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We live in Mexico on the Texas border and we are looking into either...montessori or private school and even homeschool. I feel very lucky that we live in Mexico and close to Texas to american schools. However...a teacher friend suggested that I put my 5yo in a private Mexican..spanish speaking school so that he learn to read spanish first. She said that you only learn to read once???? And that once he knows spanish....english reading will come easy to him because his native tongue is english. My son does speak spanish...not fluently...but enough to play and get along with other children.<br>
Any ideas or thoughts on this?
 

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i learned to read french in junior high school. the only spoken french i can do is recited peoms and standard tourist phrases and such, but if i can take my time to read it, i am pretty proficient. so, i learned to read twice.<br><br>
i would agree that its generally easier for a young child to learn 2 languages at once than it is for an adult to learn a 2nd one...
 

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Well... I'm a curriculum specialist who's currently HEAVILY involved in bilingual curriculum planning, so I have a lot of thoughts. But mostly questions <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">.<br><br>
What does the program look like?<br><br>
Is it intended for fluent speakers of Spanish, fluent speakers of English, or a mix of the two?<br><br>
Do the students receive instruction in both languages, but start out doing oral English and do all their written work in Spanish, or is it a full immersion program where Spanish is the only language used (both are decent options, but will make a difference in what you should look for)?<br><br>
What is the certification of the teachers at the school? Are they well-educated in bilingual education?<br><br>
What do YOU want your DS to be able to do, language-wise? Is bilingualism an outcome you want?<br><br>
Starting reading and writing in one language does NOT mean you are stuck reading and writing in that language. If your child is fluent in English, learns to read/write/listen/speak in Spanish at a good immersion school, and then later learns to write in English, he will do just fine. He may struggle with spelling for a while (English orthography is tricky), but if his spoken grammar is good, so shall be his written grammar. A good immersion program will respect his understanding of English, while developing a fluency in Spanish.<br><br>
Sooooooo.. I'd look closely at the quality of the program and its instructors (if you have specific questions, feel free to PM me), but my short answer is... Yes. If you have the knowledge of "print" as a system of language conveyance (and your DS would have that understanding, having learned it in the immersion program), and you have strong oral language (written language, after all, being an artifically-created represenation of spoken language), you can learn to read/write as many languages as you want.<br><br>
I'm currently chin-deep in bilingualism and immersion theory, research, and educational practice. Sorry if this was more info than you were looking for.
 

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We're unschooler.,but in you particular situation I'll tend to agree with the teacher recommendation.<br>
My LO is complete bilingual,but her tongue language is English, even though at home the communication is 100% Spanish. She's teaching herself to write in English but we read many book in Spanich with enfasis in the sound and how the words are. For her english is everywhere. Saddly not to many Spanish speakers in the State knows reading and writting.
 

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I'm coming at this from the perspective of having a child in language immersion in the US. Dd is 8 now, finishing up 2nd grade, and she started in the 3yo program at her school, so she's been there 5 years. The teachers have all been native Spanish speakers (a couple have not even spoken any English) from Central America, South America, and Spain.<br><br>
We also speak another language at home... one of my dh's native languages that is not a romance language. His language doesn't use the latin alphabet.<br><br>
Of all the languages, English was hardest because it's not phonetic (one letter-one sound). There are more exceptions to the rules than there are rules when reading English. Dd was an early reader and we encouraged her to learn to read in English first. She was reading smaller chapter books (like Magic Tree House) in English around 5 yo when she was in Kindergarten and they were teaching reading in Spanish at school at a more basic level. (Her school is one-way immersion, meaning she gets all of her instruction in the target language.)<br><br>
Spanish was A BREEZE when she learned it. She was thrilled to learn that one letter has one sound. After all of the complications of English, there was literally no effort to learning how to read in Spanish.<br><br>
My suggestion, based simply on this and this alone, is to teach how to read in English first. Then you have the more complicated one out of the way. As for fluency, dd is native speaker fluent in both, so vocabulary, etc. was not an issue for her.
 

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My dd learned to read spanish first. The phonetic language really helped her to develop great fluency when she started on english. I think learning to read spanish is the key that made her such a great reader....so I'm for spanish first.
 

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Hi there, from another border zone mom! I live just south of the border from San Diego.<br><br>
Anyhow - we are homeschooling. But if we weren't, I would probably pick a private Mexican school over either public or private American school (in fact, I've even heard really good things about the public school in my neighborhood). Anyhow, if I were going to send my kids to school here for my youngest, I would probably start him in a full Spanish language school (the older two would probably need a bilingual school). Like a pp said, reading in Spanish is so, so much easier than in English. Does your son speak much Spanish? If not, sending him to school here would be a really good opportunity to learn the language quickly. We've been here a little over a year, and while my kids are picking up Spanish here and there, it's slow going. I'm pretty sure they would be nearing fluency by now if they were going to school here.<br><br>
I realized I didn't answer - I would say Spanish first.
 

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In your situation, my take is that you have multiple routes to mastery of both languages. You do want formal instruction in both languages at a reasonably young age so the child uses the language and learns the grammer. American-raised children who grow up hearing parents or grandparents speak the language, without actually using it themselves ("heritage speakers"), usually understand very well but have flaws in spelling and grammar and can have difficulty overcoming that difficulty as adults.<br><br>
Personally, I would not worry about reading, which will be fine either way, but first on how you feel about the schooling options--which schools have teachers who will engage them in learning, parenting circles you want to be part of, approaches to learning that make sense to you? And then make sure there is a route to formal study of both languages.<br><br>
I mean, the people I know who grew up going to schools in other countries talk about enjoying how challenging the work was, or the people they met, or something, you know? The reading is a small part of it, IMO.<br><br>
Heather
 

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Wow these are some really great responses....honestly we havent researched at the actual schools yet...were just entertaining the idea at the moment.<br>
My husband is on the fence...somedays he says lets send him to school on the Texas side...then other days he's talking about unschooling...he never liked school as a child. He also taught himself english in the process. I see that you all are mixed on....spanish/english first. So that tells me that there really is not much of an issue with one or the other.<br>
We have plans of traveling to another country in the next year or 2. So I really think that the private spanish school, that would be in Mexico...would be the best bet. Or even continue with our unschooly life style too...ummmmm<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/eyesroll.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="roll">
 

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My friend's family is bilingual Spanish/English. She teaches her children to read in English first as Spanish comes so easily afterward. I have no idea which way is better! She feels that since Spanish is so phonetic it comes very quickly. However she thought it would make English more difficult because then they would expect it to follow the phonetic rules as closely as Spanish does.<br><br>
Her older two are fluent readers in both languages. Her youngest is 3.5 and starting to read in English. They are all fluent speakers of both languages.
 

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I have a child in a Spanish immersion school - kids come from both Spanish and English speaking backgrounds. All of the instruction is in the target language (i.e. Spanish).<br><br>
She's actually learning to read in both Spanish and English simultaneously, Spanish at school, and English at home. Her Spanish reading is a bit ahead of her English, due to, I think, the phonetic nature of Spanish, and her English spelling is lagging, but she's only in Kindergarten.<br><br>
I would second the notion of making sure it's a quality school first, and a place that you want your child to be.
 
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