Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Illustrazioni Da Francesca Quatraro...

Io AMO l'arte fatto dei bambini, o delle imagine dei bimbi. Questa illustratore crea un immagine semplice pero incantevole. Mi piace tanto.

I LOVE art by children or art with children in it. This illustrator creates such simple images, but they are enchanting. I like them.

Click HERE to see what I mean...

Clicca QUI per vedere...

This artist has a blog and further information about herself directly on her site. Enjoy!!

Questa artista ha un blog e anche altro informazione su se stessa. Trova più informazione sul sito. Buon Divertimento!

A Picture To Remember...

This last son of mine loves Toy Story. I have been buying some Disney books for 2 for E4.90. He has flipped through several of them, but his alltime favorites are Toy Story 1&2, which is one book, and Toy Story 3: La Grande Fuga. He cannot read yet, but is developing a taste for books that makes me glad.

Keep different kinds of books on hand in your home. You never know when your kids may just take take an interest in something, pick up the book to flip through, and by something so simple, possibly develop a true love for the written word. You never know... :-)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Viaggiare è il mio peccato!!: Tutorial: Kit di timbri per inventare storie.

Viaggiare è il mio peccato!!: Tutorial: Kit di timbri per inventare storie.

If you can read in Italian, you may enjoy this creative tutorial idea. It is a really neat idea, I think. Make ink stamps, and allow the kids to use them to create their own stories and books! Hm... May have to include this idea into our summer plans. :-) The objects used are easy to come by (the corks from wine bottles or some small pieces of sanded wood, some spongy material with which good to ink with, scissors, glue, notebook, ink pads, tin can or some other decorative box) and it is something that could very easy keep the kids busy for a good bit. Even if you cannot read in Italian, the author's pictures are excellent and very clear. You can certainly understand what she has done and the gist of the post by those. Happy crafting and summer brainstorming!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Spel Chek, Enywon?... ;-)

Looks like a text message I might send if it is too long, and I want to send it in a short way. But, I don't think I really want to make it a habit in the every day language and spelling department. I really have observed a text-message generation slowly lose their ability and pride in being able to spell simple words. It is not an inability to read, but I believe it is more a lack of accountabity to doing our best no matter what. We have become lazy. "Practice makes perfect" is a phrase of the past. Sad, as the English language is so full of beautiful possibilities. We lose a bit of its beauty in the continuing popularity of communication by texting. I see it emails, and have even heard people SAY text message in everyday language. Weird. hahahahah... Anyway, there is a place for it, certainly. I use it, too, but... Let us not forget the joy of the written word for what it was meant to be. Greatness isn't great with an eight stuck in the middle. It just looks slapped together and very sloppy. (gr8ness) My little vent... Done now. :-)

About.com Resources For Kids In Italian...

Would you like to learn a new Italian word every day?? This link makes it possible to have a word sent right to your in-box daily. It includes audio so you can KNOW how it is supposed to sound, and makes for easy memorizing and practice. A free Italian newletter is also available on this site.


Rosso = Red
Nero = Black
Giallo = Yellow
Verde = Green
Arancione = Orange
Marrone = Brown
Porpora = Purple
Grigio = Grey
Blu = Blue
Rosa = Pink

Now, if you would like to hear how to say them in Italian, go HERE...

The Italian Alphabet contains 21 letters: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, Z

Here you can find the illustrated Italian ABC's with audio for kids.


Here you can learn to count from 1 to 20 in Italian. Includes audio.


Would you like to hear and learn some conversational Italian (for kids)? Go Here.

Topics include: Do you speak English?/Parla Inglese?
At The Zoo/Allo Zoo
Baby Sister/La Sorellina
At The Carnival/Al Luna Park
Happy Birthday/Buon Compleanno


Italian Survival Phrases- Greetings:

Listen to the audio available HERE, and learn how to say these things in Italian: "Hello" in person and on the phone, "Goodbye", "Good morning", "Good afternoon", "Good evening", "How are you?", "How're you doing?", "We're feeling fine", "Thanks, just fine".


Game and Puzzle Ideas in Italian (Scarabeo = Scrabble, Pictionary, and others) See the links listed here for more. We know that games help to improve learning, so... Go see what draws your mind in...


And, I leave you tonight with this very funny clip from the movie "Un american a Roma" with actor Alberto Sordi. He is ranting at his pasta. hahahahah....

Go HERE!!!

Up For Some Bilingual/Multilingual Testimonials???...

One of the many things I like about Bringing Up Baby Bilingual blog is that the author focuses on profiles of a variety of peoples' perspectives and methods of raising their children bilingual or multilingual. I have read several of the "profiles", and I find them so interesting that I had to share. Obviously I do not relate to everyones experiences, but there are certainly some bits and pieces that I do relate to. And there are some great ideas that any of us can implement or learn from. Either way, they are really interesting to read. Hope you think so too. Here is a sample of one called "profile: Geeks in Rome". Click HERE!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Printable Fun and Educational Coloring Books In Italian From Enchanted Learning...

I really liked this idea... it is a coloring book that can be downloaded and printed out to subscribers of the site. (Unfortunately, I could not get a sample photo to download to show you.) Anyway, not only does it encourage learning vocabulary in Italian, it also encourages spelling and writing skills. Unfortunately, it is not available to those of us who are not subscribers ($20.00 a year), but it is a great idea that can be implemented using pictures from a magazine or store flyer, for example.

Topics for these interesting and fun coloring books are: Bestiame (livestock), Sotto Il Mare (Sea Life), and Il Circo (The Circus). There are other fun coloring books as well: English-Italian Picture Dictionary - PDF format, Italian Word Book A Printable Activity Book, Italian Word Book #2 A Printable Activity Book. Click HERE for more info or to see...

ESLprintables Site...

Here is a site that is useful to assist with English grammar, vocabulary and such for children dealing with English As A Second Language (ESL). Actually the site is called ESLprintables. Click here to view some of their various printable worksheet possiblities. Look at the labels in blue along the right and left columns.

Attention, to actually download, you have to be a registered user. They say you can register for free. These worksheets remind me of the ones I used when I was a kid in elementary school. Such fun! Hope they are useful to you.

Place Setting Worksheet In Spanish...

Now, I love to learn practical information in a language, so when I saw this, I thought I needed to put this up for sure. It includes labels that have to be filled in for each detailed part of a place setting. The words are in Spanish. Useful, I think. Click the picture to view larger... And HERE is where you can find the direct link to where it is found on the site.

The words to be inserted are as follows: la cucharita, el cuchillo, el platillo, el plato, la servilleta, la taza, el tazòn, el tenedor, el vaso...

A side note... This site has some sample information for free, but also has a large part of information available by paying a subscription. Here is the link to their free samples page for various printable worksheets on different topics (some educational and some for fun).

With just a little effort and white out, I think this would be useful in any language. I may have to change mine to Italian, and see if I can even do figure out what each is called. Interesting idea...

Don't You Understand "Engrish"?...

Oh, I had a good giggle over this. It is totally pertinent to language, and I just thought you might think it funny as well. I found this link at my friend, Anne's, blog. Thank you, Anne. Enjoy, all!!! hahahaahhaha...

Check out this handwritten sign by a very insistent proprietor in an asian crepe restaurant in West Los Angeles...

Thursday, May 5, 2011

"Bilingual" Games and Activites- Fun &/or Educational In Any Language...

It has happened to me before. Not too long after we moved here to Italy, I had my first challenge on how to have a bilingual Thanksgiving. Hm. Not exactly an easy thing, but we managed. I tried to do what I was used to, which was very frustrating because I married into a family that is not used to, for example, playing games and doing puzzles together as a family.

Over these years, I have had to really think long and hard about activities I could do with a mix of kids who speak Italian, English or both. For birthday parties, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and any other family gatherings along the way, I have resorted to crafts that are easy to explain or games that could be easily manipulated to fit both languages. Obviously it helps if there is one, or more, who know both languages to be able to explain rules, misunderstandings. But, a lot of games do not require a degree in Italian to be able to enjoy.

When I first moved here, I knew some Italian, but I was still trying to get the hang of a lot. So, for that first Thanksgiving, I can only remember one game that worked pretty well, Charades.

Once explained, most of these games do not require talking, or brain power to keep up with conversation, unless you want to. ;-)

1) Charades- I made a list of words by using the Italian-English dictionary that I thought were pretty universal. I wrote them on pieces of paper in both languages so the idea that had to be portrayed was clear in either language. I put them in a container, but not before making myself a copy of that very same list so I could keep track of possible issues. It was fun. I remember it being a little challenging at first, but once they got the hang of it, we played a few rounds and there was lots of laughter. It was a good way to learn some vocabulary and phrases in Italian, too.

2) I think that Pictionary, without the board, could work the same as well, but with a definite bilingual mediator between players, to explain and listen well for the right answer.

3) Sequence

4) Connect Four

5) Operation

6) Building Blocks, construction kits, Legos

7) Pick Up Sticks

8) Uno... GREAT for learning colors and numbers in Italian, or other language

9) Guess Who... Great for learning parts of the face, colors, names of accessories like glasses or hats, in any language


11)Dominoes, Great for counting and learning numbers, in any language

12)Battleship, Great for practicing learning and numbers, in any language

13)Bingo, aka known as Tombola. Here a couple of links to explain the differences between American/English Bingo versus Italian... Here and Here

14)Ker Plunk

15)Freeze Dancing is ALWAYS a hit with the kids. They ask for it for every gathering. It is great exercise, and so much laughter comes out of it. It is played like musical chairs but with dancing kids instead. Let the music play, and the person in charge of the music has to stop it to see if anyone will be caught moving when the music stops. If so, He or she is out. If not, keep going. They LOVE this game, in any language. Hah!

16)Music parades are fun because all the kids have to do is make noise with instruments, yelling, or sounds. This could be adjusted as a Follow the Leader sort of game. If you have musical instruments, you could use them. Or you could have a craft time to make some, but I actually just tell the kids to be creative, to pick something out of our toys and make it an instrument. They always find something. :-)

17)Another favorite activity is CHALK ART time on the driveway. That is a given. This seems like a given, but it is not a common thing here.

18)Bubble Contests- who can blow the biggest bubble, whose lasts longest unpopped, who can pop the most bubbles, etc...

19)Volleyball- I cannot say this about all sports, but even Italians are familiar with "pallavolo". In a town about seven minutes away from us they even have a boys' youth volleyball team and a girls' youth volleyball team.

20)Soccer- obviously this goes without saying in Italy, or should I just say, in Europe? :-)

21)Treasure Hunts have also been used frequently for their popularity. I just changed up depending on the theme of the party.

22)Coloring and drawing... Just offer paper, pens, pencils, markers, colored pencils, and the kids will take it from there.



Don't forget to check the "comments" to see what other readers' ideas have been. Fun stuff!! :-)

Can you think of others? Let me know, and I will add them to my list. Thanks... :-)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

# 2 Where To Find Cheap Reading Material In My Little Corner Of Southern Italy...

So, I have been wracking my brain trying to remember all of the little things I have been stewing on for the last few months.

Here are some other ideas for cheap reading material that can aid in your Italian-language library supplementation:

1-2) Sometimes when I go to the Pediatrician they have a pile of magazines in "ommaggio", free, to parents. It is not a frequent occurrence, but sometimes they have stories and fun activities included. I would prefer taking out those interesting pages, throwing out the rest and making a notebook/folder/three-ring binder of those stories and activities into a book all its own. Actually that can be done for ANY magazine, poems and stories printed off from the computer or found, etc... Either take a notebook and glue them in, or buy clear plastic sleeves to insert them into a 3-ring binder.

3)I keep all Sunday School workbooks for my kids. They get a book for every few months in which to do readings and activites. They are a GREAT source of condensed Bible stories, and the activities can be recopied, by hand if work is complete, onto plain white copy paper.

4)We have been investing in an Italian kid's magazine for my oldest boys called Fionda Junior. It is put out by a ministry for kids here in Italy called Associazione La Fionda Di Davide. The home page has a button where the site can be translated into English. Check the bottom right portion of the page. They have a store to purchase books and other things, teach courses for fun evangelism, have summer camp, etc... Their slogan is "Facciamo piu grande il mondo dei piccoli". More or less that means, "Let's build a bigger world for our little ones".

5) Government school here in Italy still have Catholic influence. Some teachers get a Catholic newspaper called Avvenire, and when they are done with the paper, my kids have often asked them if they can have it to bring home. Included in this newspaper is a children's section called Popotus (with a mascot of an hippopotomus, of course). While they are big on world/current events, sometimes a little too much for my taste, they often include fun and interesting things kids are doing around the world or fun and interesting facts in general. For example: Stories of kids making or having made history by impacting the world around them. There is also a space on the back for jokes and simple activities. I thought about taking the articles I really liked and making a three-ring binder of them or gluing them into a notebook so I can always have a reference to the stories that have made me smile, inpired, or moved. I will have to remember, though, to include where I found them, the date of the issue and other such information, in case I would like to refer to one of them in the future.

Well, I know that some of these ideas require a little hands-on work, but in the end, I will do what needs to be done, if I am desperate, interested, or needy enough. I DO put my kids wanting-to-keep artwork into notebooks. I have one, now beginning two, for each of my kids. We have a one-stop place to see some really fun stuff. And a great place to store artistic milestone memories. So, with a little effort and imagination that can also be done, homemade fashion, for reading material that does not come in an already complete book fashion. Make your own!! :-)

So, I just had a brainstorm idea for the next post... Stay tuned for more...

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Books For Less Than Full Price In My Little Corner Of Southern Italy...

What do you do when your kids lean towards the language not being spoken in the country within which you live? Well, you go into research mode to discover what options you have in offering your kids all possible available resources to gain a better balance in the two (or more) languages he knows. Namely, two good resources are books and dvds.

I have had such a situation. I have been in research mode, and I am glad for some of my discoveries on where to find less than full price books. It has not been easy. Books are very expensive in Italy if you buy them full price in a bookstore, and I prefer to hunt for deals if I possibly can. Problem is, places like yard sales, thrift stores, flea markets, consignment shops, and the like are not available options here- at least here in the South of Italy. I do not know about up North. I am basing my findings on what I know of where I live. So, I have been on a quest to see where I can find cheaper books to add to our scantily supplied Italian library section. We have a lot in English; well, enough for now. ;-)

Ideas For Obtaining Books

1) The Bookstores DO sometimes have deals. For example, I found a rack of Disney story books for two for 4 euro 90 cents (E4.90). But more often than not, I have had to pay full price. I was told that there is not a huge following of book readers in Italy these days. Sad, isn't it? Bookstores suffer for that, obviously, and probably charge more because they have to make up for the difference of not selling a lot. Especially in small towns like the one in which I live and other small towns surrounding us.

2) Used Bookstores do exist here. The issue is that they concentrate mostly on the buying and selling of used SCHOOLBOOKS. They apparently DO have sections of literature for pleasure-reading, but at normal cost.

3) The Library... Now, I have not even been to the library here, though we have lived here for 7 1/2 years now. I have not made it there because I did not drive here at first, and I just recently got my license. Aside from that, I have had reports from others that a lot of libraries here in Southern Italy concentrate, again, on providing information for school purposes. I believe I found recent information, though, that some areas are beginning to provide a small area of children's books. They are only books that are to remain within the library, from what I have heard. At least that was what a friend said of school books. So, that would not be much fun to have to keep going back just to finish a book. I am not a fan of "cliffhangars". :-)

4) Check to see if the school near you has a book library. Ours is trying to also build up its supply. And, they just recently offered to have Wednesday evenings open for kids to come and have free reading time. Books have to remain there. My kids have not been able to go, but at least that is a possiblity.

5) I sent a text message to family and friends stating that I was on the lookout for used books. I asked if they could offer any tips on places I could look. From that phone call, two friends with grown children offered their books to us. Some people have them in storage unused for so long that it is a relief to find someone who can put them to good use. One lady even joked that she was considering burning them to get them out of the way. (A lot of Italians here in the South still utilize wood burning fireplaces, not oil or gas, that offer heat, hot water and the like. Not all but some of us. So while it is a sickening thought for me to hear of books being burned, it is practical in the minds of some people.) Anyway, I was horrified at the idea (actually had heart palpitations), and said I would be only too glad to take them. They ended up being lovely, oversized, and very interesting board books. I love them!

6) There is a consignment-like store called the Mercatino Del Usato.It is one of my most favorite places to go, as it is the closest I can get to a yard sale where I live. I have found some really neat deals. I found a classic version of Little Men (Piccoli Uomino by Louisa May Alcott) in Italian for 3 Euro. I found a copy of Captains Courageous (Capitani Coragiosi) for 1 Euro. But, many times the selection is scanty or not what I lean towards. There are lots of different kinds of items for sale, and sometimes even a useful movie or educational dvd can be found (sometimes with English and Italian audio and subtitles).

7) Italy is known for its open air markets (il Mercato). Well, there is sometimes a man there who sells book from a little table or out of his car. Oftentimes, I am told, the books he sells are those that did not sell well in a bookstore. I found some really good deals there. For example, I got Sherlock Holmes and another classic (in Italian) for 3 euro each. I found a book of simple, good-for-children poems for 2 euro, and I have been enjoying reading it myself. :-)

8) I was thinking of having a Book-themed birthday party! That might be an easy way to encourage people to think about giving books as gifts. Although, not all are book lovers and may not understand the point.

9) Make your own books!! I made one in elementary school. It was a Book Of Me, and it was fun and fairly easy to make, and a great memory-making time. Here is an idea by Bringing Up Baby Bilingual on the very topic of creating your own books. I think it is brilliant, personal, and such a unique idea. Love it!

10)Don't forget to utilize older school books!!! I still have all the books of my older kids from when they were in early elementary school (here in Italy), and they are a great source for age appropriate stories, poems, rhymes, fables and such that my kids can read and memorize.

11) Sometimes there will be special educating events at the school: programs to encourage good eating habits, how to handle a lice outbreak, the importance of exercise, etc... These pamphlets or mini books are worth keeping to have handily around. The point is to keep whatever is in the language you need, so that if you have a good selection for the kids to route through, they will eventualy find something they are interested in flipping through, reading, or skimming. The point is to get their attention TO reading.

12)Keep an eye out for book giveaways. Frankly, I have found more English sites that use this method to draw in customers or attention, but I did find this site in Italian. They is a bookstore in Rome called :Centostorie Libreria Per Bambini that utilizes an occasional book giveaway to draw people in. Smart, don't you think? :-) I am all for it.

13) Edicolas are the indoor newstands. They sometimes have books for sale. They oftentimes are more reasonable than buying at a normal bookstore. They also sell some dvds, some in magazine/dvd sets. I bought a David and Goliath puzzle book a few years back for around 5 euro, for example. Then, just the other week, I found a pack of coloring books that had been celophaned together with a dvd of a cheaply made version of Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs, all for a little under 5 euro. The coloring books are great. And whether or not I decide to keep the dvd, the coloring books were so worth the price paid.

14) Coloring books! Some have simple words already printed within, some have brain teasing activities, and some have words and stickers combined. You can also ADD words to a wordless coloring book, so as to practice vocabulary in a visual way.

15) This idea came to me out of desperation, actually. I have a good selection of books in English, but our selection of Italian books is just being built up. Since they cost so much, I began really brainstorming how I can make this quest for books a little more cost effective. That is when this idea popped into my brain. I called a girlfriend who knows both Italian and English and has done some translations herself. I asked her if she would be willing to help me translate our easy-to-read children's books, for now, into Italian, so we can have bilingual books!!! By creating bilingual books, you save on money, both translations can be put on a page so as to follow easily, and you will have a good selection of books you that you know you love- but in two languages instead of just one. Hah!

16) In the United States, keep an eye out at yard sales, thrift stores, flea markets, book sales, etc... for foreign books. You just may find some neat treasures. My mom actually found a book for kids in Italian at a yard sale. It ended up being a book by Mick Inkpen, creator of Kipper. Cute!

This is my list, for now. I do have good news. All of my efforts to build up our Italian library book supply have had superb results, and I am pleased to report that my kids have been building good habits of reaching for a book to browse through or read a chapter out of. I am so very glad. This journey to teaching my kids to love to read in two languages may have some interesting moments, but it is so worth it.

Happy hunting! And let me know if you have any other ideas to add to my list!!! :-)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Introductory Comment... Welcome!!!

Welcome to Tongue-Tried Bilinguist!!!

You may be wondering where the name comes from, and so that is how I will begin this blog, explaining just that. Yesterday I was pondering some recent challenges that have prompted me to search the World Wide Web for resources and information regarding Italian-American kids. I found plenty on French and Spanish, and some other languages, but I did not find as much for this mix of languages. I know that I have felt very "tried" in the area of learning the language myself. I have wept many tears, and often felt very frustrated, especially in regards to trying to help my kids get through school. I thought of using the word "tongue-tied", but it was not sufficient for what I want to express. So "tongue-tried" was birthed in my mind wanderings yesterday. I like it, and I think it can allow for many different outlets of conversation and trains of thought, while helping to remind me to stay on a certain discussion course.

My family and I live here in Italy, and we are currently being challenged in the area of bilingualism mixed with the character of a child and learning methods of a child. I have searched the web and wracked my brain for ideas that can help me and my kids along the way. Issues like comprehension and dialogue delays have come up, and I have begun to look for educational and fun ways to supplement what they are getting/or NOT getting at school. I have had a hard time of it.

So, in an effort to remember what I have been learning, and hopefully, to help someone else along the way, I will post what has been fun or interesting to learn on this bilingual journey.

I hope you will join with me, and that we can create a very interesting place to learn and grow together. Have a great day!


P.S. I am open to any resources, activities, stories, songs, games, or printables even if they are regarding another language, like Spanish, French, etc... I can look at them, and then see if they can be adjusted to fit to use for Italian-English. So, please DO pass appropriate information along. Thank you...