Jules Says . . . Bilingual Books for Children--Plus Learning a New Language (10 Minutes per session)
For many years I was caught in a conundrum. On one hand, I was always urging families to spend at least twenty minutes a day, four days a week, reading interactively with their child. Research bears out that reading to your child, on a regular basis, is the single most important thing you can do to help him or her succeed in academics—and in life.
On the other hand, I was aware that many of the immigrant families I worked with would appreciate being able to read with their child, if they could share books in their first languages. I would suggest that they visit the city library and check out the bilingual children’s book section. But were there enough titles? And would all families’ native languages be represented?
My wish for bilingual books in many, many languages has come true via a new initiative called Bab’l Books. This far-ranging project, developed by two Harvard students with support from LearnLaunch (an accelerator that focuses on early-stage education technology companies), addresses this issue head on.
“More than 20 million school-aged children in the U.S. live in multilingual households, but few children’s books are available for small language groups,” the creators’ welcoming statement says. “We aim to make bilingual storybooks available to anyone, anywhere, in any language.” What a boon for children and families! They can take turns reading to each other in one or both languages, such as Chinese, Tagalog, Hindi, and Vietnamese.
Are you fluent in one or more languages.? Help Bab’l Books translate their next round of books by clicking here. Stay up to date on their newest offerings by following them on Twitter.
Try out some books with families you know who long to read books to their children in their native language(s). Let us know how it goes!
While we’re talking about language learning, check out LinguiMind Apps. These apps are designed to inspire children to learn a new language (in 10-minute sessions) by providing practice. Here’s a link to an app that focuses on ABC’s, Numbers, Colors, Letter Flash Cards, in English, Spanish, and French ($1.99 at the iTunes store).
Again, try it out with a child who would love to learn Spanish and/or French. Write to us about your experience! Write to us about your experience!
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This is where Jules and Nic will post articles, links to interesting sites and things that we think our TechnoTeachers will like.