English Acquisition for School-Age Children Adopted Internationally

So you've adopted some school-age children from a non-English speaking county and you want some hints on how to help them gain language proficiency as soon as possible.

Here is what worked for us.

Computer Software:

  • Rosetta Stone - have your child do one lesson every day. They do the same lesson over and over again until they have 85% or better. Obviously, skip the lessons that involve concepts that are beyond your child's comprehension (division and multiplication in our case).
More Software - I ordered the "old" versions of these and put them on my ancient laptop - the one that can't upgrade past Windows 95. The old versions run great and I don't much care what happens to the laptop.

DVD/Video: When I really must be child-free (bathe, place phone-calls etc.) these 30-minute videos are my baby-sitters/language tutors.
LeapPad Learning Systems: Useful for quiet play-time (headphones are Mama's friend), long car rides, etc.
These are all linked to Amazon.com so you can see what they look like, but I bought many of ours at the second-hand stores.

edited to add (for new readers) that our children came to us from Russia in September at ages 5 and 6. Less than six months in, both now know the alphabet and the sounds each letter makes, and the elder is reading simple sentences: "The pig sat in the mud." "Pam makes a cake. Pam takes the cake to Pat." We're rather amazed.


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Here I chatter about books, parenting, election 2008, recipes, teaching college writing, and the adventures of getting settled in with our two freshly (Fall 06) adopted school-age children from Russia. This blog is chapter two; chapter one is posted at Jamie & Suzanne go to Russia. I live in the City of Subdued Excitement, Cascadia, Land of the Free.

I am the wife of a man I call My Gift from a Generous God. I am mama to two lovely children, Dandy and Chickadee that became ours in September 2006 in a court-room in Siberia. I am the daughter of two people whom I love and admire. One of them, my dad, is a new (Dec 06) paraplegic.

In my previous life (B.C. - before children), I was a college English teacher, specializing in composition and ESL composition.

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This blog started life as hackosphere's neo and has been heavily tweaked and widgetized by Suzanne :: I got all the coding for the peek-a-boo posts over at hackosphere :: All my pretty little icons came from famfamfam :: The coding for the rotating banners came from Vince Liu :: The very cool tabbed sidebar widgets are thanks to the very cool hoctro :: The fun "Feeling Lucky?" toy -- which is currently disabled -- came from phydeaux3 (fido 3?) :: The pretty label cloud also came from phydeaux3 :: The elegant and easy to install related posts widget came from Jackbook :: I got all the social bookmarking icons nicely packaged for me at the aptly named Social Bookmarking Script Generator :: The 3 column footer came from Technodia :: The pretty sliding photo galleries are from CSSplay :: The recent comments widget is from Hackosphere::