A local teacher asked me a question that immediately took me back to my childhood. “How do you help an eager non-English speaking parent, not feel helpless when their children come home with homework?” According to her, these parents want to do the very best for their kids, however their lack of understanding the English language is not allowing them to be as involved as they would like to be.
The entire curriculum, like most these days, are highly focused on literacy (even math). So it is no surprise that in a neighborhood with 1st generation non-english speaking immigrants, they are really struggling. From what she expressed, most parents in her school leave it up to the older siblings (if they have one) to help the younger one with their homework.
As I mentioned earlier, this really hits home for me. I was the first child of 2 South American immigrants, both fought hard to get me the very best education they could. I remember my mom, with her extremely broken English, having all my spelling words written on the inside of the kitchen counter. She constantly had me drill spelling words, not having any idea what they meant, as I sat in the kitchen while she washed the dishes. I also recall her using a cassette recorder and having me record myself say words, so I would teach myself phonics. Since she couldn’t correctly pronounce the words, she’d have me listen to myself pronounce the words a million or two times. Both of these where great, and was my quick answer back to the teacher, however now this question is lingering in my head, and I know there must be a better way. The reality is, I have always struggled with spelling and literacy, but i was able to learn enough to get by.
My questions to everyone, especially those in ESL or coming from similar backgrounds, “What worked for your family or classroom?” The teacher teaches a first grade class, with about 50% Spanish speaking, in a predominately low income neighborhood.
Obviously since I love trying to solve problems, this will end up being my next project. Would love any input!
How do i create a way for “both” parent and child to increase their literacy in a fun and social sort of way?
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