Friday, May 20, 2011

Reading in Portuguese: I'm still a preschooler

People we have had a breakthrough! I read a children's book in Portuguese and did not sound like I was attempting to speak German with a mouthful of marbles!

I know what some of you are thinking, a children's book?! Hey, it's harder than it looks. Children's books usually rhyme and have to be read out loud. Little known fact about me, I don't like reading out loud. I get performance anxiety and have flashbacks to elementary school.

But I love reading to my kids. They don't judge me, at least not yet. Of course there are the Portuguese books. While our personal collection is principally English, their school sends home a book a week with each child. As the picker upper of the wee ones, I am the one who receives the ever so excited "Please read it now!" requests.

Of course I do it, unless Mr. Rant is present. If he's home I pass the Portuguese along to him with the excuse of it being Daddy's first language, not mine. Funny enough, that's something my children totally get.

Still, the majority of reading time still falls into my lap and I've been schlepping through it like a pro. And it seems to be paying off! I sat down to read "Fome Danada" by Ana Maria Machado e Claudius (hello long name) and didn't stumble once!

I busted out the rhymes and told the story with a great beat, as I believe all Brazilian stories should be told. The little one laughed and pointed and had a ball.

And while simple, it made me feel good. It's the little things that count the most anyway right?


  1. I would like to give you a medal for that...the segment of Rosetta Stone that has you repeat the sound or the word back to them as you read it...the it lights up green when you get it right...hates me and is ready to start calling me names. I never get it right until I add marbles and talk through my nose...such a language.

  2. That´s the spirit!
    I once read an article by Luis Fernando Verrisimo where he argues that we should not be subdued or intimidated by language. In a funny way he goes on to say that language is here to serve us, not the other way around, so we should treat it with disdain, meddle, not be afraid to get things wrong on the road to getting it right. The funniest part is when, in an effort to make this point, he basically says that language needs to be bitch slapped every once in while so it knows who the boss is.
    I think you told language, in this case Portuguese, who wears the trousers when you read to your kids.

  3. you could always just translate the book to English. In my "must only speak English to my son" strategy, I translate his Portugues books to English. However, now I have relaxed a bit and read in Portuguese. Nothing like getting tongue-tied - belas bolhas para a abelha, ugh! I can relate and I consider myself fluent.

  4. Good job!
    How are they doing with the English/Portuguese learning dilema?
    I think Corine has a great idea, they won't know the difference if you translate into English! I think at this age they are more focused with the pictures and colors!

  5. THanks guy! I wear my big girl pants when I read now ;)

    I can pretty much understand all the kids books. When I don't know a word I say it out loud and ask my 4 yr old to translate. Seriously! He's quite good in both languages at this point.

    My youngest is better at Portuguese but still not talking that much. We'll see what happens. Usually a little visit home bumps them right up in the English department and they get the Portuguese here

  6. My 3 year old (who is enrolled in a Brazilian/Portuguese creche) brings home a book once a week, too. And every time I read to her in Portuguese, she looks at me and kinda laughs. She can totally tell that I'm winging it, and her Portuguese is soooo much better than mine! So I totally know the feeling...if I can get through a book, I'm kinda proud of myself, especially if I can manage to get through it without my little one laughing at me! haha