Russian Language 

             for bilingual children

 

If you mainly speak English (or another language) at home but you want your children to be able to talk to their grandparents, aunties, uncles and cousins during family visits to Vologda, Saratov or Novgorod, then it is worth taking care of their Russian skills. 

My widest group of clients are Russian speaking parents of bilingual children, especially first-generation immigrants in the UK, who still have strong connections with friends and families back in Russia. Rightfully, the adults are anxious about the fact that their children are not being exposed to the great heritage of the Russian language and culture. Some feel it would be irresponsible to deprive a child of the opportunity to read Pushkin, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky and other wonderful Russian writers in the original. Besides, knowledge of Russian is an advantage to your child's CV in the future.

Many parents in bilingual families make a lot of effort to speak Russian at home whenever they can, so their children often develop the receptive (passive) language: they understand Russian speech at a domestic level and might be taught beginner reading and writing skills. The challenge, in this case, is to master the productive (active) language. Therefore, overcoming the barrier to using the Russian language orally becomes the main focus at teaching bilingual children alongside extending their Russian vocabulary beyond the domestic level. This is achieved using teaching techniques appropriate to your child's age, such as language games with younger children and developing topical projects and discussion with teenagers.

Reading and writing exercises are also essential since they provide learners with strong visual support and activate motoric memory. As pupils progress, the elements of Russian literature are introduced, which open the door to familiarising the children with their invaluable cultural heritage.

 

 

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