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Teaching Your Child a New Alphabet

We're on our way! Our three-year-old has officially turned the page from delivering one line urgent requests like "I want chocolate / Dai mi schoko!" (read about how our bilingual journey began) and has claimed the debate stage with well thought out responses and rebuttals. It still tickles me to hear him tell Daddy to stop eating his cookies in Serbian and then turn around and ask me for more cookies in English. So far, it's been a fun ride and now that he's good friends with the ABCs and we change gears towards actually learning how to read and write, it's time for me to really make use of as many visual and audio aids as possible to teach him the Cyrillic alphabet. Here's what we're working with:

1. Puzzles. From wooden crafts that make sounds to those that he nibbled on as a teething baby, puzzles from the Serbian brand PinoToys are great teaching tools. Similar to the popular Melissa & Doug alphabet puzzles, they provide images to help children with pronunciation. Attending an English speaking preschool has my son favoring the Latin alphabet so I'm really hoping that visiting again with some of his favorite toys from his first years helps him become more comfortable pairing Serbian sounds with the Cyrillic symbols.

2. Books. Vocabulary building is all about repetition. We're making use of our colorful Serbian Publik Praktikum baby picture books (that I just love) filled with everything from animals, fresh produce, and seasons of the year to all sorts of automotive and aviation vehicles.

3. Posters. Excellent visual materials to mount on walls and doors, posters are essential for early learning. They're helpful for me as well since I still haven't memorized the Serbian azbuka. Like my mom used to do with impressive images from old magazines, I laminate the DinoLingo vocabulary posters to use as placemats for mealtime learning.

4. Technology. It's all around us so we might as well make good use of the educational technology oozing out of our portable computer devices. Language apps designed for children are almost as popular as photo editing programs (read more about Apple-Babies and Toddler Techs). As you may recall from last year's post, I'm fanatic about DinoLingo and now they have an app for Mac and PC (get 20% off plus free shipping this weekend with coupon code: weekend20).

Do you have any tips for teaching your child a new alphabet? My little guy is still hovering over his Latin letters, but I told Daddy it's time to shift Cyrillic into high gear. I'll be sure to keep you posted on our alphabet progress.