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Friday, April 3, 2009

Why Help your Kids be Bi-lingual?

I've been reading "The Bilingual Edge" (by Kendall King and Alison Mackey )and I must say I find the book very helpful. The text is easy to read, as though the authors are having a conversation with you.

Interesting to me are the reasons they cited about the advantages your child will get by being bi-lingual (English-Chinese, for example.)

It has been found that bi-lingual kids are:
  • Smarter. More creative, intellectually flexible
  • Socially open.
It turns out bi-lingual children are subjected to more brain activity as they learn two different sets of language. And since their brains are more active, it is but natural for bilingual kids to be more creative and flexible. It was found that bilingual kids can come up with more different answers to problem-solving questions. Not surprisingly, even in test scores and academic performance, it has been seen that bilinguals tend to outperform monolinguals. Note that this is more true for children who have an advanced knowledge of another language, rather than those who know how only how to greet and count in a second language. (However, the latter still tend to be "smarter" than monolinguals. )

As for the social benefits, bilinguals are more understanding of people of the secondary language, and people of other cultures as well. Knowing another language opens their eyes and their hearts that people are different and people should take time to listen to each other. For kids, it is easier to learn about one's heritage if songs, rhymes and stories are understood in the native language. Later on, these children will be the same ones who will reach out to people of different groups. They will also be the link to the next generation's appreciation of one's culture.

Either way, the intellectual and social boost being bilingual brings are characteristics we aspire for our children. Teaching your kids to be bilingual is a win-win experience for the child, for your family, community and even the global community.

Bilingual Edge shares more about why, when and how to teach your child a second language.

Or see more parenting-bilinguals books.

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Blogger Leanne Franson said...

thanks for posting abou thtis book. I enjoyed the Bilingual Edge too.
(Leanne in Montreal, Canada, mama to Taotao)

April 7, 2009 at 7:11 PM  
Anonymous Tait said...

Childbook.com looks useful. I'll be checking it out in about a year or two if everything goes as planned...

April 15, 2009 at 12:59 PM  

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