Top 5 Tips To Develop Avid Bilingual Readers

By Fabi Harb

Encouraging your kids to develop good reading habits will not only be beneficial for them academically, it will also provide them with a lifelong skill to be successful in their adult years. As parents, it’s up to us to make reading, in both English and Spanish, a fun part of their bilingual education. Today I will share 5 easy tips to help you raise bilingual children at home:

  1. Add reading to your everyday life

Instilling a passion for books goes beyond reading stories to and with them. Be the example! Let them see you reading a book, a magazine or an eBook every day. This will show them that reading is a powerful tool, especially if you alternate between English and Spanish books or only read books in your target language. 

Keep books everywhere at home and even in your car! If you make reading a part of your daily routine, your child will most likely look forward to this daily activity.

  1. Turn reading into an enjoyable experience

If reading seems like homework to your kids, they will most likely find it tedious and boring. However, if you turn reading into a game, the learning experience will become more enjoyable.

There are easy games you can play with them, in both languages, such as asking to guess a word you have in mind: “I’m thinking of a word that rhymes with _________. Can you guess the word?” You can also switch roles and your child can ask you the questions.

  1. Be encouraging and patient

Every child is unique and learns at a different pace. Some may pick up reading quickly while others may need more time. Calmly correct your children for missed words and praise them for how well they read a passage or a sentence. In this instance, consistency is key!

  1. Repeat the story, build vocabulary

There might be a story that your child loves and asks you to repeat time and time again. While it may seem tiring, take advantage of this opportunity to incorporate new words and help develop a greater vocabulary. Once your child knows the story, ask him to share it using his own words!

  1. Don’t forget about writing!

Reading and writing go hand-in-hand. Ask your child to create a list of various items around the house. Once the list is complete ask him to read the list back to you. Work on any misspelled words or mispronunciations while remembering to praise the effort!

To instill a love of reading, in both languages, among your children, you can find these and other tips on ReadConmigo.org. Read Conmigo, a bilingual literacy program sponsored by Infinity Insurance, provides several resources to help your child become a stronger reader. After signing up to our bilingual program, you’ll have access to dozens of free bilingual books as well as other educational apps in Spanish and fun activities for the little ones in the family.

About the author:

Fabi is a first generation college graduate who received degrees in Business from Pepperdine University and UCLA.  She is Infinity’s Multicultural Marketing Manager and Director of the National Read Conmigo bilingual book program which mails free bilingual books to families looking to encourage a love for culture and bilingualism in the home. As an immigrant, born and raised in Mexico, and a mom to three amazing kids, she believes in empowering our youth to grow and give back to our community while never forgetting the beauty of our roots and culture. 

Readers can find more tips at ReadConmigo.org and @readconmigo. For any questions or comments, you can email Fabi at [email protected].

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