Teaching Your Child A Second Language with Habbi Habbi Reading Wand & Bilingual Books
Trying to find ways to teach your child a second language that doesn’t involve you crying in the corner? Writer, Author and Mama of two, Summer Land, is here to share her tips, tricks and love of the bilingual books & reading wand for kids from HABBI HABBI.
One of my fondest memories from elementary school is playing Spanish Bingo with our school’s Spanish teacher, Ms Castaños. Always dressed in brightly colored woven clothing and accessories from her native Guatemala, her enthusiasm for her culture and patience with kids made learning a second language feel exciting and fun.
She encouraged us to subscribe to the Spanish kids magazine, ¿Que Tal?, cook her favorite recipes (Pepian!), and sing-a-long to the Spanish covers of pop songs. This is showing my age, but YES, I can sing the Spanish language version of I Turn To You by Christina Aguilera aka Por Siempre Tú.
Fast forward to high school and I continued to conjugate verbs with ease and confidently change the tense of a passage of text from present to past or future tense. I joined the Spanish club in tenth grade, visited Spain twice and have continued to use Spanish to this day. I firmly believe that this is a testament to my school’s decision to expose us to a second language from Kindergarten.
Today, I’m the mother of a seven-year-old and five-year-old and am hoping to instill the same love of learning a second language in my own children. While I absolutely adore their school, they do not have any designated time or resources for learning a second language. I would love to say that I’ve filled the gap by making at-home Spanish classes a daily practice, but the truth is I had not done this until recently. (Yet another thing I can add to my Things I Feel Guilty About list….)
A few months ago, I learned about HABBI HABBI Reading Wand & Bilingual Books and was immediately intrigued.
What are HABBI HABBI Books and Reading Wand?
Designed for kids age 3 to 10, HABBI HABBI books are sturdy interactive board books that teach children Spanish and/or Chinese. They come with a magic Reading Wand that makes the books come alive. Tap the text, and kids hear words, phrases, sentences read aloud by a native speaker. The books are full of content beyond what is printed. When kids tap the illustrations, they hear additional contextual phrases, sound effects, or musical tunes. Every inch is tappable – including the white space and even the cover, so it’s incredibly easy for kids to use, and there is always some feedback to keep them engaged.
The content is also thoughtful – in addition to first words & phrases, the books teach kids how to identify their feelings, express their emotions, display empathy and practice self care. It doesn’t matter if we’re at home or in the car, hearing their little voices say, “I enjoy giving back to the community” in Spanish fills my heart with so much joy.
The benefits of learning a second language from a young age
On top of the benefit of being able to communicate with more people and in more places, learning a second language as a child comes with numerous advantages.
- In terms of cognitive development, learning a new language can increase a child’s ability to listen, problem-solve, think critically, concentrate and multi-task.
- It encourages children to be more empathetic towards cultures who speak that language.
- According to the ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages,) studies have shown that children who speak multiple languages perform better on standardized tests.
- Acquiring a second language early in life can make it easier to learn multiple languages in later years.
My review of HABBI HABBI Reading Wand & Books
Since you already know that I was looking for any way to A. Teach my kids a second language and B. Relieve my parental guilt, I ordered the HABBI HABBI Starter Set + Reading Wand.
Here’s what I loved:
- I loved that the books are extremely sturdy, beautifully designed and ready to be used straight from the box.
- I loved that my children instinctively knew how to use the Wand – there are only 3 buttons (power & volume up / down) – so kids just turn on and tap.
- I love that the phrases and social situations they use are helping my children remember to be kind to themselves and to others.
- I love that children of all ethnicities are represented in the illustrations.
- I love that the Wand is multilingual so if I have the Chinese books, I can use my same Wand and my kids can access multiple languages!
- I EXTRA LOVE that the Reading Wand is chargeable and has a headphone jack.
- In the Spanish language books, I felt the voice reading in the Spanish parts spoke too quickly. However, this is totally realistic of the language and didn’t seem to bother my children. I did need to help break down the pronunciation of each word though at first.
Tips & tricks for teaching your tot a second language
HABBI HABBI’s books have been a huge hit and something my kids are still very entertained by. It doesn’t matter if we’re at home or in the car, hearing their little voices say, “I enjoy giving back to the community.” in Spanish fills my heart with so much joy.
While we will continue to read these books (together and independently), I have some other fun tips and tricks to share:
- While in the car or on a walk, we like to play a game similar to I Spy. For example, I say – ‘Yo espío un autobús escolar’ hoping my kids will respond, ‘A school bus!’
- Make a habit of saying what the weather is every morning in both English and Spanish.
- If your child is reading or writing, you can either make (or have them make little signs with the translated word) to place on objects around the house.
- Find a pen pal for your kids to write to in English and receive letters from in Spanish. Once they grow more confident, they can try writing in Spanish.
- Let your child watch an episode of a show they’re familiar with in Spanish. Since Spanish is usually spoken quite quickly, I put the subtitles on and help my kids translate.
Shop HABBI HABBI from The Tot
At The Tot, we never use or recommend anything that hasn’t passed The Tot Test. This means we’ve looked deep into third-party testing, examined ingredients lists and asked in-depth questions about a product’s composition to ensure it doesn’t contain any of the chemicals we avoid.
This means you can rest easy knowing that HABBI HABBI Reading Wand & Books and the reading wand are free of BPA, BPS, Harmful Phthalates, PVC and Lead.