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We are an Afrikaans first language family so do I teach my children to read Afrikaans before I start teaching them to read English with LLATL Blue Book?

There are such a variety of views on this subject. Loads of research has been done on this topic so perhaps you would like to investigate the results. What we, here at Oikos, can share with you is peoples testimonies of the different approaches to this and what has worked for them.

Thousands of Afrikaans families are using LLATL Blue book to teach their children to read in English. Some wait until their children are fluent readers in Afrikaans, while others go straight to teaching reading in English. As Afrikaans is their home tongue the children can pick up reading for pleasure in Afrikaans with ease as their age, maturity and skill level is appropriate. The parents feel that they want the children to become solid in English language skills from as early an age as possible.

Sorry this is not a straight forward answer but it is more about what the parents feel is best for their family. The simple answer though is YES, many Afrikaans families use Blue Book from the start.

If you decide to wait and lay the Afrikaans reading foundations down well before starting with LLATL Blue Book that is also ok. Families who have done it this way find their children do manage quite well due to maturity, so although they may be doing Blue Book, which is beginner reading level, at around age 8,9,10 or even later, it is ok because it is second language and they work up through the LLATL books well and systematically from that point even though they may not be doing the specific ‘grade’ level appropriate to their age. In the end it all works out, even if it means they do not get to the final LLATL Gold book because that is at an English level of around grade 13.

Hopefully this has helped to clarify this debatable point. As previously mentioned, there are a few different approaches to this and we have not heard any negative for either way, whichever the family has chosen seems to work for them. BUT, we have not spent hours researching long term effects of one way or another.

Lastly, Afrikaans families have told us that most of what the children do is English based, being computer, internet, television, etc., so they have felt it to be supportive for their children to start them with English before they have a solid foundation in reading in their home tongue. It is all very debatable, we leave it for you to pray about and follow His leading for your family.