bububooks

Helping children develop their American and native cultural identities together.

Posts Tagged ‘asian americans’

Lunar New Year Traditions Explained

Posted by bububooks on February 14, 2010

While many countries in the world celebrate the Lunar New Year (It is Feb. 14 in 2010), most Americans know it as the Chinese New Year.   Below is an article published by the Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco.  It explains traditional customs as well as modern traditions adopted by Americans of all types.  Check it out and share how you’ll celebrate the Year of the Tiger!  As for me, I’m heading down to Chicago’s Chinatown for the New Year’s Parade.  I’ll be sure to tweet about it! –Laura

Also, for activities in the classroom, check out this website: Lunar New Year Activities for Kids

Traditional Celebration of the Chinese New Year

Of all the traditional Chinese festivals, the new Year was perhaps the most elaborate, colorful, and important. This was a time for the Chinese to congratulate each other and themselves on having passed through another year, a time to finish out the old, and to welcome in the new year. Common expressions heard at this time are: GUONIAN to have made it through the old year, and BAINIANto congratulate the new year.

Turning Over a New Leaf
The Chinese New year is celebrated on the first day of the First Moon of the lunar calendar. The corresponding date in the solar calendar varies from as early as January 21st to as late as February 19th. Chinese New Year, as the Western new Year, signified turning over a new leaf. Socially, it was a time for family reunions, and for visiting friends and relatives. This holiday, more than any other Chinese holiday, stressed the importance of family ties. The Chinese New year’s Eve dinner gathering was among the most important family occasions of the year.

Sweeping of the Grounds Spring Couplet 1Spring Couplet 2
Preparations for the Chinese New Year in old China started well in advance of the New Year’s Day. The 20th of the Twelfth Moon was set aside for the annual housecleaning, or the “sweeping of the grounds“.Every corner of the house must be swept and cleaned in preparation for the new year. SpringCouplets, written in black ink on large vertical scrolls of red paper, were put on the walls or on the sides of the gate-ways. These couplets, short poems written in Classical Chinese, were expressions of good wishes for the family in the coming year. In addition, symbolic flowers and fruits were used to decorate the house, and colorful new year pictures (NIAN HUA) were placed on the walls (for more descriptions of the symbolism of the flowers and fruits.

Kitchen God
After the house was cleaned it was time to bid farewell to the Kitchen God, or Zaowang. In traditional China, the Kitchen God was regarded as the guardian of the family hearth. He was identified as the inventor of fire, which was necessary for cooking and was also the censor of household morals. By tradition, the Kitchen God left the house on the 23rd of the last month to report to heaven on the behavior of the family. At this time, the family did everything possible to obtain a favorable report from the Kitchen God. On the evening of the 23rd, the family would give the Kitchen God a ritualistic farewell dinner with sweet foods and honey. Some said this was a bribe, others said it sealed his mouth from saying bad thins.

Free from the every-watchful eyes of the Kitchen God, who was supposed to return on the first day of the New Year, the family now prepared for the upcoming celebrations. In old China, stores closed shop on the last two or three days of the year and remained closed for the first week of the New Year. Consequently, families were busy in the last week of the old year stocking up on foods and gifts. Chinese New Year presents are similar in spirit to Christmas presents, although the Chinese tended more often to give food items, such as fruits and tea. The last days of the old year was also the time to settle accumulated. debts.

Family Celebration
On the last day of the old year, everyone was busy either in preparing food for the next two days, or in going to the barbers and getting tidied up for the New Year’s Day. Tradition stipulated that all food be pre-pared before the New Year’s Day, so that all sharp instruments, such as knives and scissors, could be put away to avoid cutting the “luck” of the New Year. The kitchen and well were not to be disturbed on the first day of the Year.

The New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day celebrations were strickly family affairs. All members of the family would gather for the important family meal on the evening of the New year’s Eve. Even if a family member could not attend, an empty seat would be kept to symbolize that person’s presence at the banquet. At midnight following the banquet, the younger members of the family would bow and pay their respects to their parents and elders.

Lai-See
On New Year’s Day, the children were given Red Lai-See Envelopes , good luck money wrapped in little red envelopes. On New Year’s day, everyone had on new clothes, and would put on his best behavior. It was considered improper to tell a lie, raise one’s voice, use indecent language, or break anything on the first day of the year.

Starting from the second day, people began going out to visit friends and relatives, taking with them gifts and Lai-See for the children. Visitors would be greeted with traditional New year delicacies, such as melon seeds, flowersfruitstray of togetherness, and NIANGAO, New Year cakes.

Everybody’s Birthday
The entire first week was a time for socializing and amusement. On the streets, the stores were closed and an air of gaiety prevailed. There were numberous lion dances, acrobats, theatrical shows, and other diversions. Firecrackers, which symbolized driving away evil spirits, were heard throughout the first two weeks of the New year. The Seventh Day of the New Year was called “everybody’s birthday” as everyone was considered one year older as of that date. (In traditional China, individual birthdays were not considered as important as the New Year’s date. Everyone added a year to his age at New Year’s time rather than at his birthday.)

Lantern Festival – 15th Day
The New Year celebrations ended on the 15th of the First Moon with the Lantern Festival. On the evening of that day, people carried lanterns into the streets to take part in a great parade. Young men would highlight the parade with a dragon dance. The dragon was made of bamboo, silk, and paper, and might stretch for more than hundred feet in length. The bobbing and weaving of the dragon was an impressive sight, and formed a fitting finish to the New Year festival.

Chinese New Year Festival as Seen in the United States

The Chinse New Year celebration in San Francisco Chinatown and other Chinese American communitites should not be interpreted as direct transplants of Chinese culture. Due to differences in their social environment and physical limitations, these local celebrations have developed special characteristics of their own. Along with old customs imported directly from China, the Chinatown celebrations also contain adaptations from other cultures in the United States.

Traditional vs Modern
The first point to be noticed in comparing the Chinatown celebrations of today to that described in the preceeding section is that they have been shortened or simplified. Chinese American stores in this country do not close for a week to celebrate, nor is is likely that a Chinese American could take two weeks off from work. Therefore, many of the festivities have been adapted for the evenings or the weekends. This includes the social visits, the family dinners, and even the Chinatown parade, which is always held on a Saturday. In many Chinese American homes, the annual housecleaning is still done at New Year’s time. Spring Couplets can be seen in Chinatwon stores everywhere, but these are now bought from the Chinse Hospital as a fundraising effort – an interesting variation on an old Chinese custom.

In addition to the Spring Couplets, the Chinatown lion dances have also been promoted as a fundraising event for the Chinese Hospital. In the earlier days of Chinatown, lion dances were relatively rare. In the 1920’s, a fundraising program was started whereby lion dancers would go from store to store to dance and wish them luck. In return, storekeepers would give Lai-see packets which were donated to the Chinese Hospital.

Chinatown Festival & Parade
The Chinatown parade is a bend of typical American marching parades and the traditional Lantern Festival. Although the dragon dance is adopted from the Chinese celebration, the rest of theChinatown parade, including the beauty pageant, floats, and marching bands, was obviously inspired by non-Chinese models. The parade was first started in 1953 by the Chinese Chamber of Commerceand has since attracted thousands of spectators each year.

Family Associations
Some Chinatown festivities also reflect the earlier history of Chinese Americans. Prior to the present generation, the Chinese American community was essentially a bachelor society. Restrictive immigration laws had made it extremely difficult for Chinese families to emigrate to the United States. As a result, most Chinese Americans in the past were not able to hold family dinners at New Years’s time. In place of the family banquets, Chinatown developed a unique tradition of Spring Banquets hosted by the “ family associations” in certain Chinese restaurants. These Spring Banquets, originally developed to take the place of family dinners, are still held today, even though Chinatown is no longer a society of single men.

Terminology & Symbolism

Chinese Lunar CalendarChinese CalendarThe Chinese calendar will often show the dates of both the Gregorian (Western) calendar and the Chinese Lunar Calendar. The Gregorian dates are printed in Arabic numerals, and the Chinese dates in Chinese numerals. Chinese Lunar Calendar is based on the cycles of the moon, and is constructed in a different fashion than the Western solar calendar.

Family Associations: organized according to family surnames, such as the Wong Family Association, etc., are social clubs or lodges which were first set up in Chinatown to serve the social and personal needs of Chinese workers.

Flowers: Flowers are an important part of the New year decorations. In old China, much use was made of natural products in celebrations as well as in daily life. The two flowers most associated with the New Year are the plum blossom and the water narcissus

Lai-See Envelopes: (Also called Hong-Bao) Money is placed in these envelopes and given to children and young adults at New Year’s time, much in the spirit as Christmas presents. Presents are also often exchanged between families.

Lucky Character: The single word ” FOOK “, or fortune, is often displayed in many homes and stores. They are usually written by brush on a diamond-shaped piece of red paper.

Plum Blossoms: stand for courage and hope. The blossoms burst forth at the end of winter on a seemingly lifeless branch. In Chinese art, plum blossoms are associated with the entire season of winter and not just the New Year.

Spring Couplet 4Spring Couplet 3Spring Couplets: Spring couplets are traditionally written with black ink on red paper. They are hung in storefronts in the month before the New Year’s Day, and often stay up for two months. They express best wishes and fortune for the coming year. There is a great variety in the writing of these poetic couplets to fit the situation. A store would generally use couplets hat make references to their line of trade. Couplets that say “Happy New Year” and ” Continuing Advancement in Education” are apprpriate for a school.

SweepingOut the Old: Welcoming in the New: Old business from the past year is cleared up

Tangerines, Oranges, Pomelos: Tangerines and oranges are frequently displayed in homes and stores. Tangerines are symbolic of good luck, and oranges are symbolic of wealth. These symbols have developed through a language pun, the word for tangerine having the same sound as “luck” in Chinese, and the word for orange having the same sound as “wealth”. Pomelos are large pear-shaped grapefruits.

Tray of Togetherness: Many families keep a tray full of dried fruits, sweets, and candies to welcome guests and relatives who drop by. This tray is called a chuen-hop, or “tray of togetherness”. Traditionally, it was made up of eight compartments, each of which was filled with a special food item of significance to the New Year season.

Water Narcissus: Flower that blossoms at New Year’s time. If the white flowers blossom exactly on the day of the New Year, it is believed to indicate good fortune for the ensuing twelve months.

Chinese Zodiac: The rotating cycle of twelve animal signs was a fok method for naming the years in traditional China. The animal signs for one another in an established order, and are repeated every twelve years. 1976 was the Year of the Dragon, 1977 was the year of the Snake.


A Different New Year Book:
Learn about about Chinese New Year!

New Year Book

This teacher’s guide, produced as part of the Ethnic Heritage Studies Project of the Chinese Culture Foundation, is an effort to develop teaching materials on the Chinese New Year festival suitable for use in secondary schools. This teacher’s guide was written by Joe Huang. Requests for information concerning this manual or the Ethnic Heritage Studies Project should be addressed to the Chinese Culture Foundation, 750 Kearny Street, San Francisco, CA 94108.

This article was taken from: www.c-c-c.org


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Bilingual babies learn better!

Posted by bububooks on October 5, 2009

A man reading with his sonResearch has shown that bilingual babies learn two languages at the same pace as monolingual babies learn one language, even though they’re learning twice as much.  Even better, two researchers recently learned in their scientific study that bilingual babies are ‘flexible learners’ and use their learning skills more efficiently.  They pick up on skills faster and can apply them to other aspects in their learning. Read the article we’ve posted below by Jean Mercer, Ph.D. from Psychology Today to see her full explanation of the study and its findings.

What great encouragement to raise your kids bilingually!!

Taken from: Child Myths
Straight Talk About Child Development

by Jean Mercer, Ph.D.

Jean Mercer is a developmental psychologist with a special interest in parent-infant relationships.

Bilingual Babies: Another Myth Busted

Surprise! Bilingual babies do better at learning.

In my last post, I commented on some preferences and behaviors that help babies pay attention to talking adults and learn about language from what they hear. Babies’ social interest in other people and their attentiveness to high-pitched, emphatic speech are factors that help them learn from baby talk. When adults talk to other adults, or when television or an audiotape provides speech experience, babies don’t learn as much as they do from baby talk.

What are some other relevant factors about babies’ experience with the spoken language? One situation of considerable interest is the experience of two or more different languages, whether spoken by the same person or by different people. Many of us would guess that life could be very confusing for bilingual babies and that they might be slowed down in their general language learning. At least, that’s what many people would guess in the United States, where a large proportion of the population is monolingual, and where language learning is generally regarded as difficult. Assumptions are probably different in the many parts of the world where most people are fluent from an early age in two, three, or more languages. Different groups treasure different myths, and the one about the language difficulties of bilingual babies is one that belongs primarily to monolingual English-speaking Americans.

A recent article by Agnes Kovacs and Jacques Mehler ( “Flexible learning of multiple speech structures in bilingual infants”, Science, 2009, Vol. 325, pp. 611-612) includes some surprising reports about bilingual 12-monh-olds. For starters, Kovacs and Mehler point out previous research showing that bilingual children achieve language developmental milestones at about the same age as learners of a single language, even though that means they have to learn about twice as much. Whether they are learning one language or two, babies say their first words at an average of about 12 months ( although there are many individual differences in this, and that average is made up of babies whose first word comes anywhere from 9 months to perhaps 18 months).

Can it be that bilingual babies learn more than just language from their bilingual experiences? Kovacs and Mehler were interested in this question and wondered whether the bilingual children’s experience might help them become more efficient in understanding and using information from speech. The researchers set up a situation in which 12-month-olds could learn that the structure of a “nonsense word” would tell them whether an interesting toy was going to appear on the left or on the right. There were two kinds of nonsense words, each consisting of three syllables. For one kind, the first and the last syllables were the same, and the middle syllable was different for (instance, “lo-vu-lo”). For the other kind, the first two syllables were the same, and the last one was different (for instance, “lo-lo-vu”). The babies saw and heard the appearance of the toy and the sound pattern associated in a consistent way. “Lo-vu-lo” could mean that the toy would be on the left, and “lo-lo-vu” could mean that the toy would be on the right, for example. Kovacs and Mehler had a device that measured the babies’ eye movements and showed in which direction a baby was looking at a given time, so they could see whether each baby learned to look in the direction indicated by a particular sound pattern.

Now, here’s the myth-busting surprise: although all the babies learned that one pattern (such as “lo-lo-vu”) meant that the toy was in a particular place, only the bilingual babies learned both associations– that “lo-lo-vu” meant “look left”, and “lo-vu-lo” meant “look right.” In a further experiment, the monolingual babies could learn that a male voice saying the nonsense word meant to look one direction and a female voice meant to look the other direction, so they were capable of learning something about speech sounds and directions. But the monolingual babies did not manage to learn at this early age that different but similar sound patterns had different meanings.

Kovacs and Mehler concluded that the experience of bilingual life had made these babies “flexible learners” who could apply their very efficient learning skills to get a lot of information out of the speech sounds they heard, selecting the right response out of the two they had learned. Of course, choosing the right response is an essential part of much school performance. If you subtract even though you see a plus sign, or add even though you see a minus sign, you won’t get the right answer, no matter how many facts you know.

Watch for the first commercial application of this research– but don’t buy it unless there’s good evidence that it helps facilitate flexible learning outside the laboratory!

Thanks for reading. By the way, October 3, 2009, was the Mid-Autumn holiday in China and many other countries. We hope you enjoyed the festivities!

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Tips for teachers of English language learners

Posted by bububooks on September 13, 2009

As teachers get ready for school to start in the fall, they might consider a few tips on making students welcome who don’t speak English as a native language. More students speak Spanish as their first language than any other group in the U.S., but there are over a hundred other mother tongues spoken by kids from kindergarten to twelfth grade around this country. No one teacher can possibly know all of these. So, what’s a teacher to do? Two websites offer some practical advice:

http://www2.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=3747021&FullBreadCrumb=%3Ca+href%3D%22http%3A%2F

and http://www.colorincolorado.org/educators/reachingout/welcoming

There is plenty of research demonstrating that English language learners (or ELLs for short) learn best by drawing on what they already know. That means, they learn best when they start with the language they already speak, their native language (or L1). Children are not blank states when starting kindergarten. This tends to be an unpopular notion in many places, as it was in the Word Geek’s childhood. The idea back in the Olden Days was to punish a child for speaking anything but the “best” meaning the textbook or Standard version of English. The result was, predictably, that kids who didn’t already speak a pretty standard version quit talking altogether in school and made very little progress, then stopped going to school as soon as they could get away with it. This tended to be around the fourth grade (age 8 or 9). Or, because these children struggle to learn math and science in their L2, they get placed in special education classes in which they become bored and disgruntled. This pattern is NOT recommended!

Instead of following this mournful and unsuccessful pattern, consider the tips described by David and Yvonne Freeman at the first site above:

1. Pair a newcomer (an ELL with little or no English) with a partner who speaks his or her L1 as well as some English. Make sure the partner knows this buddy position is a prestigious job and you are very impressed at how well he or she carries it off. The buddy’s job description should include making sure the newcomer knows the class rules, gets the class assignments, and, hopefully, this buddy does some translating.

2. Invite a parent volunteer into the classroom to read aloud to the class in the L1 of the newcomer(s). If this involves showing lots of pictures, even the English speakers should get something out of it. Plus, they’ll get some idea of what it’s like to be unable to understand every word of what’s going on – empathy, in other words. Not a bad idea!

3. Let the kids speak in their L1. The Word Geek wishes to put this one up in lights, so she will repeat it in capital letters and add an exclamation mark: LET THE KIDS SPEAK IN THEIR L1! Maybe she should throw some firecrackers in to get some people’s attention here, adding extra exclamation marks for more emphasis. LET THE KIDS SPEAK IN THEIR L1!!!

4. Build a class library in the students’ L1s. It’s especially helpful if some of these books are what we once called “ponies,” in the Olden Days. That means, there is the L1 on one page. On the facing page, the same text is in English. This way, a student sees that his or her native language is respected and supported, and the child can go from the known (L1) to the unknown (L2), with a lot less pain and hassle. The Word Geek was once very fond of such ponies and still has a few in her possession.

5. Organize bilingual tutoring, for example by partnering with a teacher of a class a year or two older than your own, in which there are students who speak the same L1 as your students. These older kids who presumably also speak a little more English can help tutor your students, do a little translating. It’s good for their education and self-esteem as well as helping your students along. A person never learns better than when helping someone else learn.

6. Provide students pen pals, whether in their L1 or L2, and whether through e-mail or by means of old-fashioned pen and paper. Go to the first website above to find a couple of online sites to locate e-mail pen pals. This type of writing is a lot more interesting than writing boring sentences in response to even duller reading exercises.

7. Encourage writing in a journal, whether in the L1 or L2. Sometimes, writing about the acquisition of L2 (namely English) in the L1 is one of the best ways to get a student to think about it after school.

8. Create books of students’ own writings. That is to say, with the computer it is relatively easy to type up things that students write, duplicate them, print them out, and even bind them in inexpensive ways. These can be done in the L1 or L2. “Ponies” created in this way can be distributed to the entire class, giving a newcomer a new feeling of being part of a class, not an outsider. Many of the fonts required to print, say, Vietnamese or Arabic or whatever are already available on the internet for free – or relatively cheaply.

9. Use L1 storytellers to support the ELLs language and culture and share with the rest of the class. The teacher can help bring in the rest of the class by teaching a story ahead of time, or having the class read the story or act it out, if they are too young to read it yet. That way, no one need feel left out when the storyteller comes and speaks another language.

10. Put up the signs that are displayed in the classroom in both English and any L1s spoken by students. This shows that the L1 is valued and, therefore, the student who speaks it is also valued.

Time for an object lesson:  When the Word Geek took an introductory linguistics class in college, years ago, the professor told of taking a rabbit in a cage to a first grade classroom. The children in the classroom seemed inordinately quiet and the regular teacher agreed, saying that the kiddies were all “culturally deprived” (using the parlance of the times).

The linguistics professor said that she had a cure for that dread condition. The rabbit was part of it. She put the cage on the teacher’s desk and told the silent students that she and the other teacher had to leave the classroom for a moment. “But I need you kids to help me out,” she told them. “Mr. Bunny will get very, very sick if I go away and nobody talks to him. So, while we’re gone, you need to talk to him and keep talking until I get back. Will you do that for me?” 

The kids silently nodded.

The professor and the teacher silently left the classroom. The kids did not see, but the professor had silently started a tape recorder behind the desk.

When the professor got back, as soon as she opened the door of the classroom, the kids were quiet, so she had no idea if her plan had worked. But later, when she played the tape for the teacher, the two adults heard a great cacophony of noise. The whole time the grownups had been out of the room, all the children had been talking to that rabbit, calling him “Mr. Bunny,” telling him not to be scared, letting him know he would be all right. They did not speak perfect Standard English. But they could speak all right and their meaning was clear enough.

Why wouldn’t they talk when their teacher was there? As the professor pointed out to us, when someone gets onto you every time you open your mouth, you stop opening your mouth. So, at the risk of beating a dead horse, LET THE KIDS SPEAK IN THEIR L1. They’ll eventually get to L2 that way. But if they stop talking altogether, they’ll never get anywhere.

This article was written by Diana Gainer, the Word Geek Examiner, on http://www.examiner.com.  Laura Renner added some of her own thoughts as well.

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Teaching your kindergartener to read

Posted by bububooks on August 14, 2009

As school swings into session, we thought we should continue the learning to read checklists.  Below you’ll find Part 3 in our series.  Your child should develop the following skills throughout her kindergarten year.   Keep in mind, she won’t have these skills right away, but usually develops them by the end of kindergarten.  Be sure to talk with your child’s teacher for more details or if you have any questions while your child enters the magical world of reading!

√ My child listens carefully to books read aloud.

√ My child knows the shapes and names for the letters of the alpahbet and writes many uppercase and lowercase letters on his own.

√ My child knows that spoken words are made of separate sounds.

√ My child recognizes and makes rhymes, can tell when words begin with the same sound, and can put together, or blend, spoken sounds.

√ My child can sound out some letters.

√ My child knows that the order of letters in a written word stands for the order of sounds in a spoken word.

√ My child knows some common words such as a, the, I, and you, on sight.

√ My child knows how to hold a book, and follows print from left to right and from top to bottom of a page when she is read to in English.

√ My child asks and answers questions about stories and uses what she already knows to understand a story.

√ My child knows the parts of a book and understands that authors write words and text and illustrators create pictures.

√ My child knows that in most books the main message is in the print, not the pictures.

√ My child predicts what will happen in a story and retells or acts out stories.

√ My child knows the difference between “made up” fiction and “real” nonfiction books and the difference between stories and poems.

√ My child uses what he knows about letters and sounds to write words.

√ My child writes some letters and words as they are said to her and begins to spell some words correctly.

√ My child writes his own first and last name and the first names of some friends and family.

√ My child plays with words and uses new words in her own speech.

√ My child knows and uses words that are important to school work, such as the names for colors, shapes, and numbers.

√ My child knows and uses words from daily life, such as street names and the names for community workers–teacher, mail carrier, etc.

This information is provided by the National Institute for Literacy.  For more, please visit http://www.nifl.gov/nifl/publications.html.

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Getting your toddler ready to read

Posted by bububooks on August 10, 2009

Hello there! This blog posting serves as a ‘prequel’ of sorts to the last blog posting and focuses on getting your toddler (2 or 3 years old) ready to read.  Below is a checklist for you as you help your toddler grow with strong reading skills.  And REMEMBER: you can follow this checklist in the language YOU feel most comfortable!  Literacy skills transfer across languages, so be sure to expose your children to your native language.

√ I read with my child every day, even if it’s only for a few minutes.

√ I encourage my child to bring his favorite books to me so that we can read together.

√ I point to pictures and name them out loud, and encourage my child to point to pictures while we read.

√ I watch to see if my child sometimes makes eye contact with me when I read aloud.  That tells me she is paying attention to me and the story.

√ I talk with my child throughout the day about things we are doing and things that are happening around us.

√ I try to be patient when my child wants to read the same book over and over again.

√ I encourage my child to “play” with books—pick them up, flip them from front to back, and turn the pages.

√ Sometimes I listen when my child “pretends,” to read a book—he holds the book, goes from page to page, and says words, even though they’re not the words on the page.

√ I give my child paper and crayons so she can scribble, make pictures, and pretend to write.

This checklist was taken from the National Institute of Literacy.  More information can be found at www.nifl.gov/nifl/publications.html.  Happy reading!

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Two reasons for bububooks

Posted by bububooks on July 28, 2009

bububooks' logo

bububooks' logo

After a great weekend at Latino Expo USA and the Chicago Chinatown Dragon Boat Race for Literacy, I thought I would use today’s blog to offer two reasons to shop at www.bububooks.com

1)   Reading skills transfer across languages. Even if your child learns to read in Spanish or Chinese, they’ll be able to transfer those reading skills once they start to learn English.  Therefore, read to your child in the language you’re most comfortable.

Also, children like to read the same books over and over.  If you have two languages at home (each parent has their own dominant language), use bilingual books to read the story to your children in both languages.

The most important thing is to read to your child!  It does not necessarily have to be in English.  Read in the language you are most comfortable.

2)   These books help your child to develop their cultural identities.  The main character in most children’s books is Caucasian.  bububooks strives to offer storybooks that highlight aspects of Latino (mostly Mexican-American as of now) and Chinese culture.  Even if your child doesn’t speak a foreign language, the lack of children stories that discuss topics related to your culture will affect how they view themselves and your culture.

Thanks for your continued support.  We hope to see you at our next event or online!

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More tips for reading at home with your child

Posted by bububooks on July 24, 2009

I enjoyed these tips so much I had to share them with you.  They were written by Deanna Lyles, cofounder of Bilingual Readers, a brand new publishing company which provides resources for bilingual and multilingual families and communities.  This article was taken from http://www.SpanglishBaby.com.

A very patient Spanish speaking mom has been reading her daughter Sara’s favorite book Yo Tigre out loud to her in Spanish every night at bedtime for the last month. But tonight Mom’s out with some friends, and it’s English speaking Dad’s turn to read Sara to sleep. He dutifully pulls out adorable children’s book after adorable children’s book, but it’s no use: Sara wants Yo Tigre, and Where the Wild Things Are just isn’t going to cut it. What’s a bilingual Dad to do? Is it alright for a parent in a One Parent One Language home to break his commitment to speaking to his child only in his native language when the child’s love of reading is at stake?

Most of us are aware that reading aloud to small children is one of the greatest tools parents have for helping their children’s language development along. But when it comes to reading aloud in a bilingual home, many questions arise as to who should read to children in what languages. In OPOL homes the easy answer is that each parent should read to the child in his or her native language, but putting this principle into practice is often anything but simple.

Although they are sometimes hard to find for certain language combinations, bilingual books are one of the best tools for getting the most out of storytime in a OPOL home. While reading monolingual books to your children is certainly beneficial, bilingual books are an especially useful tool for bilingual families. Bilingual books allow both parents to take turns reading the same book to their kids, each parent in his own language. If one parent reads a book to a child in English and the other parent reads the same book in Spanish, the child will automatically begin to associate both languages with the stories and objects on the pages of the book. We all know that children love to read and be read the same stories over and over again, so hearing the exact same text in each language every time a book is read is an easy way to reinforce vocabulary and sentence structure for the bilingual child.

In addition to taking advantage of bilingual books, there are also other strategies for reading consistently to your kids while sticking to the OPOL method. Regardless of whether or not you read monolingual or bilingual books (most families will read both),establish a routine to make sure that each parent is reading to the kids in his or her language every single day. If you stick to this routine, it’ll be a great tool for developing your child’s language abilities in both languages. You can also make recordings of your voice reading your kids’ favorite stories out loud. This way your child can still listen to Mom’s soothing voice read a story in Spanish or Dad doing all the fun voices in English anytime, anywhere. (A friend confessed that these recordings are also great for long trips in the car).

Last but not least, if you’ve broken the rules and read a story to your child in your second language, don’t beat yourself up over it. While consistency is key in any bilingual home, nobody’s perfect and slipping up every once in a while will not scar your child for life. The same thing goes for those of you who may not have been consistent readers in the past. Thankfully each day is a new opportunity to read to and with your children. Happy reading!

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Big weekend coming up for bububooks!

Posted by bububooks on July 20, 2009

bububooks will have a booth at two major events this upcoming weekend in Chicago.  One will be at the Latin Family Expo at McCormick Place West July 25-28.  The other will be at the 2009 Chicago Dragon Boat Race for Literacy in the Ping Tom Memorial Park on July 25th.

Latin Expo USA

2009 Latin Expo USA

2009 Latin Expo USA

The Latin Expo USA represents a significant part of the National Council of La Raza Annual Conference.  Open to the public with free admission, the Expo will feature over 200 exhibitors (including bububooks) for you and your family to enjoy.  The Expo will also feature health and career fairs.  The schedule is as follows:

Saturday, July 25 10:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Sunday, July 26 10:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Monday, July 27 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 – 5:00 p.m.

We’ve been preparing for this big event and hope to see you there! 

Dragon Boat Race for Literacy

The Chicago Chinatown Chamber of Commerce presents the 9th annual Dragon Boat Race for Literacy. The Chinese Dragon Boat Race has a history of over 2,000 years and is a popular sport among Chinese and Asian communities all over the world. Started in 1999, the Chicago Dragon Boat Race has always been a family-fun activity enjoyed by the residents of Chinatown and the surrounding neighborhoods. Each year, almost 10,000 people watch and participate in the activities. In 2008, the event raised over $6,000 to support literacy and the promotion of culture and diversity in our local schools.  bububooks, of course, supports literacy and so we’re proud to be a part of this event! The competition begins at 9:00 a.m. and races end at approximately 4:00 p.m. Opening ceremonies begin at 8:30 a.m. Admission is free for all.  Hope to see you there!

2009 Chicago Dragon Boat Race for Literacy

2009 Chicago Dragon Boat Race for Literacy

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New book at bububooks: The Frog in the Well/井底之蛙

Posted by bububooks on July 14, 2009

 

The cover of The Frog in the Well

The cover of The Frog in the Well

The Frog in the Well retells a Chinese idiom.  Chinese idioms tend to be four characters long and paint a moral teaching.  The frog that lives in a well believes the well encompasses the entire world and that he understands it better than anyone else.  One day the frog meets a sea turtle that introduces the wide, deep ocean full of much more life than the well.  From this experience, the frog realizes a world exists outside the well.

New author Irene Tsai highlights the moral lesson that one should not be narrow-minded and, instead, be aware of the “ocean of knowledge for him to learn.”  She does so in this beautifully and clearly illustrated book—by Pattie Caprio—that includes both traditional and simplified characters along with pinyin and zhuyin.   Irene also succeeds in offering imagery for the life the frog is living, something that will certainly capture the attention and imagination of children.

Indeed, The Frog in the Well has won the Reader Views 2009 Reviewers Choice Award and has received rave reviews that are copied below.

“What a delightful book!  It has a meaningful message, and the illustrations are charming!  My father attempted to teach me Chinese when I was a child.  I would have loved this book!  I know that The Frog in the Well will be enjoyed by aspiring language students, their parents, and teachers.”
                                                                 –Dominie Soo Bush, Writer and Educator, FL

 “Irene Tsai tells stories that speak to readers of all ages.  She has a unique ability to convey classic Chinese stories by using language and tone that children today can appreciate.  She expands cultural boundaries and provides an avenue for nurturing your child’s emotional development.”
                                     –Harsh K. Trivedi M.D., Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist
                                     Brown Medical School, RI

The Frog in the Well is both beautifully written and illustrated.  The story of how the frog views his world will jump off the pages for children while educating them about Chinese culture and language.”
                                      –Tom Watkins, Michigan State Superintendent of Schools (2001-2005)
                                       Honorary Professor, Mianyang University

The Frog in the Well is now available at www.bububooks.com.  Check it out today!

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5 Easy Activities for Summer Learning

Posted by bububooks on July 9, 2009

Colorin Colorado

Colorin Colorado

Below is an article taken from Colrín Colorado, a bilingual (Spanish and English) website for families and educators of English Language Learners.  It offers five tips for helping your child continue to learn over the summer break.  Scroll down for the English version.  Enjoy!

 

Cinco consejos gratuitos y sencillos para el aprendizaje de verano

Por: Brenda McLaughlin y Jane Voorhees Sharp (2008)

Existen estudios bien documentados sobre cuánto de lo ya aprendido pierden los niños durante el verano. Harris Cooper de la Universidad Duke observa que “en general, durante el verano los niños experimentan una pérdida promedio de lo aprendido en lectura y matemáticas que equivale a un mes de aprendizaje” (1996).

La cuestión es que los niños no tienen por qué perder nada de lo aprendido durante el verano. En realidad, usted puede alentar a su hijo a disfrutar del verano y a aprender siguiendo estos cinco consejos gratuitos y sencillos. ¡Pruébelos!

1. Leer todos los días

Estudios de investigación

A nivel de la escuela media, leer cuatro o cinco libros durante el verano influye de manera positiva en el nivel de lectura que puede alcanzar el niño en otoño, comparable con la asistencia a la escuela de verano. (Kim, 2004)

Sugerencias

Lleve a sus hijos a la biblioteca con frecuencia y permítales que escojan sus propios libros. Escuchen libros en audio. Suscríbanse a una revista. Túrnense para leerle el uno al otro. Permítales a los niños quedarse despiertos hasta media hora más si es para leer.

2. Usar las matemáticas todos los días

Estudios de investigación
 

El área donde se registra la mayor pérdida que sufren los niños durante el verano es en el área de los cómputos matemáticos, a un nivel de 2.6 meses promedio de aprendizaje. (Cooper, 1996)

Sugerencias

Practiquen las tablas de multiplicar aumentando 7 veces (o hasta 8 ó 9) el valor de cada punto en un juego de baloncesto. Pídales a los niños que pidan cambio en la ventanilla de autoservicio. Enséñeles a los niños cómo ingresar en www.coolmath.com en inglés) para jugar juegos de matemáticas. Invente problemas de matemáticas cuando viajan en automóvil o durante la cena.

3. Salir a jugar

Estudios de investigación

Los programas de actividad física intensa tienen efectos positivos en los logros académicos, además de mayor concentración, mejores calificaciones en pruebas de matemáticas, lectura y escritura, y menos casos de mal comportamiento. (Journal of School Health, 1997)

Sugerencias

Busque opciones para que su hijo haga actividad durante 60 minutos por día. Sugiérale pasear el paseo del vecino, ir a nadar, jugar al badminton o al fútbol, salir a caminar o andar en bicicleta en familia. Busque formas seguras y divertidas de salir a jugar durante todo el año. Visite los sitios de Internet Los niños en su casa, PBS Padres, y los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades para consultar más ideas y información en español.

4. Escribir todas las semanas

Estudios de investigación

La mayoría de los estudiantes de primer año que ingresan en instituciones postsecundarias para cursar un título de grado deben tomar clases de refuerzo de escritura más que clases de lectura. (NCES 2003)

Sugerencias

Pídale a su hijo que les escriba una carta por semana a sus abuelos, parientes o amigos. Anímelo para que escriba un diario de verano. Pídale que escriba la lista de las compras para la familia. Organice un proyecto del amigo invisible por carta para adultos y niños en su iglesia o comunidad.

5. Hacer una buena acción

Estudios de investigación

Los estudiantes aprenden más y “actúan” menos cuando participan en actividades que ayudan a su desarrollo socioemocional, como el servicio comunitario. (The Collaborative for Academic Social and Emotional Learning, 2004)

Sugerencias

Incentive a su hijo para que ayude a sus vecinos o amigos. Puede ofrecerse como voluntario de un grupo local o participar de un proyecto educativo de servicio. Sugiérale que reserve parte de su asignación para donarla. Miren juntos el sitio de Internet Big Help de Nickelodeon (en inglés) y el sitio de Parent Link Rhode Island (en español) para tener más ideas.

 

Five Free and Easy Tips for Summer Learning: Research Pointers and What You Can Do

 

By: Brenda McLaughlin and Jane Voorhees Sharp (2005)

Research about how much children lose ground over the summer is well documented. Harris Cooper of Duke University notes, “Overall, children experience an average summer learning loss across reading and mathematics of about one month” (1996).

The thing is, though, kids don’t have to lose over the summer. In fact, you can encourage your child to have a summer of fun and learning with these five free and easy things to do. Try them out!

1. Read Every Day

The Research

At the middle school level, reading four to five books over the summer has a positive impact on fall reading achievement comparable to attending summer school (Kim, 2004).

Suggestions

Take your kids to the library often and let them choose which books to check out. Listen to books on tape. Subscribe them to a magazine. Take turns reading to each other. Allow your kids to stay up a half hour later at night as long as they’re reading.

2. Use Math Every Day

The Research

The largest summer learning losses for all children occur in mathematical computation, an average of 2.6 months (Cooper, 1996).

Suggestions

Practice the multiplication tables by making each point in a basketball game worth 7 points (or 8 or 9). Ask your kids to make change at the drive-thru. Show your child how to go to Cool Math to play math games. Make up math word problems in the car and at the dinner table.

3. Get Outside and Play

The Research

Intense physical activity programs have positive effects on academic achievement, including increased concentration; improved mathematics, reading, and writing test scores; and reduced disruptive behavior (Journal of School Health 1997).

Suggestions

Find ways to ensure your child is active for 60 minutes each day. Have him or her walk the neighbor’s dog, go swimming, play badminton or soccer, take walks, or go for family bike rides. Look for safe, fun ways to play outside together year-round. Go to Family Corner Magazine and PBS Parents for more ideas.

4. Write Every Week

The Research

More freshmen entering degree-granting postsecondary institutions take remedial writing courses than take remedial reading courses (NCES 2003).

Suggestions

Ask your child to write a weekly letter to his or her grandparents, relatives, or friends. Encourage him to keep a summer journal. Have her write the family’s grocery list. Organize a secret pal writing project for adults and kids at your church or in your community.

5. Do a Good Deed

The Research

Students learn better and “act out” less when they engage in activities to aid in their social-emotional development, such as community service (The Collaborative for Academic Social and Emotional Learning, 2004).

Suggestions

Encourage your child to help out neighbors or friends. He or she can volunteer with a local group or complete a service learning project. Suggest that your child set aside part of his allowance for charity. Look at Nickelodeon’s Big Help web site together for more ideas.

Adapted from a presentation by Brenda McLaughlin, Director of Research and Policy, Center for Summer Learning, Johns Hopkins University and Jane Voorhees Sharp, Office of Early Care and Education, New Jersey Department of Human Services.

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