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Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Caught by Surprise--ESL Needs

When I started this blog a little over a week ago, I knew there was a need for information among the parents of gifted and reluctant readers. Since starting the blog, I have been tracking from where my visitors have been coming. I expected to get information seekers from the US, Canada, and even from Great Britain and Australia, and they came. What I hadn't expected to see was visitors from Germany, South America, Mexico, Portugal, Moscow, South Africa, India, Malaysia, Tokyo, and so on. I looked at a map with little flags marking each represented country when I came to the startled realization that there must be a need for content suitable for children for whom English is a second (or third or fourth, or fifth) language. Now that I've come to this realization, I will try to include material and recommendations that cover ESL needs as well.

What would help me is for any and all of you to make comments on my blog entries and let me know what your specific needs are. I lived in Germany twice for a total of five years and speak enough of the language to be able to each self-defense auf Deutsch. I lived in Korea for almost three years and speak just enough of that language to be dangerous to myself. I've traveled in Japan and picked up a little of that language while studying Judo. I've traveled throughout Europe and was able to always get by, language-wise. My point is, I am sensitive to the needs of parents who want to see their children improve their language studies. India is a good example. They speak at least fourteen different languages and goodness knows how many dialects. That's why they use English as a common language and seek to improve their English fluency. The Netherlands is another good example. I could always find a German speaking native if they didn't speak English.

One night in a Gasthaus in Austria, four of us (all strangers) kept a fantastic conversation going for hours in English, Spanish, Italian, German, and Czech. What an interesting evening that was. The Mexican engineer was studying English in London. The Czech lady worked as a translator and spoke German, Italian, and Russian. Her Italian boyfriend only spoke Italian but was able to communicate quite a lot to the Spanish speaking Mexican. I spoke German and a little Russian and had been trained to sing in Italian and to speak Latin. I'll never forget the experience!

As a book reviewer, I get a lot of excellent English / Spanish bi-lingual children's books sent to me. I'll certainly pass on some of those reviews to you. Unfortunately, I don't see many other bi-lingual language combinations; however, I do recognize those books that make for good translation exercises and will point those out.

Again, let me know your needs!

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