We have all heard the importance and benefits of being bilingual and raising bilingual children. I have learned this the hard way. I am a Latina, born and raised in East LA and although I can understand and follow along with a lot of Spanish conversations, and know a good amount of vocabulary, I never learned to speak it fluently. My mother never really focused on teaching me and my sister how to speak in Spanish, and because of that, we were never able to fully communicate with our own abuela.
This is where I take responsibility: When I was in high school and had to take a foreign language I opted to take 3 years of French. I know I was such a rebel. Well, when I got to college and attempted to take Spanish, I failed it. I had the hardest time going from the Spanglish that I knew, and the "proper" way to speak Spanish. It is unfortunate and it is something that I regret. I vow to not pass on this disadvantage to my children.
My girls will learn to speak Spanish. Although, I've done my part, I have to thank Dora the Explorer for helping make learning a new language fun. Now, as my girls are getting older and in the beginning reading stages, I am ready to help them, with Read Conmigo.
Read Conmigo, sponsored by Infinity Auto Insurance, is a parent-focused bilingual literacy campaign that encourages Hispanic parents to read to their children at home through the distribution of free English-Spanish children's books. The program has already distributed more than 750,000 free books to classrooms and Hispanic families, and receives support from more than 9,200 educators. The campaign creates opportunities for new Hispanic authors and illustrators. Infinity Auto Insurance employees, along with Read Conmigo authors and illustrators, engage their communities at special events, schools and libraries to foster bilingual literacy in young readers.
The other day I was lucky enough to attend a celebration of #BilingualLiteracyMonth at Ford Blvd Elementary School in East Los Angeles, not too far from where I live now. We were treated to a bilingual reading from renowned Latino children's author Antonio Sacre. Sacre also shared some great tips on how to engage your child while reading together.
- Discuss the illustrations and ask you child what they think is going to happen in the story.
- Be excited when reading and your child will be excited too!
- Stop and discuss what just happened in the story, and how they feel.
The Los Angeles Board of Education declared that Read Conmigo and Bilingual Literacy Month for it's commitment to education and for promoting bilingual literacy.
Look at all of those happy faces holding up their new book!
This is an example of a book you can download and read to your child. Read Conmigo also offers so many resources like personalized printables, reading charts, activity kits, flash cards, memory, and coloring pages.