Are you bilingual? I’m not. I wish I were. I’m not sure when I had this strong desire to be able to communicate in a second (or third) language, but for as long as I can remember my answer to the question, “If you could wish for any one thing in the world, what would it be?” is that I’d like to be fluent in every language in the world. I’d like to be able to communicate with every person I come across. And I don’t mean via charades, hand gestures, and present-tense-only dialogue like I do now. I mean that I want to understand the nuance of each language; I want to perfectly understand the jokes and innuendoes.
I guess it’s not surprising then, that my daughter goes to a Spanish-language immersion school. She’s received nothing but instruction in Spanish since her first day of kindergarten. She’s in second grade now.
I truly think I’m doing my daughter a favor. I think I’m providing her with an advantage that many American children don’t have. I think her bilingual education will make her a more well-rounded student, a more culturally sensitive person.
But will it? And am I?
What if I’ve got it all wrong?
Since starting back to school three weeks ago, she’s really struggling. She’s seemed to have regressed more than normal over the summer, and I’m beginning to think she might be dyslexic.
She cannot read in English yet (which is not unusual in her situation), and her reading in Spanish is halting at best. She read better last January than she does now.
Is it fair to make a kid who is struggling to read, read in a language that is not her native language? Is it fair to ask her to not only sound out the foreign words, but to also have to comprehend them?
Am I one of those parents who is trying to live vicariously through his or her child?
Am I any better than the father who shoots his teenage son up with steroids so he’ll be the football star? (Okay, maybe a bit better than this, but still.)
What do you think?