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Teaching bilingual child to read ( English) which way ?

(15 Posts)
Rosa Thu 08-Oct-09 13:43:06

DD is bilingual in Italian and English we live in Italy. After seeing a thread on teaching you child to read in a phonetic way rather than aay bee see
DD1 ( 3.8) is showing an interest in letters , she recognises a few and wants us to write words etc She sings her ayy bee cee but should I infact be teaching her using phonetics??
I was taught the old fashioned way but am willing to adapt to help her learn . Any ideas / suggestions .
At nursery here I don't think they teach them to write until next year and then its minmal. She is keen to learn and I don't want to hold her back .

Rosa Thu 08-Oct-09 19:53:07


Sakura Mon 12-Oct-09 08:10:19


Romanarama Mon 12-Oct-09 08:18:05

Do it in Italian first as it's much much easier (using phonetics). Then just help her to work out that you can read some English words straight off phonetically, but some you have to learn.

womblemeister Mon 12-Oct-09 08:45:00

Rosa you are English MT aren't you? I'd stick to English IIWY and leave the Italian to the Italian teachers.
Order the Peter and Jane books from Amazon. That's what my mum used in the 70s and it worked a treat for me. Never had any phonics cards or anything. I've just started using them with my DD (5) and she loves them.

WartoScreamo Mon 12-Oct-09 09:05:38

I got dd some basic books with letters in and taught her the phonetic sounds. We then moved on to playing things like eye-spy - linking the letters to words. She is now 5.5 and can read and write her name and a few simple words. Mum, cat, dad etc I haven't really pushed the issue of reading up til now.

My sister has recently given us a big pile of the Oxford Reading Tree books so we're doing these at bedtime - as dd is very confident with her letters now, she's finding this quite easy. The joy's of Bob Bug Mum's Bag! grin

I'm leaving the French to the school!

vesela Mon 12-Oct-09 09:46:34

Rosa, do a search on MN for Ruth Miskin or Read Write Inc. Jolly Phonics is another scheme. Then there's a series of books by Julia Donaldson called Songbirds that uses phonics (I think those are the ones that WartoScreamo's referring to). Read Write Inc. and Jolly Phonics both have handbooks.

I don't have experience with any of them yet, but we're going to be in the same boat so I'm reading up on it at the moment.

Shitemum Mon 12-Oct-09 10:40:18

I think it's ok to start with English now if it's going to be a while before they start teaching her in Italian. It's usually not advisable to do 2 languages at once with learning to read and write as it can be a bit confusing.

We used the Jolly phonics workbooks, songbirds and Floppy's phonics books. I bought them new from ebay.

castille Mon 12-Oct-09 10:51:02

I taught DD2 to read in English at her request when she was 5 (during her final year of French pre-school) using the Oxford Reading Tree books.

I thought about phonics but as she'd heard DD1 read ORT before we moved back to France and was familiar with the characters and wanted to use them. The whole thing was a doddle - it is definitely advisable to do it when they are ready and willing!

Bucharest Mon 12-Oct-09 10:51:18

Ciao bella!

As far as I know all the UK reading schemes are phonics based (synthetic phonics)

Dd has a couple of sets of ORT readers (dire storylines, but...) and I've had the Songbirds recommended to me on here...

Moondog recommended an online scheme called Headsprout which dd is doing now, and is coming on in leaps and bounds- she loves the fact that it's interactive, and based on 'pooter games rather than on the dry and stilted Chip and Biff ORT stuff. Another site we've been pottering about on is Starfall, also recommended on here somewhere, not as fun as Headsprout- but free (Headsprout give you a couple of free lessons then you have to pay)

Definitely do it phonically, though, whichever way you decide to approach it. It's perfectly OK to teach her that the letter *names" are Ay Bee See etc, as long as you differentiate between names and sounds....

IIRC I started looking at the ORT stuff when dd was about the same age as Mini-Rosa, got some flash cards etc from ELC, magnetic letters for the fridge etc. There are also some good teaching-pre-reading-skills books around- workbook kind of things, lots by Oxford, M and S, Letts etc. Dd used to love doing those, joining up letters to the words they belong to etc...nothing too heavy, all play based. x

Bucharest Mon 12-Oct-09 10:53:00

PS I wouldn't worry about any confusion between English and Italian, dd is bilingual so it's already, by 3.8, been hardwired to a greater or lesser degree.

Shitemum Mon 12-Oct-09 10:57:58

bucharest - interesting online recommendations, will check out.

DD1 is 6 and we have just moved to the Uk from Spain. She is having trouble remembering to pronounce the letters 'i' and 'e' the English way when reading in English as she had learnt them in Spanish at infant school there.

I think some confusion is inevitable but if you keep at it it resolves itself eventually...

Bucharest Mon 12-Oct-09 11:03:57

I suppose the confusion might come if you go, as you have, from one dominant language environment to another...I notice with dd a bit of grammar confusion (she's also 6) she'll sometimes use Italian word order....

moondog needs the credit for the websites! (in fact, if you do a MN search for her, she's a phonic-guru!!)

Romanarama Mon 12-Oct-09 12:23:20

My ds1 has learned to read and write in 3 languages at the same time without any confusion at all. I'm the one who gets confused, with how to say the letters the right way depending which language!

tulipe Mon 12-Oct-09 22:31:29

The jolly phonic method is widely used in england. My son, a reluctant learner seems to finaly tame his reading with it.

the montessori method is also good. Since she is italian you should find some material in Italy.

Good luck.

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