For parents of multilingual children, libraries can be a great resource, although non-English titles in North American libraries can be limited. But that's changing, as librarians are becoming more attuned to their community's needs and the increasing diversity of cultures and languages spoken across the US and Canada.
Arabic children's books are increasingly making an appearance, much to the delight of parents on the hunt for resources to reinforce their children's understanding of Arabic. While some libraries do a great job of advertising these diverse titles, many community members still don't know they have access to multilingual books.
We know that reading doesn’t begin at school or when kids are old enough to spell out the words on a page. Reading begins when a child is just a few months old and reading becomes part of their daily routine, most likely as they cuddle up with a parent for bedtime.
When kids are too young to read or even speak, parents should focus on making reading fun and enjoyable. But what about when kids have other distractions that may not keep them as engaged as they once were? We have found these steps help us keep our kids engaged in Arabic reading.
When it comes to teaching one’s children Arabic, in a non-Arabic speaking country, and in the face of technology and shortened attention spans, there’s not much in the way of “past experience.” Yes, many of our parents had to teach us Arabic too, but for most, it was their dominant language as immigrants to the US or Canada. For second or third generation Arab-Americans, that is not the case. So the challenge is even more daunting but the desire to maintain one’s connection to their heritage, faith, and culture is strong enough to motivate many of us to stick to it.
We asked ourselves and other parents teaching their kids Arabic about the mistakes they made in their journey and we found several common answers. Here are the top five mistakes parents make when teaching their kids Arabic, and ways to avoid them (if you’re new to this) or fix them (if you’ve already made some).