Baby holding picture book

4 tips to overcome lack of access to minority language books.

pastel_de_nata76 Bilingualism, Blog, Reading & Writing, Resources Leave a Comment

Sometimes resources in the minority language are hard to come by and we need to work with what you’ve got.

Here are some ideas to try

  1. Translate on the spot from a majority or community language book. In this case, I strongly recommend going for books with shorter sentences and simpler words. And of course, stay away from rhymes as they will not translate in the same way and miss the point. If possible, try to read the book yourself first to gain some confidence. It will help the story flow when you get round to it and can give you ideas to engage the child, such as questions to ask, points to make that related back to your own culture. But if the book is that simple and you read slowly, it should be easy to do it on the spot.
  2. Picture books are also great as you can just make up your own story
  3. Retell a known story, perhaps a favourite book. You’ve read it many times in the majority language, now ‘read’ it in the minority language. Or just tell it without the book in your own words. This works with my 2yo but the 4 yo doesn’t fall for it anymore – see more on this below. You can even add a twist to it. Once my eldest complained of a nightmare. To distract her I started telling a story of a book she was very into at the time. I modified it for laughs and stitches
  4. Make your own book! If you don’t like the translate on the spot option or just want the child to see the script in the minority language, you can print the words and glue them on the book. I’ve considered this many times when trying to translate one of their favourite books on the spot.

Making your own book can be a lot easier than it sounds. No need to engage in bookbinding and draw top notch illustrations. I’ll be sharing one we’ve made soon, with a step by step guide.

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