Bosley, the Language Bear

Bosley Gets Another Great Review! – Thanks Darian Wilk!

darianBosley received another great review from a friend of mine.  It makes me so happy to know that people are enjoying my book!  You can check out Darian’s website to learn about her.

She has written one book called “Love Unfinished” and is in the process of writing “Reinventing Claire” which you can learn more about on her website.

Here is Darian’s Review of Bosley Sees the World:

Sweet little Bosley tells his Momma that he’s tired of their tiny cave, and decides he’s going on an adventure and discover new things in the world.  It doesn’t take long before he realizes just how big the world really is, and is met by amazing discoveries at every turn.Bosley Sees the World is one of the most adorable books I have read with my son in quite some time.  The illustrations are, well, just too cute, and the content is at a high enough level for my son (almost 4yrs old) to stay interested.  So much so that we read the book four times in a row, and first thing the next morning he asked if we could read “the

Second Language Learning and Language Delays

Learning a second language can be a challenge. But if your child already has a language learning delay in their first language, it can be monumental task. So it is important to know when your child is just learning two languages at their own pace, and when they are truly struggling in both languages.

Types of Language Problems

There are many times of language learning delays that a young child might develop. Yet, many young children who are learning a second language or live in a bilingual environment are simply slower than their peers to speak and express themselves. It is essential to be able to distinguish between these two situations, as well as be able to identify problem areas as they develop, them in order to help them with language learning in both the first and second languages.

Language Delay

A language delay can have many causes. These might include hearing impairment or recurrent ear infections, an overall developmental delay or challenging behavior that does not allow the child to socialise correctly for their age. And as language learning depends very much on each of these factors, a child who has a learning delay will be as much affected in their first language as in their second. A child with a language learning delay may show little interest in learning any language at all.

Speech Disorder

A speech disorder is different to an overall language learning delay. Speech disorders are more related to the difficult a child has in producing recognisable speech. They may have difficulty in pronouncing consonants and vowels, make their speech hard to understand. Or they might have trouble organising speech sounds and parts of words in order to create meaningful language. A child may have a language learning delay and speech disorder at the same time. However, they may have well developed language skills (such as being able to understand language well and construct correct sentences) while being unable to pronounce or enunciate them properly.

Language Disorders

When language delays and speech disorders go undetected for a long time or are untreated they can become disorders. These disorders are usually divided into two types; Receptive disorders and Expressive Disorders.

Receptive language disorders refer to the child’s ability to understand language. Expressive disorders are when a child is unable to communicate what they think, want or need sufficiently.

How to Identify a Language Learning Delay

First of all, it is important not to compare children in their language learning speed or abilities. Young children who are learning two languages will speak at their own pace, no matter how their sibling or peers have performed. So it is important to respect their learning process.

It is also a common myth that bilingualism causes language learning delays. Although bilingual children usually say their first words and begin to produce language later than monolingual children, this is not the same as a language learning delay. In fact, research has shown that bilingual and monolingual children reach major language milestones at similar times, even though their ability for expression may vary.

However, a language leaning delay or disorder can be more clearly identified in bilingual children by identifying specific characteristics that accompany late speech, such as:

  • Inability to meet general language learning milestones from an early age (babbling, such as using sounds to get what they want or experimenting with sounds as babies).
  • Inability to follow instructions (in either language)
  • Over reliance on gestures rather than speech or NO use of gestures at all
  • Inability to understand instructions in both languages (whether they can respond verbally or not)
  • Failure to imitate or any sounds or words by 2 -2 and half years old
  • Repeatedly using only a few sounds and an inability to express needs or ideas

Whether your child is bilingual or monolingual it is essential to be aware of language learning milestones and keep an eye out for these warning signs. If you think there is a possibility your child may have a language learning disorder or delay, it is important to ask the advice of your pediatrician, as speech disorders and some language disorders can be successfully treated if caught early on.

Top 10 Ways to Encourage Second Language Learning

Teaching your child to be bilingual is an around the clock job! However, you don’t have to invest in expensive earning materials or programs to make the process easier for your child. Try some of the following tips to make second language learning fun and a little easier for both of you!

1. Partner up!

The best way to show your young child how the second language can be useful or important is to demonstrate this to them. By showing your child that they can communicate through the second language in a way that is meaningful to them, you will automatically motivate them to learn more. Make an effort to consistently relate the 2nd language to their interests, use age appropriate vocabulary and make conversations interesting for them! Use the language to talk about what is immediately present, rather than far off situations or contexts. Simply by being interactive with your child in the language rather than presenting it to them, will make it more real and inviting.

2. Don’t be afraid to change how you talk!

Depending on your child’s age it can be vital to adapt how you talk to them when speaking in the new language. Exaggerating the tone or pitch of your voice, elongating the vowel or consonant sounds in words and even using diminutive language can help to make the language intriguing to your child, as well as help them to learn.

3. Repeat, Repeat, Repeat!

Although it may seem as though your child is not taking in the language, or expressing it themselves, they are actually listening. Children need several occasions to hear new language and language structures before attempting to imitate them. So don’t give up! Repeating words, phrases and utterances over an over can help your child a great deal. Label vocabulary clearly and place verbs and nouns in context in order for them to make sense. Even though you may feel that you are being redundant, your child will eventually pick up on the patterns.

4. Label Objects Around the House

Children will find it easiest to get started in a second language by relating it to the everyday objects they are familiar with. If your child is able to read, use sticky notes or small cards to label objects around the house and encourage your child  to read them every time they pass by. You can even use these objects to play a naming game or have your child run and find the one you mention to make reading the new words fun. This will automatically give them control over their learning and make learning to spell and use new vocabulary easier.

5. Guided Use of TV and Movies

Although over reliance on TV and Movies is never a good thing with children, it can be beneficial when used as part of second language learning. It is astounding what kids can actually pick up or learn from the TV these days, so using it as a tool in guided situation can truly support their second language learning. Look for Shows or movies that are age appropriate both for content and range of vocabulary in the second language.  Make this into a family activity and talk about what you are seeing in the target language.

6. Play, Play, Play

All children naturally learn from playing, it is how they internalize ideas concepts and language. And no matter what the age of your child, there is always a way to get them interested in playing.  Try some of the following ideas in the target language in order to get your child enthralled and involved in their language learning:

  • Card games
  • Board games
  • Dice and Number games
  • Dramatic Play
  • Arts and Crafts
  • Musical Games
  • Active and Running games

7. Let the Music take over!

Children generally react well to rhymes, songs, rhythm and music. At the same they are essential tools in second language learning, as they can help your child to learn the sounds, rhythms and nuances of the new language. Take advantage of every opportunity to play songs in the target language and encourage your child to sing along. Teach them funny rhymes, riddles and tongue twisters to really get the new words and sounds flowing. And don’t forget to dance too!

8. Read Books In a Responsive way

When reading books with your child in the new language, try to forget your hidden agenda for a moment. Children can sense when we are trying to push something on them. Relate the book to their interests rather than the new words you want them to learn and even let them take the lead in turning the pages or telling the story themselves. By encouraging your child to explore books and love them in h their own way, you will be encouraging a love of the second language at the same time. The rest will happen

9. Use Realia to catch their Interest!

Even adults learn a second language easier and more effectively, when we can relate it to our everyday lives, situations and the things we are surrounded by. So relating the second language to your child’s interest and situations that they find familiar and important, can be a great way to catch their interest and motivate them to learn. Whether it is creating an ice cream parlor in your kitchen, or pasting family photographs in a album, activities that use real life objects such as magazines, photographs and objects from around the house will make the language come alive!

10. Don’t overcorrect!

We often don’t realize we are doing it, but it can be easy to overcorrect our bilingual children when we want them to succeed in their learning. However, children need to make mistakes in order to learn, it is part of the natural learning process. In addition, it is common for children to mix up colors, numbers or animals when learning language, even in their first language. It is how we learn about language structure. Rather than correcting, focusing on modeling correct use of the language is more effective, as this allows the child the opportunity to assess their own mistakes and self correct them.

Deciding when to Introduce a Second Language

There are many different reasons for raising a bilingual child and all of them are equally valid. And for whatever reason you choose to teach a child a second language, some of the dilemmas or hurdles to be faced are similar. At what age should I introduce the language? How will I know when my child is ready to be bilingual? How should I go about encouraging my child to be bilingual?

One of the most important things to remember is that children’s overall linguistic skills develop almost at the same time, age and stage. Children usually become language users at the same rate in their first language, as if language learning were inherent or somehow biologically programmed.

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Is there an optimum age for learning a Second Language?
It is important to start second language learning early, unless your child has a developmental or linguistic delay of some kind. Children between the ages of 2 and 6 years old, acquire language quickly, efficiently and naturally. As their brains are still growing and developing they are ready to intake language and file it away and connect it to other information they are receiving. Some experts recommend starting as early as 6 months old, to enable the child to become accustomed to the sounds of both the primary and minority language.
This doesn’t mean that if you have started to introduce a second language later than six months old, your child will not receive the same results. They will still receive the same academic, social and professional benefits fro being bilingual if they have started before the age of 5 years old. – See more at: http://www.thelanguagebear.com/news?page=1#sthash.saT2aju6.dpuf

How should I start to encourage my child to be Bilingual?

There are many situations that lead to teaching a child two or more languages. Whether it is because a minority language already exists in the family, or the family is living in a country where their first language is not native, sometimes the reasons for teaching bilingualism are very different. And learning a second language at a young age in the home, versus learning it as an older age because of day to day necessity, may change the way the second language is taught and learned.

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There are effectively two ways to learn a second language. Sequential and Simaltaneous Acquisition. Sequential acquisition is when a second language is introduced long after the first language is learned (after the age of 5) This might occur in the case that a family moves to another country for professional reasons, or a child goes to study abroad and needs to learn the second language. This route of teaching a
second language requires direct instruction that is usually separate form the first language entirely.

Simaltaneous acquisition refers to second language learning, where the child is raised as bilingual since birth or an early age and the second language is learned alongside the first or primary language.  Although both forms of second language learning are effective and important, there are several obvious advantages to simultaneous acquisition:

  • Children who learn two languages at once, pick up language skills and techniques in both languages at the same time.
  • A child younger than three years old who is exposed to other languages, is still physically developing their mouth, tongue, lips and palette and learning how to use them. Therefore they are more willing to imitate the sounds around them.
  • Even though bilingual children may begin to talk later than their monolingual peers, they will eventually talk at a normal range for their age and with higher levels of vocabulary.
  • Bilingual children who learn this way, are highly capable of separating both languages and jumping between the two as is necessary.
  • Children under the age of 5 benefit from their brain development in second language learning. As their brains are more plastic and moldable,
  • They are able to make more connections regarding skills, language structure and language rules between two languages, than an older child or adult can.

At the end of the day, no two bilingual families or situations are the same. And neither do any two children learn in the same way. However it is important to consider these factors when considering when to introduce a second language to your child. As long as you can link their second language learning to their first language and present it in a natural and enticing way, your child will eventually become functional and bilingual.

GIVEAWAY: Bosley Goes to the Beach – FRENCH – ENGLISH

The French-English version of Bosley Goes to the beach will be coming out very soon, but you can win it before it becomes available!!