When I think about how I’m NOT teaching my children Vietnamese, it’s like a broken record playing in my head. My guilt for pretty much giving up and speaking almost exclusively in English with them. My complaints that there’s not enough videos and books available for them to learn. My insecurity that my Vietnamese is just passable for short conversations and that I don’t know enough to teach them. I just need to find more resources for teaching my kids Vietnamese.
Last month I asked Jaxson to do something for me. In Vietnamese. He just stared at me and said, “What did you say, Mommy?” He had no clue what I had said. Sure, he knows a few words here and there, but he doesn’t really understand my parents when we Skype each week. My parents speak to him in a blend Vietnamese-English. Sophia has admitted that she’s forgotten a lot of her Vietnamese. She had a better foundation because I actually tried harder with her.
I’ve decided to stop the guilt (and ignore my mother’s guilt trips about her grandchildren’s lack of Vietnamese). I’m going to try again. I’m going to reteach them Vietnamese and teach myself more in the process. It’s totally okay to start over. This time I’m get my husband more involved. He wants to learn too. He wants the kids to be bilingual.
I did a quick search again for children’s books to help them learn Vietnamese. Wow! There’s so much more available now. It’s actually making me excited to rebuild my library of bilingual Vietnamese-English books.
Milet Publishing has an entire series of bilingual board books with Vietnamese vocabulary based on different themes: the senses (one for each), animals, etc. They even have a Bilingual Visual Dictionary with Interactive CD: English-Vietnamese. I’m not sure on the dialect that’s on the interactive CD, but it’s worth a try, right?
Language Lizard offers Vietnamese-English bilingual books, posters, talking dictionaries and flash cards. I’ve purchased a few of their books from used bookstores. They have board books for babies and books for more advanced readers. Language Lizard offers bilingual books in over 40 languages, not Vietnamese. There’s plenty of language teaching tips for families too.
I’ve wanted to learn how to read Vietnamese beyond a board book level. I found some college textbooks on Amazon. I downloaded a Kindle sample of HÀNH TRANG NGÔN NG?: LANGUAGE LUGGAGE FOR VIETNAM: A First-Year Language Course and it looks pretty decent. I can tell the dialect will be similar to my parents because the map of Vietnam in the book still calls Ho Chi Minh City by its pre-war name, Saigon. The authors of this textbook are Vietnamese and are college professors. I’ll have to see if the textbook has a companion CD. That would make it even better!
I did find Elementary Vietnamese, Third Edition: Moi ban noi tieng Viet. Let’s Speak Vietnamese textbook, which comes with a CD/mp3. It received good reviews on Amazon from both native speakers and non-native speakers. I might have to get this for myself.(You can peek inside the book on Amazon.)
In case you missed it, here are the resources for teaching kids Vietnamese that I’ve mentioned before:
- Dino Lingo offers DVDs and flashcards (also available in other languages). You can read my full review on Dino Lingo Vietnamese here.
- My favorite bilingual Vietnamese-English kids books
- Vietnamese language kids’ videos I found on YouTube (a playlist too!)
- Mango Languages app/website that teach adults (and older children) how to speak Vietnamese
Have you discovered other books, websites, programs or videos that teach children Vietnamese?
This post contains affiliate links.