- Fri May 18, 2012 9:12 am
This is very much a personal, unqualified opinion based only on my own experience with my 9 year old - he started at spanish school at 4 years old and fortunately has done very well.
I made the decision not to force english reading and writing on him initially, as I wanted him to get a proper grasp of spanish first, and I was quite prepared to help him at home at a later time if he needed it.
He has always had english books, but his one big interest was Doctor Who so he has had a Doctor Who magazine every week since he was around 5 years old ( and he still has them all as he won't throw a single one away!). From these, and his books, he was reading fluently in english from around 6 years old IIRC.
IMO it is easier for a child to read english once they have learned to read in spanish, as every letter (with some exceptions) is pronounced in spanish and by pronouncing every letter in english, and already knowing the word in spoken english, they can work out what the word is. Hard to explain easily!
They will sometimes mis-pronounce a strange word, or use a strange conjugation of a verb in english, and of course this is unlikely to be corrected in school, as it would be if they were in english school.
As regards the teaching of english in spanish school, at Los Dolses the children now have english lessons from age 4 I believe, and in primary the english and spanish children are taught english separately, with the english children using more complex text books. From what I have seen, the level of english taught is roughly equivalent to the level in an english school.
As I stated this is only my personal experience, I am lucky my son found something he was interested in and was keen to be able to read in english and he really did teach himself. I was astounded to hear him reading out loud having had no formal teaching in english. In conclusion I believe that whilst the children might start actually being able to read english slightly later than they would do in England, being in Spanish school is not going to be a major dis-advantage, but they should be allowed to grasp the spanish first without being forced to attain a similar level in english at the same time.
Hope that made sense!