The purpose of this page is to offer resources for adoptive parents, in teaching their child English as well as making a decision about being a bilingual family. I have also provided links to research on language aquisition. ESL = English as a Second Language, ESOL = English for Speakers of Other Languages.

General ESL/ESOL Resources

Bilingual Baby [external link] by Small Fry Productions. DVD/VHS, children ages 1-5. "Children and parents will only hear ENGLISH on this video. Perfect for young children and parents who use English as a second language."

Sesame English: ESL for Children [external link] Produced by Schlessinger Media/Sesame Workshop, distributed by Library Video Co. video. The series includes: Family & Home 1 & 2; Animals & Pets 1 & 2; Food & Eating 1 & 2; Weather, Seasons & Time 1 & 2; Friends 1-3; Toys, Games, & Sports 1 & 2. PreS-Gr 4. "These programs are designed to teach English as a Second Language. Tingo, an energetic Muppet, who only recently arrived in this country, introduces conversational English through adventures with his friend Niki, a typical teenage girl. Each program follows a simple storyline that uses humor, physical action and music to appeal to children while introducing basic English expressions, vocabulary and sentence structures. The series also includes classic Sesame Street Muppets, animation and live-action segments. Programs with dual language tracks feature Tingo speaking in English as well as the native language to clarify and reinforce storylines and language concepts. The bilingual instruction is offered in five languages - Spanish, Hmong, Korean, Mandarin Chinese and Vietnamese, plus an English-only track suitable for all ESL students." The VHS has only the Spanish track. These are not cheap ($30 each or $390 for the whole series) so it might be more appropriate for a school to purchase. 13 videos or DVDs. 27 min. ea. (closed captioned), with teacher's. guide. Ages pre-K through grade 4.

Lanternfish [external link] is a resource site for ESL elementary and middle school teachers which would also be useful for adoptive parents. Lesson plans, worksheets, activities, flash cards, games, etc. Similar sites are ESL KidStuff [external link], Center for Applied Linguistics [external link]. ESL Net [external link] has videos, software, and textbooks.

Sites with links to other sites (in addition to those listed above): Web English Teacher [external link], Google Directory for ESL [external link] and About.com: ESL [external link].

Talaris Research Institute [external link]: recommended by Sharon Glenn, "Advancing knowledge of early brain development" and language.

Language Development in Children [external link] has a chart of typical language development and links to details by age.

National Clearinghouse for English Language Education [external link] at George Washington University.

Standard Deviants School [external link]: From the producer: "our mission is to combine solid educational content with cutting-edge technology and top-notch writing. Recommended by more than 500 teachers and college professors, the Standard Deviants cover the most difficult high school and college courses. Each Standard Deviants title is written by an academic team comprised of professors from leading universities. These award-winning videos and DVDs cut through the confusion with a clear and concise format, high-tech computer graphics, and a fun approach to serious education. The result is a product unlike any you've ever seen. Sometimes described as a cross between 'Sesame Street' and 'Saturday Night Live,' our products teach the most difficult concepts with an added twist of humor." They have two lines that I think would work: ESl and English. They also have many other titles, covering math, other languages, sciences, etc.

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ESL for Russian Speakers or International Adoption

RUSH into EnglishRUSH into English: English for Russian kids. Brought to you by the same person who created Adopting from Russia, a Language and Parenting Guide, the RUSH Into English language set includes vocabulary, phrases, and questions to help children transition smoothly from Russian to English, ages 4-5 and older.

  • It's just what you've been waiting for! A 59-minute CD and 61-page handbook to help your child --
    • right off the plane: I'm thirsty. What's that? My stomach hurts. I have to go to the bathroom.
    • with family: It's your turn. You are nice. Will you help me? I love you!
    • make friends: What's your name? Let's play outside. How old are you? Do you like music? Do you want half?
    • at school: I don't understand. Are you busy? Read it to me, please. I can do it.
  • 200 phrases and questions (plus tons of additional vocabulary) kids can use immediately to get settled in their new surroundings and to learn more English on their own. (*How do you say ____? What did you say? Repeat it, please. Slower, please. One more time. I'm learning English., etc.)
  • The CD and handbook are organized so that younger children can use the first several sections to begin with, while older children will want to listen and repeat the entire CD right away.
  • "The handbook has valuable language information for parents. Several language activities are also included so you can help your child(ren) get started with pre-reading / reading and writing too.
  • To order, go to the TLC Order Form.

Language Development in Internationally Adopted Children [external link]: orphanage care and its impact on language development; language in older adopted children; norms based on research regarding typical language development in internationally adopted infants and toddlers; questions to ask orphanage staff about language and cognition; resources and references; and more. Written by Sharon Glenn, a certified speech language pathologist who has adopted her children from Russia.

Native Languages in Internationally Adopted Children [external link], written by Dr. Alla Gordina, an international adoption medical specialist.

Language-related issues for international adoptees and adoptive families [external link] is an excellent article written by Boris Gindis, a psychologist who specializes in international adoption, particularly Russia and the FSU, and language. You might also want to check out the Online Internet School [external link].

Although not really designed for teaching language, the Baby Einstein products may be useful, since they include both English and Russian. Baby Einstein: Language Discovery Cards link in new window: "Flash cards, selected from objects that appear in the Baby Einstein video series, provide language development exercises to enhance the video viewing experience. The front of each card contains a color photograph and a word describing that picture. The large, laminated cards also include teaching tips and translations with phonetic spellings in seven languages." Baby Einstein: Language Nursery DVD and Baby Einstein: Language VHS link in new window: "Bold patterns, colors, toys, and other basic objects are shown onscreen and are designed to teach abstract ideas like prediction and object permanence. Parents are encouraged to interact with the video by pointing to the objects on the screen and repeating or explaining them to the child. Baby Einstein focuses on phonemes, or the sounds of human language. The idea of teaching such a concept to very young children is based on research showing that infants have a natural ability to distinguish and absorb the sounds of all languages, but gradually lose this ability as they grow older. Repeated exposure to basic sounds of foreign languages at a young age may help form connections in the brain that allow them to be retained for a longer period of time. Included in the video are simple words, phrases, and numbers in the languages of English, Spanish, French, German, Hebrew, Russian, and Japanese."

For many other bilingual Russian/English books, dictionaries, and tapes, visit the Russian Language and Children's Language pages in the Bookstore.


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Page last updated on 22 November 2009.

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