The third phase “Reading and Writing” corresponds to the formal schooling years, more specifically age six to nine. The child has mastered the spoken language and the basic grammatical structures. He now learns the written form of the language. During this phase the emphasis is on the mastery of reading and writing. At the near end of this phase, the eight year old has a command of about 80% of the grammar and approximately 12,000 words (depends on the languages) to his disposal.
Do not force the child to know the second language in that level as he knows the first language, specifically when the child doesn’t go to a bilingual school. The first language gets support in the school and in the interaction of the environment.
Do not confuse the child. Support both languages, and accept that there is a first language and a second language. Organize special occasions when you focus on the second language and do not except the same progression in the second language as you experience in the first language. Be patient!
In order for the child to acquire proficiency in the languages, the parents can further support this endeavor by:
– taking the time to develop a more profound communication with the child,
– listening to the child with great attention,
– telling stories using diversity in vocabulary as well as reading out loud to the child,
– encouraging but not forcing the child to read in both languages,
At this stage it is important to uncover any impediments in speech or language development, for example Dyslexia. One should consult the child’s pediatrician if one suspects that the child is not showing normal progression. A speech therapist as well as an Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialist can be consulted as well.