Parents should take it upon themselves to teach their kids the Filipino alphabet and language. Here are some ideas on how to start.
ABAKADA: How To Teach Filipino Alphabet To Kids?
Learning the Filipino alphabet and language is often taken for granted by middle-class families. There’s a general notion that Filipino is easier to learn than English because it is our mother tongue.
According to Vanessa Bicomong, general manager of reading and Filipino enrichment center The Learning Library, parents speak English at home because they expect their kids to pick up Filipino from their classmates in school.
But, as Vanessa laughingly points out, “If you are raising your kids with English as their first language, most probably other parents in the same economic status are, too.” In other words, your child’s friends will most likely also have English as their first language! Thus, its very important to learn How to teach Filipino alphabet and then teach your child.
The importance of teaching the Filipino alphabet
Learning Filipino involves reading, writing and speaking two letters that are unique to the Filipino alphabet: ñ and ng. “If you want your kids to read Filipino and do well in school,” Vanessa says, “they will have to read those extra two letters.”
However, doing well in school should not be the only reason for striving to learn the Filipino alphabet and language. Filipino parents should make it a priority to teach their kids the mother tongue because it will bring them closer to their cultural roots.
How to teach Filipino alphabet to your child?
The Learning Library has seen through the years that more and more kids struggle to speak Filipino. Parents, according to Vanessa, should take it upon themselves to teach and use Filipino at home.
You can easily teach your child the Filipino alphabet. Still wondering about How to teach Filipino alphabet to your child? Check out these ideas:
Sing the Filipino alphabet
Most kids know how to sing their ABCs, but ask them to sing ABAKADA and you will get a blank stare. Sing and dance to our Filipino alphabet, and give special attention to those two extra letters.
Connect the two alphabets
Assuming that your child already knows his ABCs, play games that will help him connect the Filipino alphabet with the English one. Using homemade alphabet cards that include ñ and ng, pick out one card at a time and ask your child to say it in both languages: “A, Ah! B, Ba! K, Ka! D, Da!”
Explore each letter
Much like how the ABCs are taught, teach your child his ABAKADA by exploring one letter at a time and doing activities related to that letter for one week. You can trace letter A on a sheet of paper, for example, and cut and paste pictures of atis, alimango and araw.
Label household objects
Look around your house and choose objects that are easy to recognize. Put labels on each, making sure that the beginning letter is bigger and bolder than the rest of the word. Now, go around the house with your child and point out the objects. Exaggerate the beginning sounds as you speak the word. Take turns.
Play phonics games
Phonics is the connection between the printed letter and the sound it makes. When your child is already familiar with how each letter sounds like in Filipino, devise some fun games. You can make big alphabet cards that you can lay on the floor for some hopping fun. Call out “ng!” and let your child look for and jump into the card that says “ng.”
Another idea is to ask for Filipino words that begin with the letter you picked out: ngayon for ng, kanin for k, baon for b, etc.
The best way to teach your child to learn the Filipino alphabet and language is to make a conscious effort to teach him to use the language.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: MARIEL UYQUIENGCO
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