Director of the Gypsy Roman Traveller Association, Petr Torak shares his top tips for bilingual families to support their childrens' literacy development.
Having a second language has many advantages and should be celebrated– children can think about their ideas in both languages, communicate with more people in their community, understand different cultures, learn other languages more easily and have more job opportunities in the future.
- Use the language you know best and feel most comfortable using. This is how you can help children develop language, talk about ideas and learn about the world. If children have a solid foundation in one language from parents who are confident speaking it, they can use it to develop new languages.
- Keep speaking your first language even if their child answers in English. Children will understand what has been said and continue learning the language.
- Celebrate your home language by telling stories and singing songs with it, borrow books in your language from the library, watch TV programmes or videos and talk about them together. Attending classes at a community language school can also help children to feel much more positive about their bilingualism.