DH is Israeli and I am presently living in Israel. DH's family speak Hebrew and when/if DS goes to school in Israel, he will learn in Hebrew. Hebrew is a completely different alphabet and is read right to left.
I am wondering if there are any other Hebrew/English Arabic/English (I profess to be very ignorant and not know if there are any other languages that write from right to left) mamas out there who are exposing their children to both alphabets. Does it confuse the children as they start to learn their letters?
She is also learning Bengali (which reads left to right) but we haven't introduced the characters very much yet.
Three big girls (10) + (almost 9!);
One little boy (6) and a full on toddler (8/12) born with TAPVR (repaired at 6 days old).
DS learned both his aleph-bet (Hebrew alphabet) and the Engilsh alphabet around the same time- we've always had Hebrew letter toys and things in our house (at the very least we've had dreidles and prayerbooks)
He went to Jewish preschool where he was formally taught both alphabets, as well as getting more exposure to Hebrew being read from right to left. He was taught to read both languages in Kindergarten (when, IMO, he wasn't ready to read even one language and it's STILL messing up his desire to read!)
Now, in 2nd grade, he can read both languages quite fluently and doesn't get mixed up with the directions of the sentence structure. His handwriting is equally bad in both languages. He's got a host of issues with Hebrew vocabulary and comprehension (and is so far behind the rest of his class that he's learning nothing) but reading and writing aren't problems for him.
I would simply read to your DS in English and have other family members read to him in Hebrew- just let him get exposed to both languages. At 10mo, he's NOT set in "one direction to flip through books"- many kids who are only learning one language don't have that concept mastered until age 5 or 6.
Ruth, single mommy to 3 quasi-adults
They both speak a little, whatever comes in their heads first. One of my kids was more English oriented. The other more Hebrew oriented. I would just remark when they brought me a hebrew book that this was Hebrew and for Daddy to read. To please bring me an English one.
They both know which way to read each book. They have the orientation down. Even my 2 year old can find a hebrew or english book if I ask for it. They realise the difference in alphabets.
I wouldn't sweat it. Try to use more English. The more they hear you use English words in different contexts the better their vocabularies and accents will be.
ANd don't think that what is happening now (or next month or even year) is any long term indication about where they will be language-wise 15 years down the line. Deal with the cards you are dealt and play each hand as it comes up.
Another thing we have that I love is cookie cutters in the hebrew aleph-bet. One for each letter. This has been great fun- she plays with them with play dough and we make cookies. With the cookies, often I will tell her "Okay, this time you can have "dalet" and she'll need to find the right one to eat! She loves it of course and is highly motivated! I bought the cookie cutters in Israel, at a Stemansky book store for maybe 30 shekels. Well worth it!!!
We've found that fostering an interest in language and reading/writing comes mostly from our own example of enjoying it- we read constantly ourselves, and will happily read to DD who is 3 any time she wants to...have fun, have the languages around, and your DC will learn!
Great advice and I am glad to hear that there are little ones who are managing just fine with two alphabets and right/left left/right.
Apparently doing it rong and ruining it for everyone, but I don't give a crap anymore.
For us (Arabic and English) it hasn't been a problem. The kids (DS1, 5, and DS2, 3) just somehow get it. They know to open the Arabic books the other way.... know when they're writing (or pretend writing) that Arabic goes Right to Left.
I mainly read to them in English... and DH read to them in Arabic like one book per year. Still, they somehow figured it out. English is by far the dominant language... so right now, we're trying to expose them more to Arabic-language stuff.
Mom to DS(8), DS(6), DD(4), and DS(1). "Kids do as well as they can."
Also, when they are very little, when they read books it's more for the aural language experience, and looking at the pictures. I think, if they grow up seeing both languages then it won't be confusing. Although, if they are suddenly trying to learn both at the same time (eg in preschool, where they might learn both the English and Hebrew alphabets one letter per week, so are learning the same or similar sounds in two languages simultaneously) then it can get confusing for some kids. Personally, my kids all were able to recognize all of the English alphabet by the time they started school, and were familiar enough with Ivrit that it wasn't a problem for them.
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