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Picture books and activity books to help raise children bilingually

For children to develop language skills it is

important to give them a lot of stimulation

with books, toys, walks in the park, visits to

museums or amusement parks, cooking

together etc. and a chance to communicate

about all of these experiences. 

To introduce a second language to children

it is good to use the same kind of input

and to start offering these materials and

experiences to the child when they are very young.

Picture books are an ideal way for children to

develop an interest and ability in a second

language and here I would like to introduce

the mpi Phonics series of picture books with

accompanying activity books.

All of the books use simple language with a

simple story and attractive pictures. Each

book tells a standalone story i.e. the theme,

characters and storyline in each book are all

completely different.

The activities in each activity book are simple

and fun and linked to the theme and

vocabulary used in the specific picture book.

 

So there are nine picture books, nine activity

books and nine DVDs in the series.

Originally designed for teachers to use with

young learners in the classroom in Japan,

these books are also just right for parents/

grandparents to use with young children at

home. 

As there is close supervision of the child by

the parent/grandparent, it is possible to use

the books in this series for a much younger

age group than in a classroom setting.

 

I have been reading the picture book

A Trip to Grandma's House to my

grandchild, Melissa, since she was a

small baby.

Melissa's mother is British/Japanese and her

father is Japanese and she is being raised

bilingually in Japan.

Even at two weeks old, she used to look at

the pictures in the book intently and tune in

while the book was read to her.

By the time she was three she had already

memorized the whole story and was "reading"

it to her baby brother.

At this stage I introduced the activity book as well.

 

 

The story is about a family of bears who are

helped by shapes (circles, triangles, rectangles

and squares) to get to grandma's house.

They encounter various problems such as a

river, a mountain and darkness and the shapes

help them overcome these hurdles.

So the activities in the activity book are based

on shapes, nature, animals and family

members.

There are stickers, coloring and matching

activities, as well as a board game and pages

for the child to make his/her own pictures.

Melissa particularly liked the sticker activities

and searching for shapes in her surroundings.

Even now, days later, she is still telling me

that she has found a rectangle shape in the

door, or that a table she finds is circular.

These activity books are a springboard for

lots of conversation and are really great fun

for family members to enjoy together! 

 

For more information in Japanese see mpi Phonics

 

  

   

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

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