Yes, I’ll admit it: I’m monolingual. Took Spanish in high school, but that was a looong time ago. And now that my son is taking Spanish in middle school, I’m not much help, I’m afraid.
That’s why I was so intrigued by a terrific book, 7 Steps to Raising a Bilingual Child, by Naomi Steiner, M.D. with Susan Hayes. Steiner is a developmental-behavior pediatrician who works with bilingual families at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, and Hayes is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in Parent & Child, Parenting, Woman’s Day and other publications.
There are so many potential advantages for our kids if they know a second language:
° It’s a huge advantage in competing for and succeeding in jobs in our ever-shrinking world.
° It provides a more complex understanding of other countries and cultures.
° It makes travel to other countries easier and more enriching.
There is evidence that learning a second language early in life offers advantages for brain development, too:
° More cognitive firepower is devoted to language.
° The child is better able to deal with distractions.
° Learning a second language makes it easier to learn a third language.
° Knowing more than one language helps improve the memory and leads to more creative use of language.
Really, there’s no downside to raising a bilingual child. But where do you start, especially if you speak only one language yourself?
This book answers every question I could think of — and then some. You’ll learn about common myths about bilingualism, how to define your language goals for your child, how to decide which parent will speak which language to a child in a bilingual home, making the most of family and community resources, reading and writing in a second language and much more.
If you’re even thinking about raising your child to speak more than one language, you’ll want to check out this book. For more information, click here.