Give The Gift of Languages This Holiday Season

We live in an increasingly global society - our neighbor is from Puerto Rico, our co-worker from South Africa and our child's teacher from Sweden! We realize as adults how hard it is to learn a new language at this point in our life, but it's not too late for our children! Time & Newsweek ran feature articles on the window of opportunity for second language learning - reported to be between birth and ten years old. It's true! Why? A growing number of brain studies indicate that young children learn languages easily and retain them longer if they are exposed to new languages early in life. Experts agree that while a baby is learning one word for an item, it is just as easy for his young brain to learn a second word for the same item. Recent studies out of York University show that children who received instruction in two languages scored twice as high on language tests than their monolingual peers. These bilingual children also read sooner and demonstrated advanced problem solving capabilities. (Dr.

Ellen Bialystok, 2001) Latest research suggests that children learning through a bilingual format will outperform their mono-lingual peers in grade school as they experience advanced cognitive development. And the added benefit of learning a second language before middle school? These children will speak the new languages with native or near-native pronunciation. You see how quickly your child learns new things between the ages of birth and five - why shouldn't a new language be next on the list of important things to bring into her life? Give this gift early enough, and your child will read sooner, score higher on standardized tests and have better opportunities in life.

With many linguists, educators and experts agreeing that sooner is better, begin the bilingual fun now! By six months old a baby has the ability to learn all the languages of our world - all at the same time. Up until the age of five a child still has the ability to learn five languages simultaneously. By middle school we all know learning a new language is no longer as easy as it used to be in elementary school. Children whose brains have been wired to learn languages early in life will experience advanced success in learning any language of their choice later in life.

Find a fun way to bring the language learning into your family's daily routine. Look for programs and products that use a bilingual format for children ages birth - five. Reason being that as the young child is still acquiring skills in their native language, the new language should be presented in a seamless bilingual format with both languages presented side-by-side. This allows for better retention and higher self esteem. Make the second language journey easy and fun for you and your child. Sing, dance and play together as you enjoy learning each new word on the path to becoming bilingual for successful travel through our very global society.

Beth Butler is the creator of the BOCA BETH Language Learning Series for young children. Find out how fun and easy it can be to raise a bilingual child. Sample the BOCA BETH bilingual music and movies for free at Call toll free to 1.877.825.2622 or 1.813.244.1432.


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