Teaching a Child the Russian Letters
I had a lovely conversation today with a mother of a little 2 year old. Her family is trilingual, where she is speaking Russian, her husband speaks his language and they live in an English-speaking country. Her question and concern was that her child was already interested and learning the English alphabet at pre-school but she was not sure how to introduce the Russian one. Can they be introduced together? Won’t there be lots of confusion?
My recommendation is to keep speaking to the child in Russian: at home, in public, everywhere. There will definitely be situation where you will have to use the language of the country you live in in front of your child, but make that an exception, rather than a rule. It will take effort from your end but will be surprisingly effortless for most children. It’s just how it is in their family and they do not question it until much later, usually when they go to school.
Read with your child, memorize short books and poems, listen to music in Russian (kids music and any music in Russian you actually like), listen to audiobook together (in the car seems to work rather well), watch cartoon and discuss them afterwards, describe the world around your child in Russian and involve things that are of interest to your child (dessert and anything FROZEN themed is a hit at my house).
So check out how you can make pancakes and learn the Russian Alphabet.
Do more tactile activities with objects, things that require manipulation and are not flat (play-doh, cutting, gluing, coloring, stickers, etc. check out my Pinterest board for ideas that you can convert into helping your child learn the Russian Alphabet).
And if you are not a crafty person and would rather buy something that is all ready for you, check out these products (I own a version of each of them!). These are links to ebay:
Magnetic Letters – you can put them on the fridge (just be careful, make sure they do not get swallowed)
And definitely check out our books:
Azbuka 1 is a great little book that you can make copies of and use it for coloring, sticking things on and many other activities,
Animal Names and Sounds is a fun book for little kids, they can imitate the animal sounds by a very early age.
I usually buy and download the Russian audiobooks from this site and this one of my favorite audiobooks for kids in Russian at the moment.
I love learning from other people. There is a wealth of fun information and wonderful blogs on bilingualism, multilingualism and so many families speak Russian as one of the family languages.
Check out these favorite sites of mine and bookmark them!
If you are excited and are ready to buy several books, things, CDs, toys – make sure you do not get them all out at the same time: savor them! Introduce one new Russian thing/book at a time. Spend time with it, use it for some time, and make sure the child takes full advantage of it. Then surprise them with another thing in Russian. Make a big deal out of it, make it fun, something they are looking forward to and cherish, and that feeling will transfer to how they feel about the Russian language too!
Have fun, play, read and talk to your children in Russian and they will surprise you!