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Did you hear the story about the crocodile who ate anything and everything? You probably haven’t. I made up that story one day while we were at a restaurant with three super hungry and cranky kids. (Maybe I’ll turn that story into another book.)
Storytelling became our little tradition and it helped in our journey in raising bilingual kids. So here’s what happened ... I told a silly story in Armenian and then ask my kids to tell their own stories, also in Armenian. From that day on we used any opportunity to make up a story. It was always in Armenian and always silly. After a few times, I no longer reminded them to tell the story in Armenian. They had started associating storytelling with speaking in Armenian. I had no idea that such a simple activity would encourage my kids to automatically speak in Armenian. The amazing part is that they are not memorizing and repeating what they’ve learned, but are actually creating in our language.
There’s more... Recently I came upon a book “7 Steps to Raising a Bilingual Child” by Naomi Steiner, M.D. In the book, she recommends writing down the story your child tells to help them in writing in the language. Here’s what she says,
- Encourage your child to tell you a story. As your child tells the story write it down on a piece of paper or type it in the computer. This breaks down the writing process (your child comes up with the sentences, you do the writing), and gives your child the immediate feeling of success. After all, he did just write a story! This can be especially fruitful in a second language where there’s even more of a challenge to actually express thoughts on paper. Parents who try this activity for fun often tell me, “I never knew that my son (or daughter) could speak so well and his creativity blew me away.”
I am very excited to give this a try. It will be amazing to see their confidence grow and their creativity take flight. Who will join me in this story writing challenge?
Have your child tell you a story, write it down and email it to us. Let’s share the amazing wonders our little bilingual kids can create.