How to teach your child foreign language with Doman method

This is just a summary of the Glenn Doman’s method of teaching children a foreign language with my own comments. For easier identification, my own comments are going to be in blue.

  1. Select which language you want to teach.
    I really like Teresa’s recomendations on your selection of the language.
  2. Materials that you need:
  3. Dictionary
  4. Tapes
  5. Bit of Intelligence Cards
  6. Reading materials
  7. How to teach:
  8. Bits of Intelligence: picture on one side, word on the other. I think for the words, the same rules apply on fonts and sizes, as in Teaching To Read: see How To Make My Own Materials. For the images: same rules as for Encyclopedic knowledge cards – large clear picture on the white background.How to teach bits of Itelligence cards: chose words that your child is using in daily life (I’ve used the same presentations that I did for my baby in his native language and translated the words. If you have “How To Teach Your Baby To Read book, you can find the recomended categories and initial words there. For more on teaching to read, card creation and other recomendations see Teach your baby to Read: Glenn Doman’s Method Also, please check out detailed recomendations by Teresa on How To Teach Doman’s Foreign Language cards.) Initially say the word in baby’s native language a few times, so that you both agree what is shown on a card (especially if it something difficult, such as “fast”, “running”, etc.)
  9. Reading: start with single words, similarly to your native language “Teach Your Baby to Read” Program (See our Teach your baby to Read: Glenn Doman’s Method) proceed to couplets, then small sentences with those words, then books. The only difference that I’ve noticed in the recommendations, was the use of pictures: it is not recommended to use pictures for teaching your baby to read in your native language, but for the foreign language, the illustration is important – your baby needs to understand the new word before he learns how to read it (or to use it!).
  10. Conversation and Dialogs: chose the words that you would use the most often throughout the day, show them to your child and try to use them as often as possible, at least 30 times per week. Then add new words, gradually moving to the more unusual words for your daily life. Besides the words you do with Bits of Intelligence, you can add phrases like “Good Morning”, “Thank you”, “Good night”, “good boy”, etc. Set up the occasions for the use of those words/phrases and use them! E.g., you could pour milk in a glass and say “Here is your la leche” or point to the picture in a book and say “Where is el gato?” Continue increasing the number of words you use – up to 20 by the end of the first month, adding little phrases and sentences. Sample conversations:
    Where is __________? __________Is here.
    Do you like _______? Yes I do. No I don’t.
    What is this? This is __________.
    Do you want _______? Yes I do. No I don’t.
    Pick one set of conversations and repeat it at least three times per day for five days: Do you like milk? Yes I do. No I don’t.
    After presenting a conversation for five days (and substituting word milk for other words that you’ve already covered with your kid, let your child participate by answering: in English, or using your word cards, or in a new language.
    Each week select a conversation to use and use it intensively. The more – the better for both of you. Once both of you are comfortable with a few similar dialogs, you can make your conversations longer by combining sets of phrases.
    Mommy: How are you?
    Child: I’m fine, thank you. And you?
    Mommy: I’m fine too. What’s this?
    Child: This is a banana.
    Mommy:Do you like bananas?
    Child:Yes, I do.
  11. Songs and poems: present three times a day for ten days until the child knows it very well. After ten days (or once you feel your child knows it), stop dropping the last word, pausing for your child to fill in. When your child starts filling in the words, drop two words. Continue with that poem, until your child fills in 50percent of the words. If you child prefers to say “Ah” or “Woo” instead of the real words, praise his efforts no matter what! Your encouragement and praising even very incoherent attempts to participate in this conversation will inspire your baby/child to improve much better then ANY form of criticism that you might use.
  12. Tapes: Categorize words, sentences, songs, poems that you want to record. Each lesson may contain some body parts, some colors, some sentences like “Where is ____?”, a song, etc. Each word should be recorded twice with an English translation in between. Listen to the tape as often as possible during the day, and if this language is new to you as well, listen to your tape at least 10 times before you even play it to your child.
    Sample Lesson:
    Sample Lesson on the Tape
    Lesson 2:
    Sample Lesson on the Tape
  13. Good luck and please don’t hesitate to share your experience!

  1. I am so impressed with the material in the web. I also read book of Glenn Doman and other material for early education. My son is 17 months now and I will teach him soon. My son hasnt talked clearly yet (maybe he confuse about language since my husband and I are from different nationality and at home, sometime we speak our own native language with him and also English). I hope he can understand 3 languages…I have a question, can I teach him a language that I even cannot speak clearly?

  2. Children are amazing: then can learn in multi-lingual households absolutely comfortably and easily switch from language to language based whom they are talking to. I can see that with our own kids, easily switching between English when they are speaking to the neighbors, Russian – to grandmothers, and even dropping in a few phrases in Spanish when our Mexican lawn mowers show up. As for teaching languages are not exactly fluent yourself, I am trying to do exactly that with Spanish. We are learning it together. Obviously my kid’s progress in Spanish is not as big as in the languages that I know, but we are listening to a lot of CDs, book on tapes, songs and read lots of very simple books, so some basic knowledge is slowly creeping in for all of us…

  3. Hi,
    just thought of sharing my own experience – myself was brought up as bilingual, as most children in the Soviet Union Republics who were not ethnic Russians, both Russian & Kazakh as native speaker, and English when I was 8 (though maybe a bit late), but I want to think I am quite fluent in it.

    Now, we speak to our son English, Russian, Kazakh & Greek (his daddy) and I also have another nanny that comes to the house for a couple of hours once/twice a week and play with him while speaking Chinese as the school we aim for will be teaching Mandarin. I love Spanish and speak myself a bit (learned way too late when I was 28) and after 1 I will also introduce him to Spanish.

    My son is 9 month only, I don’t know how proficient he is going to become in all these languages, but I think he understands what we talk about to him in all 4 languages as he responds in his actions.

    Btw, none of us use 1 parent-1 language method, as I was brought up and none of my parents followed this rule. However, there was one rule which I still follow when I speak to my parents or relatives – I answer in the same language they address to me.

    My cousin speaks 9 languages – Russian, Kazakh, Arabic, French, Italian, Spanish, Hebrew, German, Turkish and he says – it does not matter at which age you learn the language, once you learn 1 language and understand the logic of HOW TO LEARN the language, you can easily adopt same logic to learning any other foreign language.

    So, dear parents, it is never really late to learn languages neither for our children, not for us.

  4. Thank you for this website and the PPT. I used them a lot when my son was 18 months old.