What activity/workbooks do you suggest for an American-Italian 1st grader living in Italy?
My daughter attends Italian public school & we speak English at home. We are a bilingual American-Italian family living in Italy with under & grad degrees from the States. I am trained as a French teacher & have taught English & French for 12 years. Italian children don't learn the basics in kindergarten but they make up for it in 1st grade, learning print & cursive simultaneously & learning to read faster & achieve higher reading levels in Italian on average then their American counterparts. I never forced my daughter to do worksheets in English as I did not want to push her & create a neg. attitude. Now that she has started 1st grade, I would like to start teaching her to read in English (partly to compensate for her boredom/frustration of sitting in 1 hr of mandatory English as a Foreign language class each week. This is something she will have to suffer through for 13 years due to the Italian education system). I told her I can teach her what American children learn in school & she said she wanted to to that. I also offered to teach her some French. She has a variety of educational computer software (Dr. Seuss ABC, school zone & reader rabbit) that she has used over the last 3 years so she has learned many skills passively. What activity/workbooks do you suggest? We are passionate readers & I like the Arthur books. I considered the Brain quest workbook. She is a bright child but I held her back from starting 1st grade early to gain a firm grounding in Italian. Thank you!
How fortunate your daughter is to have a mother who is a language teacher!
The Brain Quest workbooks are a fine series. One of the most enjoyable activities I've done with beginning readers is to have them create lapbooks about the books they have read. These are simply folded pieces of colorful paper, they decorate with their artwork and their sentences about what they've read. Lots of opportunities for creativity and bright kids really thrive doing them. The site below describes how to do lapbooking and has excellent examples:
ReadWriteThink, developed in part by the National Council of Teachers of English, has lots of activity ideas, as well as links to excellent booklists. It also has a section for teachers, interactives and lessons for kids, and a store with more resources:
For reading: Berenstein Bears series by Stan & Jan Berenstain are VERY popular with young readers. Once your daughter has progressed to reading chapter books, possibly by mid-year, try the Junie B. Jones series by Barbara Park. They are an amusing look at a girl starting school. The series continues well into grade 4. My daughter loved them and read every one. The Amelia Bedelia series by Peggy Parish is another favorite of young girls.