According to research, the language learning process begins before we are born, at around 33 weeks into pregnancy when the auditory system develops. Also, the younger we are, the faster we can learn a new language. That means the fastest language learners are babies! For more about bilingual babies, check out Naja Ferjan Ramirez’ fascinating TED Talk “Creating Bilingual Minds.”
Families typically approach raising dual language learners in one of two ways:
- Some families prioritize one language at home– usually the parent or caregiver’s first language – while using the other language out in the community.
- Other families use two (or more) languages from the start and create opportunities for kids to experience both languages. Playfully mixing languages is a part of becoming bilingual.
Families can support their kids’ language skills by finding enjoyable ways for them to interact with both languages via conversations, games, music, media, cultural events, and, of course, books! For bilingual fun in English and Spanish, check out our new booklist for titles that include words and text both languages (below), or check out our Welcome to Reading and Bienvenidos a la Lectura titles to support beginning readers.
This article was written for our Family Newsletter, available in English and Spanish. Please sign up here and you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
read, listen, watch, birth to 3, educators, families, grades k-5, parents, preschool, mcl blogs
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