Bilingual Children Learning Letters, Colors

little boy swimmingI recently heard from a mom who had a question about her child’s ability to learn letters and colors since she is raising her bilingual:

Hi Sherry,
I have a small concern and I was wondering if you could help.  As you know, I’ve been raising my daughters bilingual.  Katerina will be three in September and she’s always been ahead on most developmental milestones, but now I see that her classmates can identify the letters in the alphabet and know all their colors and she doesn’t.  She’s self conscious about it as well.  I try to work on them at home with her, but she loses interest quickly.  Is it common for this to happen when she’s been doing so well?  Any pointers?
~Carol
Here was my response:
My guess is that raising your Katerina bilingual is not influencing her ability to identify letters and colors but it may take her a bit longer since she is learning two systems. Letters and colors are fairly abstract so you might be conscious of teaching them within a meaningful experience, like finding her name on a paper, toy or clothing and point out a few of the letters and see if she can retain them over time. Associate a color with a common object like red apple, blue sky etc.
In talking to some kindergarten teachers they tell me that their incoming classes range from kids that know all their letters and those who know only a few.
Good luck!
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