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Off topic: Bilingual, but writing the 'second' language?
Thread poster: TimDunkerley
Italian to English
Sep 23, 2004

Hi, this is my first contribution to this site. I'm English, long resident in Italy, with an Italian wife and two children, 4 and 9. I've always spoken English to both, and I speak Italian with my wife. Nicole, 9, cannot be identified as not being an English girl when she speaks, and her reading is also on par with a native English 9 year-old. She sits out of English lessons at school, reading her books. Problem: she cannot write (spell) correctly. Any suggestions? I'm not so much looking for theory as much as material (CD-roms, books, activities)which she could use while her 'Italian' classmates are studying English. One interesting unrelated point: Nicole made the change from speaking to me in Italian to speaking to me in English at the age of four, and made the change in the time it took me to take my mother to the airport and come home. I opened the door and she simply spoke English. Thanks in advance for any help!

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Berni Armstrong  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:00
+ ...
Reader Rabbit Sep 23, 2004

My six year old loves Reader Rabbit software.

More if any ideas occur to me. I'm on a deadline run at the moment


I'm sure there must be loads of "help your child with spelling" software available as spelling is a cross that "native" children also have to bear. Your younger one might like RR when she gets a bit older though.

An easy idea would be to prepare texts with some "commun speling erors" using WORD and get your daughter to guess why the spell checker was underlining them in red. Answers would only be a right click away

[Edited at 2004-09-23 20:02]

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Clare Barnes  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:00
Swedish to English
+ ...
books Sep 23, 2004

There is a series of books that correspond to the National Curriculum and are published by Egmont. For reading and writing there are six books: one with Skills and one with Practice for Writing, Spelling and English.

I've used these with a number of bilingual children and they have been very popular - and effective - not least because they have sheets of gold stars in them so that each completed page is "rewarded" with a shiny star. They also have progress charts and a few tips for parents, but each page is self-explanatory really.

Incidentally they also have an equivalent range for maths - I don't know what Italy is like, but here in Sweden even the maths uses different symbols and expressions.

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Kemal Mustajbegovic  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:00
English to Croatian
+ ...
THRASS - excellent tool Sep 24, 2004

We use THRASS program with our students of English as a second language and find it very useful.

For more info just follow this link


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Italian to English
Thanks for help so far Sep 24, 2004

Didn't expect replies so quickly! Thanks and keep the coming! Tim.

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Renate FitzRoy  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:00
English to German
+ ...
simply make your child enjoy writing! Sep 29, 2004

We had a similar problem when we moved from Germany to Britain. Our daughter could speak and read English, but could not spell. When we were on holiday, my sister-in-law took her children and our daughter (they were between 8 and 11) for an hour every day and made them describe a picture or write about what had happened the previous day. This went on for six weeks, and she was fine. Of course, she had the strong motivation of wanting to fit in at the new school.

Our younger one - who started school then - first wrote letters in German in "creative spelling" until he attended German classes when he was 16. He was always a good speller in English and got his head round German spelling very quickly.

I think as long as your child is given the opportunity to write in English and enjoys it, you can try and correct it as far as it does not annoy her. Some children can be put off if too much pressure is put onto them. I strongly believe in using a child's own creativity. Would she be able to join her classmates for spelling tests? With your second child, I would consider starting him or her off in another language to avoid boredom.

best wishes


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