My child seems embarrassed when I speak to him in my native language. What can I do?
Help your child see that speaking another language is something to be proud of. You can share your pride in your language and your culture in a number of ways. Talk about family photos and events and special people in your lives. Tell your child about traditions and celebrate them together. Read fairy tales, myths, and other stories from your culture. Reading and talking about these stories will help your child learn new words and explore new concepts. At the same time, these stories will help your child learn about and take pride in your cultural values and traditions.
My cousin just came to this country and doesn't speak English. How can she help her toddler learn English?
Even if your cousin doesn't speak English, she can build connections with English-language speakers. She can take her toddler to story hour at her local public library. These times often include songs and finger plays in addition to a story read aloud by a librarian. Trips to the playground will also provide her child with opportunities to play alongside English-language speakers. Such activities will not only help her child learn English, but can help your cousin learn English as well.
What else can I do to help my child become a reader and writer?
Regardless of the language you use with your child, you can extend his literacy skills by reading, writing, and talking together as much as possible. Make shopping lists and write letters to special people together. Look at cookbooks and make your child's favorite recipes together. Tell stories together and write them down so you and your child can revisit them later. Read different types of books together, from poetry to storybooks to nonfiction. Talk to your child about the books he reads, his experiences, and what he imagines. By talking and reading to your child each day, by reading and writing yourself, and by listening to your child read to you, you will encourage a love of language and a lifelong love of reading.