Listen to your child. Let your child know that his stories and conversation are interesting to you. Make comments and ask questions that encourage him to explain and talk about what he is doing. When y are doing something together describe what you are doing: “Emanuelle look at the bubbles floating in the air.”
Answer your child’s questions. Children like to make lots of questions. Try to answer all of his questions in a clearly and in a simple and short manner. Remember that your child is learning about the world so be patient if his questions seem to have no end.
Read to your child every day
- Look for books in your native language about subjects that interest your child or about favorite characters or movies in public libraries or school and read to your child at leas 10 minutes daily. If you have trouble finding books you can always turn to the internet, websites like amazon have lots of books in different languages. Remember to read books that are not only bilingual or in your native language but that may also include traditions or elements that are related to your culture.
- Get your child involved by bringing him to the library and letting him pick out the books that he likes.
- Talk about the story that you are reading and ask your child questions that can help him relate his life and experiences to what is going on in the story. Describe the illustrations and point out details.
- When he is older he might want to read you the story, so encourage that.
- Offer your child books without words so that he can make up a story that corresponds to the illustrations..
- Record some stories in your computer or telephone, or ask grandparents or other family members to record a story. You can give it a personal touch and relate a family story or a story that includes elements or traditions from your culture or country. You can also let your child record his own stories.
- A fun activity to do at home: “Using photographs of our family, our country and our traditions we created a book where I wrote the story of how we arrived in the United States and how Daniel was born. This is a very educational and entertaining activity in wich you can include your child and now this is Daniel’s favorite book” says Ana, who moved to Naples from Mexico.
- When you are reading include toys, puppets, props or activities to make reading more fun. For example is you are reading about a farm you can use toys of the different farm animals to make the story more animated. After reading a story about a caterpillar you can ask your child to slide like a caterpillar and to fly like a butterfly..
- Keep a journal of family trips and special events to create new family stories. By recording details of special events and including photos of these you will establish a link between oral family stories and written history. You can include every day trips to the store or to the park.
- Encourage your child to tell his own version of a favorite story or of something that happened in real life. After he makes up his story you can help him act it out and put on a little play together.
- Often children have favorite books that they will want you to read over and over again, this is a good thing because children learn through repetition. After your child has memorized parts of his favorite book he can help you telling it.