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Five Ways Bilingual Books Promote Literacy


Some parents and teachers are reluctant to use bilingual books with children because they worry that they will only focus on the words in their stronger language. However, when used appropriately, bilingual books can help children master their second language more quickly. In honor of Celebrate the Bilingual Child Month, please find below five ways bilingual books can support literacy skills, encourage dual language learners, and promote an interest in reading.

Improving language skills
Researchers agree that a solid foundation in the home language will help facilitate the acquisition of additional languages. Children who learn to speak and read in more than one language will be able to transfer skills and knowledge between languages and can achieve better fluency in both languages. Bilingual books provide children with the opportunity to read and be read to in their stronger language while at the same time learning vocabulary and sentence structure in the second language.

Enhancing reading enjoyment
The more bilingual children enjoy reading (in either language), the more their overall literacy skills will develop and strengthen in both languages. Bilingual books for young children are engaging, interesting and captivating. Bilingual children look forward to reading good stories over and over again in both languages, which in turn strengthens their literacy even further through repeated exposure.

Encouraging literacy 
Children who feel successful reading in their first language will be more enthusiastic about trying to read] in additional languages. Since bilingual books provide sentences in both languages, children (and adults) can more easily see similarities between words and will be able to compare/learn sentence structure, making them more eager to try out their newfound literacy skills in a second language.

Promoting quality writing 
When children are given well-written bilingual books, they have the opportunity to absorb quality literature in both languages. This is especially important for bilingual children who are developing their literacy skills in more than one language. Quality bilingual books encourage them to build a strong vocabulary in both languages.

Valuing both languages 
When children see their home language written side-by-side with the second language, they will identify both languages as being equally important. This is a key element in helping dual language families feel that their home language is respected and appreciated.

 

Bilingual books should be used in a variety of contexts (e.g. reading out loud, discussing the story, writing about elements from the story). With a supportive, encouraging environment to explore, language learning and reading will be a fun activity for young children.

Interested in winning bilingual books? Enter Language Lizard’s $1000+ Bilingual Book Giveaway at: LanguageLizard.com/Win-Bilingual-Books


Anneke Forzani founded Language Lizard to provide educators, librarians and parents with resources that develop literacy skills among English Language Learners, build inclusive classrooms and celebrate cultural diversity. Language Lizard offers bilingual books in over 50 languages, multilingual audio resources, multicultural posters & book sets, and free lesson plans to support multicultural classrooms. The company also runs a blog for parents and teachers working with language learners and culturally diverse students.

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