My Son Wants to Learn Spanish

He’s 12. He wanted to use up his savings to buy Rosetta Stone. But, really his monolingualism isn’t anything that an immersion experience couldn’t fix to a certain extent. In the end he settled on taking accelerated Spanish next year in the 7th grade.

At the same time, he WAS bilingual. I remember that his receptive Spanish was pretty good when he was about 5 and he was putting sentences together (even though some were somewhat ungrammatical). I ran across his test scores from when he participated in the norming study on the Bilingual English Spanish Assessment. His scores in syntax and semantics were much better in English (a good 20% higher), but his Spanish scores were well within the expected range for his age for Spanish speakers. So, what happened??

Life actually. He was in a wonderful bilingual preschool for 2 years- Escuelita del Alma. But, in kindergarten, he went to an all English class. We considered putting him in the bilingual class, but he was super shy and we worried that his shyness would interfere with his access to curriculum in either language. At the time, there wasn’t a dual-language program at the school (although there is now). The next year I went on sabbatical and there was not a bilingual option there.

Later, bilingualism wasn’t in the mix. What kind of mother/researcher am I that my son is not bilingual?? I think what happens is that you make decisions on a day-to-day basis. You do what works for you in the moment for your child for your circumstances. My son though, does hear Spanish often. A couple of years ago we spent some time in Mexico. He had a blast hanging out with cousins speaking the international languages of x-box and Wii. Since that time, I think his interest was piqued and now he’s elected to Spanish in school. Luckily, I will be able to support this in school and with his fairly solid comprehension, I hope that he will make rapid progress. I don’t think it’s too late.

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  1. #1 by Aamba on June 16, 2010 - 12:16 pm

    I’m very curious to hear how this goes for him. I’m interested in learning if there is an advantage later for young kids who started out bilingual.

  2. #2 by Tyeisha on August 2, 2010 - 8:55 am

    I am sure that your son will be able to pick up on Spanish fairly rapidly if it is a goal for him. I started learning Spanish formally around his age and I get by fairly well. I think his motivation will help him to excel.

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