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The importance of reading to your bilingual child

You can ask the question: “why should a child be able to read and write in a second language?”

In English, he will learn to read and write at school. What’s the point of wasting energy – his and his child’s – when there is enough to do?

One spanish bedtime story or Welsh children’s books will help your children go deep through the language learning process. 

We will give some tips on how you can teach your child to read and write on your own. Even if he is not taught this at school.

Reading in a second language.

We will now list the reasons that testify to the importance of being able to read in a second language.
  • The ability to read is the basis of literacy and knowledge of any language.

    Some linguists believe that it is possible to learn a language through reading alone. This is exactly what happens to many adults who learn foreign languages ​​from textbooks and books. Children learn by first adopting the spoken language, and then moving on to reading. reading is easier for them than writing, because they already know how to speak, and reading reinforces all previously acquired language knowledge.

  • Reading allows you to expand the language environment.

    The difference comes down to speed: speaking is fast, while reading is a slower activity. a child can look at it for a long time and read or pronounce words and sentences to himself many times to better understand and remember them.

  • Reading increases vocabulary, which leads to improved comprehension and guarantees greater enjoyment and mastery of the language. This lesson is considered one of the best means for learning new words and immersing yourself in the language environment. the more words a child knows, the better he understands the language as a whole and owns it, and therefore, the more ways he can express himself and the more willing he will be to speak this language.


  • Reading to child opens up a higher level of language proficiency.

    This skill makes it possible to formulate long sentences and shows that a person is an “advanced user” of the language. the child begins to understand and independently formulate longer and more complex sentences gain the ability to solve language problems, and also expresses himself using a richer vocabulary, more accurately and colorfully.

  • Another plus is the improvement in cognitive abilities. Being able to read in a second language is not just a big step in terms of mastering the language, but also training for the brain. Good knowledge of the language helps to reach a new level of thinking. Bilingual children who can read in two languages ​​improve their cognitive abilities.
  • The ability to read helps not to forget the language and keep it for life. The habit of reading books and other textual materials will enable the child to enjoy the language and increase his degree of independence. Over time, during the student years or after entering the workplace, this skill will help your son or daughter retain the language if they cannot, for example, communicate verbally in it as often as before.

How does this happen?

You must have visited some country where the Latin alphabet is adopted. You did not know the local language, but you could read the written text without having any idea how it was translated, and without being sure that you uttered the correct sounds. Quite often you read such text phonetically incorrectly. Like you in a language you don’t know, a bilingual child with a certain level of proficiency in their second spoken language and a basic knowledge of the rules for writing and reading English words looks at the text in the second language and tries to reproduce it phonetically correctly. A bilingual child learning to read will do better than a person who does not know the language at all.

The phenomenon of the transition of acquired pronunciation

I have mentioned the phenomenon of the transition of acquired pronunciation, reading, and writing skills from one language to another. We have already talked about this in terms of the ability to compose complex and long sentences. Undoubtedly, there are rules for reading and pronunciation that are specific to a particular language. But, reading in any language is a process of dividing words into sounds. The ability to do this can also be passed from one language to another. if a child has learned to break a word into sounds in one language, he will master a similar action in the case of another. if a child has had to practice a lot to learn to read in one language, he will also have to spend a lot of time and effort learning to read in another language. (I will elaborate on reading and writing difficulties in bilingual children in the second part of the next chapter.)

if a child is already able to speak two languages. It will be much easier for him to learn to write in them. The researchers concluded that bilingual children understand the relationship between the spelling of a letter or a combination of letters. And their sound much better than their ordinary peers, that is. They can recognize the sounds necessary to learn to read.

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