I have been searching the web as usual for the best free online Arabic stories for kids, stage 1. I have found a very useful post by another lady blogger with a list of free simple downloadable picture books. You can access the link here. The link will redirect you to Scribd, where you can download the stories straight away.
Why is reading to your child is a great way of learning a new language? Simply because it's a way of contextualizing and visualizing the language. An interesting article has caught my attention about the importance of listening and the audio aspect of learning languages (You can access it here). Consider how babies learn speech. They mainly listen and then try imitate sounds by babbling and cooing. Then, they move on to being able to speak the language to some degree, despite not being able to read or write yet. It will take years of schooling from the very first year they enroll into formal education to actually master reading and writing in their native language.
The article thus suggests simulating the natural way of learning by utilizing listening and face-to-face interaction, even taking up audio courses. Perhaps, this is why also many people claim that traveling is the best way to learn a language of the visited country. So, needless to say, if you speak Arabic, start talking more in Arabic to your child. It's never too late. Also, start reading to them in Arabic.
Personally, I have used English 90% of the time bringing up Angela. I have doubted to a certain extent her ability to learn two languages, due to her speech delay. I was worried that I would confuse her and chose to focus on her getting on with English first, the language that she will use at school. However, now that she is four and has started speaking in English, I decided to focus more on the Arabic. This is how my learning journey has begun.
Yesterday, we read simple bedtime stories from an App that I recently downloaded and recommended for your use as well (you can find it here). There was an alien look on Angela's face, as it was a totally new experience, different from the English bedtime stories routine. However, I remembered how when I used to read to her in English at first, how she used to give me the same looks when we would start a new or unfamiliar story. But I also recalled how after some time, and it did not take long, she would be able to engage. She could remember events from the stories read and answer simple questions.
I guess the key is persistence and repetition, speaking from personal experience. Learning Arabic for kids can be fun and all-encompassing, involving reading time, speech, television, games, and one-on-one teaching.
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