Reading bilingual books with children

Reading bilingual books with children

Reading is such an essential component of a child’s language development. And it’s something that all bilingual parents should consider in their daily life. Although it is true that “kids are like sponges,” as I’m sure you’ve heard many times. Expecting them to absorb all they see or hear is unrealistic. Bilingual children require ongoing language input, and their language abilities, vocabulary, and grammar will only improve as they are exposed to the language on a regular basis. This is true for children who are monolingual, bilingual, or multilingual. Bilingual books are a valuable tool for parents and children when it comes to biliteracy. These allow children to work on two languages simultaneously and gain confidence in both languages.

Benefits of Bilingual Children’s Books

Bilingual books, often known as ‘Dual-Language Books‘ or ‘Side-by-Side Books,’ are excellent vocabulary and language learning sources. They will usually feature both languages side by side on one double page, allowing you to choose which language to use for storytime. Finding ways to move beyond the daily language utilized is a challenge for bilingual parents, as this can become monotonous and stifle their child’s language development.

When a tale is told in two languages, the less-familiar language becomes less threatening. A Spanish learner can read a bilingual book at home with their parents and then use the same book to study Spanish at school with a familiar tale. Young children enjoy reading and rereading, exhibiting an early inclination for familiarity in the learning process. Bilingual novels provide a greater understanding and comprehension of a lesser-known language.

Parental involvement improves a student’s academic success, and bilingual books offer another way for parents to get involved in their child’s education. It also encourages parents to read to their children in their native language. Bilingual books can be utilized in various ways to engage parents and increase community involvement. A classroom teacher, for example, can enlist the help of parents by requesting them to read a bilingual book to the class, perhaps one that has already been read in English.

How to choose the Best Bilingual Children’s Books

The most influential books encourage, if not demand, engagement, and interaction. There are various options available, ranging from flipbooks to books with texture to simple books with intricate drawings, all of which can help you as the reader engage your child and find topics to discuss. Books that are bilingual are no exception.

Both languages should be equally represented in an excellent bilingual book. Some multilingual books use a smaller or cursive font or even parentheses to present the legacy language. This makes the legacy language less accessible to the reader and less essential than the major language. Both languages should be displayed with equal status in a bilingual book to empower the bilingual reader appropriately. For ease of reading, different fonts are suggested, but both languages should be legible and prominently shown on every page.

Don’t just read the book from cover to cover without pause. Turn story time into an adventure. Children’s attention spans range from 7 to 25 minutes, so the more dynamic, engaging, and enjoyable; you can make story time, the longer you can hope to keep them interested and aware. Give them an experience they’ll want to repeat to show them how fascinating other languages can be.

If your child has previously read the book a few times, think up a new plot for that page and see how your child reacts. Isn’t it true that if she understands the narrative well, she will argue that you are misreading it and defend the original story in her own words? Telling you the story in their own words is that thing you want to achieve. By this, you would ensure that your child is learning both languages simultaneously and getting professional in both languages.


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