Sounding It Out

For five years now, we’ve been reading daily as a family in the Spanish language. Reading in Spanish is predictable; there are few exceptions. Though our accents aren’t perfect, at this point, we are all able to sound out any Spanish word.

Learning to read Spanish is a huge help to all of us, but especially to my children with dyslexia. They cannot guess at the Spanish word, instead, they need to slow down and read each syllable. Since many Spanish and English words have similar spellings, the pronunciation depends on the context.

As we’ve studied Spanish, we’ve increased the presence of Spanish in our home: with phone and computer accounts in Spanish, and Spanish phrases hung on the walls.

Recently, my youngest child sat in the front seat of the car, a privilege usually reserved for older siblings. She looked at the stereo system and asked, “oh, when did you shift it into Spanish?” Confused, I explained the stereo was still in English. She read the message, using Spanish pronunciation, “No Audio De…” In reality the message was in English about the bluetooth connectivity: “No Audio Device.” But the message was too long to fit onto one screen, so only the first portion was displayed.

I loved that her first guess was, “this message must be in Spanish.”

I really enjoy participating in all the parts of educating my children, but especially in language acquisition. I would never have guessed how much we would love learning a second language together.

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