The ideal way for a child to learn another language is by spending time with family members who can speak that language. However, this ideal situation is not always possible and for those monolingual parents who would like their child to benefit from being able to speak another language – bilingual books can help to expose the child to the language in an enjoyable and fun way.
Let’s look at how you can use these books to help your child on their way to becoming bilingual:
Read a bilingual book out loud in the 2nd language.
Researchers have reported that reading to a child at home do a lot to strengthen a child’s academic skills. It’s also a way to spend quality time together and bond the relationship. As you read, run your finger under each word so that the child can see what the characters look like for that work.
Bilingual books that demonstrate the culture work well.
Just as travel broadens the mind, learning about different culture, customs and traditions through books can do the same for children. It’s also a great way to encourage the child to be comfortable with cultural diversity.
Encourage older children to write their own bilingual books.
Once children have read through a few books and understand the concept of bilingual books, work with them to create their own books. They will enjoy the self-esteem that comes from being able to speak two languages. If your child is too young to be able to read and write, work with them on the pictures and write the words for them.
Let them choose their own bilingual books.
Children love to choose their own books; it makes them feel that they are empowered. Many local libraries have books that include more than one language on offer. Otherwise use the internet to find books that will appeal to your children and help them choose titles that they’ll enjoy reading.
Discuss the book in both languages.
Books that are bilingual offer a great opportunity for conversation. Ask questions in both languages about the book and discuss the events and images that is covers.
Help your child read in both languages.
Introduce the words in both languages even if one language comes easier than that other. Understanding the story in one language will actually help them to understand and piece it together in the weaker language. Ask children to read the book to you in the language that they are less strong in – in order to give them more exposure to it.
It’s essential to have fun whilst learning. Nobody wants to feel that learning is just a big drag, in particular our children. Bilingual books offer an opportunity to have fun and work together to understand more about a language.
By using bilingual books, you can help your child get to grips with a language and get them on the road to being able to speak more vocabulary.