March 19, 2013,
C.P. asks from Houston, TX on March 18, 2013
L.L. answers from Rochester on March 18, 2013
The best, most effective way to learn a language is immersion into that language. Because neither you nor your husband speak it, that will be a bit more difficult.
Do you know anyone who DOES speak Spanish? If you do, have them spend an hour or two at a time with your child, speaking ONLY in Spanish.
I have been attending a church with many hispanic families for many years. Over the last six years I had studied and studied, books, programs, DVD's...nothing helped that much. Within the last six months, the entire hispanic congregation, plus my family, started a new church. My family is the only "anglo" family in the group.
I would say in just the last four months alone, from listening to sermons solely in Spanish with no translator, communicating with people at my church, and hanging out and cooking with my friends (who speak no English) I have become fluent. In four months. It's not my opinion...that's what they tell me.
My two year old has begun singing songs in Spanish, and understands what I say to her in Spanish. Her classes at church are in Spanish, and when we hang out with friends, her friends (2-4 years old) speak to her in Spanish.
My almost 8 year old, though? She knows nothing beyond the basic phrases...Hola, adios, gracias, como estas, bien, etc. This is because HER class (and her class alone) is taught in English, and all of her friends speak English with her instead of Spanish. What a HUGE difference between the two!!
If immersion isn't possible for him, whether that be a special class taught in Spanish or time spent with a Spanish speaking family, then my next suggestion would be for you and hubby to learn along with him and try to speak in Spanish to him as much as possible!
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A.G. answers from Houston on March 18, 2013
Awesome! Houston is one of the best places to learn only because there is someone you can practice with at every turn.
Have him watch shows like Maya & Miguel on PBS (I think that is the older kids version of Diego and Dora)...or he can watch Diego and Dora. Watch with him and write down all the new words they introduce.
Use an online translator to figure out how to say common words and phrases you use in your family (Let's go outside, its time to eat, put that down, stop, This is a...., Where is the...., etc etc).
Go to the library and check out spanish/english preschool books of vocabulary words.
Start listening to spanish music - there are so many to chose from in this town, so he can get acclimated with the verbage and sound patterns of spanish.
If he's still interested after a few months and you don't mind more in depth learning, I suggest buying an actual spanish textbook they teach in high school or college, and you can start putting your vocabulary to proper Spanish grammar in a more structured way. But at 6, just learning common vocabulary and phrases is good for now.
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L.G. answers from Austin on March 18, 2013
You will need to practice vocabulary regularly but more importantly, you will need to just start giving her phrases and sentences. Don't worry about what you sound like or she will pick up on the fact that it has to be perfect before attempting. Most people, when learning a new language, are too shy to speak it out loud for sounding foolish.
You may need to get Rosetta Stone or something similar to teach yourself the language. Then you can all learn together.
Otherwise, you'd have to find a way to expose her to people speaking Spanish or hire someone.
C.S. answers from Chicago on March 18, 2013
Ask the school. They usually know the best resources to get the biggest bank for your effort.
K.N. answers from Boston on March 18, 2013
My youngest was in a Spanish immersion class from kindergarten through fifth grade. None of the kids spoke Spanish when they started. On the first day, the teacher started with reading simple stories out loud & showing the class the pictures as they went. In fact, my daughter (now 19) remembers Eric Carle's story "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?" as the first thing she experienced in Kindergarten and can, to this day, recite several pages in Spanish from memory.
Read together & look at the pictures. Don't try to translate it word for word. Just read it & figure it out -- much like a young child does in learning to read English. Barnes & Noble used to sell kids book sets that included audio recordings with the book & had a selection in Spanish. I'm sure you can find them there or on Amazon.
Simple words add up over time.
J.T. answers from College Station on March 19, 2013
Rosetta stone and picture books.