Getting a Head Start: Why Raising Bilingual Readers Is Beneficial
We are living in a world that is more connected than ever. Cultures and languages that usually would have been separated by thousands of miles are now interacting on a daily basis. This is a beautiful phenomenon. It helps ideas to flourish, cultures to thrive, and children to grow into more worldly individuals.
Once of the greatest benefits to come from all of this culture mixing, is the rise of bilingual children. Through the years, the advantages of being able to speak or read in multiple languages have been proven to help children in multiple ways for their entire lives.
So What Are The Benefits To Your Children?
Children who can speak a second language have an increased attention span. This is not because they can speak two languages, but rather because they have to pay attention to when they should be speaking a certain language. By simply having to listen to their surroundings to select how they talk, children increase their ability to pay attention.
2. School Performance
In direct correlation to their increase in attention span, children who are bilingual will see an increase in their school performance. Since they can listen carefully from a young age to determine which language they are hearing/should use, they have no problem listening in on what a teacher is saying.
It goes without saying that someone who can read and understand two separate languages is going to have a better appreciation and perception of diversity than a peer who only understands one. This cluing into different cultures will have great benefits as the child gets older and gets out into the workforce.
4. Protection From Cognitive Diseases
As an additional payoff that you as a parent may not ever see, it has been seen that children who are raised bilingual have a better chance of warding off cognitive diseases like Parkinson’s or Dementia later on in life. This is because their brain is more fully engaged.
How Can You Tap Into These Benefits?
- Speak Another Language Yourself
If you can speak a different language at home than your child will hear at school or out in public, you will be able to help them to become bilingual. This can also have the added benefit of helping your child to tap into, understand, and keep your culture.
- Read Bilingual Books To Your Child
There are lots of reasons that a child should be able to speak two languages, but it is just as important to be able to read in two languages as well. Not only will your child enjoy the thought that they are learning to read, but learning to read in two languages will make them feel proud of themselves. And that is just the beginning! There are so many reasons to want to read in multiple languages. Reasons like:
- Improved reading ability in English
- Increased decoding skills
- Increased understanding of cultural differences
- Increased ability to understand grammar and the conventions of language
- Improve reading comprehension
- Ability to compete in a world job market later in life
- Start When They Are Young
You should start speaking and reading to your child in multiple languages when they are young, even before they can speak themselves. While they are still developing their first language, they will very quickly and easily pick up multiple languages.
Highly Recommended, Highly Beneficial
Raising your child to be bilingual can be extremely helpful. It will increase their attention span, give them a deeper understanding of diversity, help their school performance, and protect against cognitive disease later in life.
We hope that you take the opportunity to make use of this highly useful life skill while your child is young because that will make it that much easier for them to learn a second language.
It is also really simple to do! If you can speak another language, you are already on the right path. However, you should also try and read to your child in another language as well. This will help focus them even more since they will be interested in the books and their characters, which will speed up their learning of the language!