your Boat

Row, Row, Row Your Boat
Illustrated by Annie Kubler
Hardcover
Ages 0-3
Review by Maureen Pugh

This sturdy, oversized (it runs a little over 8 inches square) board book brings the classic song to life with a couple of giggle-producing twists – at least they made my 5-year old giggle!

The text runs through the classic poem three times, changing the ending the second and third times through. Toddlers will love the last verse, which has the reader row the boat to the “shore,” and then ends with ”if you see a lion, don’t forget to roar!”

Although this book is targeted to the under-three crowd, personally I have found that dual language board books have served me well beyond the toddler years. The repetition helps reinforce the language skills I am trying to teach, and sometimes it is nice to have a shorter book to read.

Continue reading Bilingual Book Review: Row, Row, Row Your Boat

5 Tips to Help Bilingual Children Shine in the Classroom

Back-to-school sales line the aisles of supermarkets and drug stores; children roam department stores picking out new fall clothes; and parents rush around with check-lists of items their children will need in the coming weeks and months.

Yes, the school year is about to begin.

For bilingual children, this time of year may feel a little daunting, especially for those who will be starting school for the very first time. In addition to all of the feelings that many students face on their first day of school (nervousness about what the teacher may be like, excitement about meeting new friends, concerns about what will be expected), bilingual children may have additional worries: Will they fit it? Will their English language skills be up to par. Will they understand everything that the teacher says? Will other students make fun of them because of their accent?

For teachers who are not used to working with bilingual children, there may be an assumption that to help these bilingual children feel comfortable in the classroom they will need extra attention. This may very well be the case, but if it is not done with care it can backfire. A bilingual child who already feels out of place may feel even more so if a teacher ends up giving him too much special attention. What a bilingual child may want the most is to have the chance to fit in and to be just like everyone else, not singled out due to special circumstances.

Continue reading 5 Tips to Help Bilingual Children Shine in the Classroom

Supporting Dual Language Learners and Bringing Multiculturism to the Classroom!