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my daughter is 4 years old and she’s fluent in 3 languages. She started going to a Dutch school now and she’s learning the Dutch ABC, which are same as English letters but different sounds. When she comes home and asks for my help, I teach her the English ABC, as I always speak English with her. Am I confusing her? she needs my help with the Dutch ABC, and she’s getting back from me the English ABC… I’m really afraid that I’m confusing her. How can I help her and still continue to teach her the English ABC? or it’s just another one of those wonderous things and she does the seperation in her little head, like she learned the 3 languages? Thanks for your help.
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Just curious, do you know the Dutch Alphabet?
and whats her third language? Dutch, English and ….? I actually have no experience in dual literacy teaching. I learned the English and Arabic Alphabet at the same time but they are drastically different. However, you could help her — for Schools sake — with the Dutch Alphabet but start singing the English ABC’s with her each day and night. Or, if her dad is Dutch have him practice the Dutch alphabet with her. But either way, you could Sing it in English and Dutch. Get a ABC chart or use one that is already printed in a book and each night sing them in English and each morning sing them in Dutch. Get some thin card board (like a Cereal box) and make the letters twice. Color English alphabets red and Dutch green and play with them with your daughter. You might start with the vowels, or with the letters of her name. I’m Mr. A, I’m from English. this is my son a I’m Ms. A, I’m from Dutch. this is my daughter a (but of course you would pronounce the Dutch letters and the English letters properly) and play with them with her, start out with a few letters and then go on to add more and more each Week. I would suggest not focusing so much on the letters, but using them just like you might dolls. Have them walk around the table or play with them on the floor before the fire place, introduce each letter and call them by their letter names but dont freak out if she calls ‘C’ ‘S’ or anything like that. Just say “Hey, I’m Mr. C, not S” and keep playing. Make the characters come alive and get her involved. Then once you have 6 letter names and sounds mastered, you could get a piece of paper and hide a letter behind it. Make the letter sound and let her tell you which letter it is, the See if she’s right. Make it a game of guess who. “knock knock” “Give me your clue, and I’ll guess who!” “mmmm…Milk Makes Me Mad!” emphasizing the “M” sound in each word “Mr. M?” “Yes, it is me, Mr. M!” (I recommend increments of 6 because there are 26 letters and 6×4=24. I think that X and O are the two most memorable letters because of games like Tic-Tac-Toe and the fact that they are both easy to make and remember — at least for the kids in my household) You can also play Tic Tac Toe using which ever letters she’s having a hard time with, or the upper and lowercase forms of the same letter. For example, you be “M” while she is “m” or vice versa. Always make the letter sound when you write the letter. If “F” and “K” trouble her, play a few rounds of Tic Tac Toe using “F” and “K” every day while you talk about her day or sing songs, she’ll probably learn them well if you don’t put a great deal of emphasis on her failings. If Tic Tac Toe isn’t a great deal of fun for her, then Try making your own 5×5 bingo boards and have her use red and green for English and Dutch letters. The English and Dutch (Of course you don’t have to use red and green. Which ever colors you want, blue, orange, purple, etc…) Hope this post is of some use to you. Hope you and your DD have fun with literacy and learning to read.
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Sharon, I am at the same crossroads with my son and still unsure how to approach it. From what I have heard, all kids are different and some are able to learn both alphabets at the same time, others are not. I think it also depends on the teachers at school, if they are supportive of the dual learning and are OK with a small lag and confusion at first with the local language or are not and insist that you teach your child the local language. In general it seems to be very important to be in good communication with the teachers and get their buy in early on if you want to teach the alphabets at the same time.
Siya, would you please share your experience with learning the English and Arabic alphabets? I am in a situation trying to teach English and the Cyrillic alphabets where there are a lot of similar looking letters but quite a few are pronounced differently.
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We went through this with my 3 yo (ML English, ml Russian, ml Italian). By now she learnt that this letter is pronounced this way in English and that way in Russian. If she makes a mistake (rarely now), I tell her, yes it is a P in English, and in Russian it is a ?… An R, that’s right!. Amazing how smart kids are! And some things are a lot easier to memorize at 3 than at 30 !