Friday, April 15, 2016

Colors in Arabic: Teaching Your Kids At Any Age

If you read my previous post, you already know that I am going to blog about some products from Arabic Playground that I use to teach my daughter Arabic language. I will give you my honest opinion because I had a very hard time finding good products and when I do, I love to share this information with other parents who are committed to teaching their kids Arabic Language. It is hard enough finding the time to teach them Arabic and convincing to be on board, who really needs useless products that would put halt to "Arabic Learning"operation. 

I will start with the Arabic Playground Colors Flashcards. The Flashcards cover 11 most used colors: red, yellow, blue, black, white, pink, purple, orange, green, brown and grey.

The flashcards are divided into 3 main categories. Each category focuses on a skill that the child will master by the end of each set. Arabic Playground follows the same teaching/learning methodology in all their flashcards and it is one of my favorite feature about Arabic Playground. Each category focuses on one of the following skills:

  1. Concept formation: This is the basic step where the flashcard will show the color in question and the word under it including the short vowels/tashkeel/تشكيل  fatha/damma/kasraضمة/فتحة)/كسرة). It is the first step to teach your child the word and color visually. If they are toddlers or do not know how to read or write in Arabic, do not worry; use it anyway because it will allow the child to get familiar with the letters on the long run.
  2. Color identification: This is the second step where the flashcard will show you the color in question only. So this is where your child has to guess the name of the color in Arabic. If your child is bilingual, he/she may say it in both languages and form an association between them.
  3. Sound identification: This is the step where the flashcard will show the name of the color in Arabic only. So this is where your child has to guess the actual color by pointing to an object of that color, or name the color in a different language. It will also showcase the use of tashkeel تشكيل. 
Now once you have exposed your child to the first or all the sets, you can reinforce the learning by playing games. This is where printing two copies of the flashcards helps. You can start by using the color identification flashcards only and this is especially suitable when you have a toddler. I used the flashcards as I would in a memory game. So my daughter had to match the colors, but since she is 6, I challenged her to name the color in Arabic. When she did she got one extra point. One or more player can play this game. I played it with her and we took turns. She had to say the name out loud every time she turned a flashcard. Once she matched the flashcards and correctly guessed the name in Arabic, she went on one more round until her cards did not match and so on. She loved playing it especially when I pretended not to know my colors. For some reason she found it to be hilarious.

When I felt that she was struggling, I reviewed the information in the first set of flashcard with her, the one that has the color and the name in Arabic.
Arabic Playground Fashcards Set 1
Now, we played the same game but she had to match the words together, this game helped her focus on reading and writing the words, matching letters, beginning letter and ending letter, tashkeel etc. She also had to point to something in the room that is of that color or say the color in English. 
Matching colors cards from Arabic Playground flashcard sets 2 and 3
We also played it by mixing one copy of each flashcard sets 2 and 3. She had to match the color with the word. Again, when she struggled, we reviewed the difficult ones using the first flashcard set. It was a great opportunity to practice reading and focusing on tashkeel تشكيل. For some reason she confused white and black, so I created an association for her: white  أبيض  reminds me of eggs بيض and eggs are white. This trick worked perfectly.

Finally, once she mastered the ability to match the color with the word, I challenged her by using one copy of flashcard set 2 (the set that has only the colors) and asking her to pick a card (this is where not printing on both sides of the paper helps) and she had to write the word on the dry erase board. She decided to match the color of the card with that of the pen! She had a great time and because she loves to draw, she started drawing things that they are of that color, so carrots for orange and bananas for yellow etc...

It is important to note that my daughter is a beginner in reading and writing but has mastered the skill of identifying the letters, their sounds and the different positions of the connecting letters. Be patient, it will take time. Challenge your child every now and then to see what he/she knows and calibrate your teaching method accordingly. My advice is to expose your kids daily to Arabic. Learning a language is a daily practice, it does not have to be a big deal, start by asking them to look for something Asfar/yellow/أصفر while driving to school or when they see a yellow/أصفر thing they have to say Asfar/أصفر. Remember that kids learn effortlessly while playing. 
Using Arabic Playground Flashcards to reinforce reading and writing
Orange for carrots
 Purple for grapes

Happy learning!

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