Language Lizard invites you to Celebrate the Bilingual!
For over a decade, Language Lizard has celebrated bilingual children every October. Even though October has just turned to November, bilingual children can (and should!) be celebrated all year round. So, today let us explore the history of this monthly celebration, learn how you can celebrate, and find out about Language Lizard’s newest Bilingual Book Giveaway!
Why do we “Celebrate the Bilingual Child”?
A little more than 20% of people in the United States are bilingual. That percentage has doubled since the 1980s and will continue to grow in the future. Back in 2006, Language Lizard established “Celebrate the Bilingual Child Month” in order to recognize the special contributions of bilingual children. Having a month set aside each year to celebrate the glories and joys of something as fantastic as childhood bilingualism is a wonderful way to instill pride in bilingual children and involve bilingual families in classroom activities. Let’s encourage literacy and parental involvement, and celebrate the children who work so hard to learn a second language.
Every year Language Lizard puts together information to support you in the classroom and at home with your bilingual children. Here is a list of useful resources, to help you find bilingual books for the classroom, activities, and background information about the benefits of bilingualism. In 2020, Language Lizard specifically highlighted multicultural games, food, and music.
How can you celebrate?
Invite parents to read bilingual books out loud
Ask the parents of your students if they would be willing to come to class at a set time to help read a bilingual book out loud to the students. The parent can read one sentence or page in his or her language and you can read the same sentence or page in English. There are so many ways you can make this interactive and fun for both the parents and the students.
Highlight children in other countries
Find some well-made videos of children doing everyday tasks in their home countries. For example, children going to school, helping around the house, going shopping with family and playing games can be especially insightful for students in your class. You can find a number of these on YouTube or ask other teachers what they would recommend.
Show different alphabets
Many students have no idea that some languages are written with different letters, written scripts and characters. Try to learn how to pronounce a few words in different alphabets and scripts so that you can share them with your students. Discuss the similarities and differences. Even better: help children write a few Chinese characters or Arabic words! You can spend many days focused on how to write letters and words in different alphabets, and you can even invite a bilingual parent to help out.
Have parents bring in traditional foods
There is nothing more fun than trying foods from different countries. Ask parents if they can bring some of their traditional foods and have a potluck! Ask the parents to briefly introduce each of their foods at the potluck so that the others can learn something about each dish. Make sure to have fun with this event: children should be allowed to say what they really think of each food in a respectful way.
Throw a party
Children remember things that involve planning, fun, and celebration. What better way to celebrate the bilingual child than with a real, live party. Have balloons, music from different cultures in different languages, and games. There is no need to make everything specifically about languages and cultures. Just have fun! But make sure children know that the reason for the party is to celebrate the wonders and joys of bilingualism.
Language Lizard highlights their Celebrate Diversity Sets. These sets provide a great way to build community in your classroom. They also secure teachers and homeschooling parents with the tools they need to celebrate diversity in the classroom and at home. Each set comes with 10 popular bilingual books and a copy of Building Bridges With Bilingual Books And Multicultural Resources (a teacher resource guide with lesson plans for each book in the set).