Bilingual Children and Literacy
As a follow-up to the Multilingual Children post a while back, this is a question we’ve been pondering lately… How do you develop and maintain literacy in the home language without formal instruction?
The obvious way as we are both teachers is to actively teach our son how to write and give him written tasks as he progresses… but that’s unrealistic. The last thing we want to do is have Leon resenting English when we’re in Korea (where English will be the home language). Sure, he’ll be exposed to English in the education system or should we choose, a private institute… but since his English level is likely to be higher than his peers, that’s also kind of unrealistic.
We have no issues when it comes to taking care of the other skills – listening, speaking and reading – and their development as to take care of them is obvious. Read and talk, just like any parent does. Meta-linguistic transfer should take place to assist with reading skills across the board. The only concern is the writing as it’s a different alphabet, and a direct transfer cannot take place. So our dilemna is purely related to English writing skills that are going to be comparable to his development in the community language, or Korean.
I’ll be interested to hear from others that have been raised bilingually (or are raising kids bilingually) and have successfully developed written literacy in their home language.