Below are some strategies to help develop children's language and comprehension. These can be done using your first language (as modelled) as evidence shows that not only is being bilingual academically beneficial, but that a strong first language helps with learning other languages!
These strategies are actually good for ALL children - whether bilingual or not.
Parallel Talk – modelling language as a commentator!
Parallel talk is when you use child-friendly language to narrate what your child is doing. Key concepts and language are promoted.
Click on the link below to see some examples of videos taken in school:
Remember, you can use Parallel Talk at home while children are playing to model target language and concepts. For example, 'You are pushing the red car.' 'Spiderman is climbing to the top.' 'You have made two cakes.'
Using a ‘Busy Picture’ to promote Language and Comprehension
Using a 'Busy Picture' from the book 'Dear Daddy,' language is modelled for children in the video. For example, nouns (with determiners), adjectives, verbs and prepositions.
Remember, you can use your child’s reading book to do this, using the pictures. e.g. 'Can you find the ball in the water?'
Also, you can play this game anywhere, without a book, by using objects instead of pictures. For example, at home, in the park, in the car etc. In the car, it makes journeys more pleasant! You can play it like ‘I Spy’ with people taking turns. e.g. 'Can you see a big, red bus?' 'Can you see a bird in a tree? 'Can you see a man wearing a black hat?'
In this video, the 'Busy Picture' is now used to develop harder comprehension skills.
Reading book questions - remember, you can use ANY language to ask your child questions, as questions asked in home language will allow skills to transfer to English!
Check out the questions in different languages that you can ask your child about their reading book – please start off at level 1 or ask your child’s class teacher for advice. For more languages, please contact us.
Examples of the levels:
What can you see?
How are they feeling?
How do we know that they are scared?
Click on the link below to access some examples of reading questions
Don’t forget to ask questions to develop thinking and comprehension skills – even during the walkthrough. e.g. “What do you think is going to happen next?”
After reading the book you can ask them simple questions such as ‘Who was in the story?’ ‘What happened?’
Then higher order comprehension questions such as: ‘How do you think…felt..?’ ‘Why do you think..?’ etc
Remember, you can use any language to ask questions, as questions asked in home language will allow skills to transfer to English.