Last month, one of our LIP students created this little story book about herself and her pet rabbit. Her pictures were beautiful and her written message appropriate for a beginning English language-learner who has a Dutch mother-tongue. When you take a closer look though, her written message shows us how she is thinking and processing language.
"I want to go at my slap room" is her way of saying, "I want to go to my bedroom."
In the Dutch language, the word for "bedroom" is called "slaapkamer" so this simple error shows us that she does not yet have the vocabulary solidified. Despite this, she doesn't stop writing or get discouraged, but she copes by using what she already knows from her first langauge and then puts it together with what she knows in English: "slap room". Brilliant!
Bilingual children go through many stages as they try to grasp the vocabulary and writing conventions in English. By analysing the errors that these children make, you can gain excellent information from which to focus your next "teaching point." Then you will be teaching them exactlly what they need to learn next.