NYU Professor Launches Mobile App to Promote BILINGUALISM IN HISPANIC CHILDREN

The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education, April/May 2018 | Go to article overview

NYU Professor Launches Mobile App to Promote BILINGUALISM IN HISPANIC CHILDREN


NYU Steinhardt Assistant Professor of Applied Psychology Dr. Natalie Brito launched, Háblame Bebé, a free educational mobile application for iOS and Android operating systems, which provides Spanish- speaking parents with the tools to engage with their infants and toddlers in both English and Spanish with the goal of developing early bilingual learners and reducing the 'word gap' in low-income Hispanic children.

"Hispanics frequently encounter linguistic racism," Dr. Brito said. "Low-income Hispanic caregivers are often incorrectly told to speak English to their children instead of their native Spanish language, while doing so can actually be detrimental to their child's language abilities and academic achievement later in life. Not only does Háblame Bebé empower parents with accurate information about bilingual language development, but it reminds them that having a solid foundation in Spanish leads to better language outcomes for the child in both English and Spanish. Hearing native speech sounds is best for early brain development and developing language skills."

The Háblame Bebé app empowers caregivers by training them on how to use evidence-based strategies in their heritage language. The app includes:

* a developmental milestone checklist for parents and guardians to monitor learning and share with their child's nurse or pediatrician

* a daily conversation diary

* a bilingual word registry to track the words a child uses in English and Spanish

* videos that discuss bilingual acquisition and its benefits

In addition to other features, the app also sends weekly text messages to caregivers with language strategies and reminders to converse in both languages with their children. …

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