When it comes to language, they say immersion is best. Having one adult at home speak it at all times can really help speed the learning process along, as well as make it more natural for the child to grasp. Of course, keeping it simple and conversational also helps; you aren’t going to read El Juego de Angel when you first begin reading Spanish, of course!
When it comes to learning Hindi, My First Book of Hindi Words is a perfect introduction to Hindi for non-native speakers—both children and adults. My daughter and I are both fans of the “My First Book of…” series, and we have a copy of the Spanish version at home. What’s so wonderful about these books is that they all feature practical, real-life photos rather than caricatures or illustrations, and everything is organized by a two-page layout rather than a boring dictionary format.
For example, in the kitchen section of the book, there is a two-page photo spread of a kitchen, including all of the things one might encounter there—from the refrigerator to plates, knives, spoons, and forks. Many of the words children (as well as adults!) might need to know are included in a very simple yet engaging fashion. You could even take the book with you when you enter the scenes included, as we do, and name the items as you hold them in your hands. (For older children, you may wish to label items with their Hindi words to help them visualize the language as well.)
Some types of words you will find in the picture book include:
- Common foods, including milk, bread, and fruits
- The family and the pronunciations for various family members, including sister, brother, baby, aunt, uncle, cousin, and more
- The body, including hair, ears, mouth, toes, and other body parts
- Clothing, from traditional boys’ and girls’ items as well as shoes, hats, and adult clothing items
- Children’s favorite topic, toys!
- The bedroom and common items within it, such as the window or bed
- The bathroom and its common items
- And many more!
Colors, classroom elements, and a few traveling terms are also included. Kids will enjoy looking at the pictures and recalling vocabulary words as they learn Hindi, leafing from page to page to test their own knowledge and have fun speaking Hindi words. Learning a second language is almost like learning a secret code for kids, and they revel in knowing a few “secret” words that their friends may not know. Sometimes it’s even fun to pretend we don’t know the words with them—in many cases, parents don’t know the words, if their children are learning in a setting outside the home!—just to watch them giggle and know something Mom or Dad doesn’t know. We also learn from our kids every day, so having them teach us new words can also be fun. Kids tend to pick up new languages much more quickly than adults do—and why wouldn’t they? They’re natural born learners!—so sometimes they can be our best resource when learning to speak a second language.