Month: September 2016

When Children Learn Multiple Languages

french-bilingual-baby-dvd-and-flashcafrdsIt is something that most of us already know—learning a foreign language at a very young age improves cognitive development and more. However, the U.S. has not yet begun to match its foreign counterparts in terms of language education. If parents want their children to benefit from that schooling, they must often take matters into their own hands at home.

When Children Learn

Research shows that when children learn multiple languages as early as possible—even around the age of three or earlier—may have improved intellectual skills throughout their future education. It is argued that teaching foreign language concepts alongside standard early education, even to infants at home, is the best way to begin a child’s schooling.

The idea is partially based in the fact that a human is best able to mimic sounds as child; as a person grows and develops the ability to speak the native language, it becomes more difficult to mimic the sounds of a foreign one. In addition to having an easier time, studies have shown that when children learn multiple languages it benefits critical thinking skills, and both creative and logical thought. Over time, data has shown that students who acquired more than one language early on perform better in educational testing.

You do not have to wait for a school to teach your child language skills and doing so does not mean a major expense. Most parents may begin teaching the native language at home; all you need to do is add another language to the daily activities you do with your child. Almost any toy, activity, DVD, or book you bring into your child’s life can be found in a foreign language. That’s where World of Reading comes in.

We offer all you need to supplement your child’s language education at home. Children’s literature, educational tools, DVDs, audio CDs, and more from our World of Reading online shop can help you with this endeavor.

To Read is to Learn

If you want to learn a new language, your first instinct may be to reach for the audio learning software. This is not a bad decision, particularly if you want to communicate verbally in that language and you are an auditory learner. However, what if you are a visual learner?

Reading is equally as important. Fully understanding the words and being able to communicate, and understand others’ communications via any type of written content make reading essential. So, here is some advice for learning to read as you absorb your chosen second language.

There’s no shame in starting simple.

chenilleBIGYou do not have to pick up the classics of French when you start learning. Let those be goals for you. Instead, pick up translations of your childhood favorites, such as Dr. Seuss, or Eric Carle.  See how those familiar tales look in a foreign language, and see what you know so well in a different linguistic light. Or, choose children’s classics that originated in the language you’re learning, such as Le Petit Prince. Read blurbs, blogs, or even mere titles. Remember, there is no rush; take your time and enjoy the process of learning. You’ll be reading the more dense materials sooner than you think.

Invest in a portable dictionary.

You don’t have to buy a giant hardback book. You can have a little paperback, or, thanks to modern mobile technology, you can have all that’s in a large dictionary on your phone or tablet. Choose whatever is more convenient for you and take a study approach to reading. Be ready to encounter a word you don’t know and look it up. This is taking advantage of the fact that reading in a foreign language is one of the best ways to improve your vocabulary. If you take the time to look up each unfamiliar word you come across, you’ll remember them that much better.

Read aloud to yourself, or to others.

When you read, you use specific parts of your brain. When you speak, you use some others. When you do both at the same time, your brain is working even more, and you retain information even better. You hear the words and improve your verbal pronunciation, while simultaneously bettering your vocabulary and ability to make connections between the words. If you’re too shy to do so around others, find time for yourself. If you have children, read to them and let them learn with you.

Come get all the things you need to learn a new language at World of Reading. Then watch, listen, read, and learn, and give yourself all that knowing a second language has to offer.