Native Language @ ISB

Entries Tagged as 'Websites'

Four Resources for Parents of Multilinguals

December 3rd, 2020 · No Comments

Here are four resources shared at the recent Raising Multilinguals: How? parent workshop, which may help parents of multilingual children. (Click to enlarge!)

Tags: Language pages · Mother tongue at home · Websites

Audiobooks in Eight ISB Languages

April 30th, 2020 · No Comments

Need some screen-free fun (and listening practice)? Children’s audiobooks in Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Japanese are available free at Audible Stories: Discover during COVID-19. Options range from novels to storybooks like Der kleine Siebenschläfer (The Little Dormouse) by Sabine Bohlmann, read in German by the author. Click to listen!

Tags: Books · Mother tongue at home · Websites

A Great Time to Exercise Languages

March 8th, 2020 · No Comments

Discussing academic concepts in all of students’ languages is a great way to deepen their learning at ISB.

During the weeks of March 9-13 and 16-20 [March 17 update: international schools are closed until further notice], students will engage in online learning due to the evolving COVID-19 situation. This time presents an opportunity for families to discuss academic concepts in students’ native languages, in some cases as students are studying the concepts. 

Glossaries for school can support this process. To access Bilingual Glossaries for many academic subjects, in numerous ISB languages, click on Bilingual Glossaries under Bookmarks at the right side of this blog.

There are also many ways to exercise languages outside of study time. To read tips by ISB Native Language Academy teachers on how to have fun practicing languages at home—from reading aloud together to playing games—please click Educators at the top of this blog, and then click any teacher’s name for the teacher’s tips. Have fun!

Tips by Mandarin teacher Guofang (Candy) Tang 

This post was last updated on 17 March 2020 at 2 p.m.


Tags: Mother tongue at home · Websites

A Buffet of Bilingual Glossaries

November 14th, 2019 · No Comments

When parents, faculty and administrators gathered for today’s Raising Multilinguals: How? workshop, they enjoyed a buffet of samosas, sushi, mangoes with sticky rice—and bilingual glossaries.

The glossaries, organized by school subject and division (elementary, middle, high) are downloadable from the Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and Transformation in Schools, New York University. They come in many ISB languages.

Bilingual glossaries can help students and families discuss schoolwork in their native tongue(s), one of many language-rich experiences discussed at Raising Multilinguals: How?.

At this workshop, presenters defined a language-rich experience as “any experience where opportunities to use language are created and nurtured.” Participants explored ways to transform everyday experiences—from discussing homework to texting to waiting in traffic—into language-rich moments. Small groups considered ways to infuse speaking, listening, reading, and/or writing into different scenarios, and they pondered ways to have conversations that nurture language growth. Finally, everyone affirmed the importance of reading aloud in one’s native language(s).

If you missed last month’s Raising Multilinguals workshop or today’s Raising Multilinguals: How? workshop, feel free to email us for information:

Meanwhile, do sample the bilingual glossaries online! Click on Bilingual Glossaries under Bookmarks at the right side of this blog.

Tags: Mother tongue at home · Native Language and Education · Native Language at ISB · Parent Workshops · Websites

ISB Offers French, Spanish Picture Books Online

May 8th, 2018 · No Comments

Buying picture books in Romance languages in Asia can be a challenge. Did you know that the ES Hub (ES Library) offers online picture books in French and Spanish via Here are the steps to view a selection of books in these languages. To receive the username and password, ask in the ES Hub or email

1. Go to and enter ISB Username and Password.

2. Click on TumbleSearch. 

3. Go to Search by Language, and select language. French and Spanish currently offer the best selection of titles in addition to English. 

4. Browse book descriptions, and click Read Online to view a book.

5. Enjoy! Picture books on this site feature sound and animation.


Tags: Books · Mother tongue at home · Websites

Helping Children Learn a Spouse’s Language

February 27th, 2018 · 2 Comments

German IMLD poster

In many ISB families, the parents speak different native languages. Both hope their children will learn both. But what if one parent works late or travels frequently? Can the other parent help the children learn both languages? Yes!

Yale linguist Claire Bowern writes that it is OK to speak in your spouse’s language sometimes, even if you do not speak it perfectly. Research shows that “kids who are exposed to early language from non-native speakers usually grow up to be full speakers of that language.”

Bowern adds, “The main thing children need is not so much a highly accurate linguistic role model, but rather several people to speak it with, and one strong way to do that is for the non-native speaker parent to speak the language too.”

Rita Rosenback, author of Bringing Up a Bilingual Child, writes that consistency in using your native language with children is most important when you are their main source of the language: “the general rule is that the less exposure a child has to a language, the greater the need is for the person [parent] to be consistent with the language use.” (So, for an ISB family with a German mom who travels and a Thai dad who stays home, the mother can help by being consistent with German, but the Thai dad may sometimes switch to German—because the kids get lots of exposure to Thai in Thailand.) 

Chontelle Bonfiglio, creator of the website Bilingual Kidspot, has even posted about how a single parent can teach a child two languages

ISB encourages families to make a language plan. If you would like ideas for supporting a spouse’s language in your plan, please get in touch:

Tags: Family Language Plan · Websites

Happy International Mother Language Day 2018!

February 21st, 2018 · No Comments


Today is International Mother Language Day, an observance recognized by the United Nations and long celebrated by UNESCO, with the aim of promoting linguistic diversity and multilingualism— “keystones of sustainability and peace” on the UNESCO International Mother Language Day 2018 website.

ISB marked International Mother Language Day with observances throughout the school, ranging from read-alouds, to writing prompts, to art projects, to special bulletin boards. A selection of international pop tunes played in the cafeteria during MS/HS lunch. A floor-to-ceiling chalkboard in the ES featured writing in children’s languages, about how their families say good morning.



We hope all students felt especially proud of their native languages today at ISB. Happy International Mother Language Day!

Tags: Native Language at ISB · Websites

“The Need Factor is Crucial” for Learning Language

February 9th, 2018 · No Comments


François Grosjean is an emeritus professor of linguistics at Neuchâtel University, Switzerland, whose blog Life as a Bilingual appears in the Bookmarks on the right side of this blog. Grosjean has been quoted as saying “the need factor is crucial” for young multilinguals: They must experience regular situations in which only one of their languages will do. If not, Grosjean says, “children are very good at judging whether it is worth maintaining a language or letting it wither away.”

Our recent post by columnist Olga Steklova also mentions the need for diverse experiences, “language use for a wide variety of meaningful purposes.”

Besides language class, where can your child regularly “need” a language? 

Full post quoting Grosjean at The Economist Prospero blog: Bringing Up Baby Bilingual: Strategies for Getting Youngsters Fluent in More than One Language

Tags: Family Language Plan · Mother tongue at home · Multilingualism · Websites

12 Things Parents Raising Bilingual Children Need to Know

January 24th, 2018 · No Comments


The website Multilingual Parenting by Rita Rosenback, author of the book Bringing Up a Bilingual Child, offers practical tips for parents of bilingual and multilingual children. The site’s “12 things” post may be viewed in Italian (above) as well as English, Belarusian, Catalan, Chinese, Czech, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Irish, Italian, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Spanish, Swedish and Ukrainian. For further resources, see the Bookmarks on the right side of this blog.

Tags: Bilingualism · Websites