Last Updated on October 18, 2023 by Bilingual Kidspot
If you are raising bilingual kids, you have probably heard of Adam Beck, the founder Bilingual Monkeys. Adam is originally from the USA, but is now living in Hiroshima, Japan with his wife and two bilingual children who speak Japanese and English.
Maximize Your Child’s Bilingual Ability – Adam Beck
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Recommended Book for Parents Raising Bilingual Kids
Adam recently sent me a copy of his newly published book, “Maximize Your Child’s Bilingual Ability” to read. It has a wealth of information and inspiration for parents raising bilingual children. This goal isn’t always going to be easy, but it is worth it. Adam’s advice and strategies throughout the book provide a fantastic overview, setting down a strong foundation to help parents embark on their bilingual journey.
It should be noted, and Adam mentions this himself, that this book is aimed at the parent speaking the minority language. Much of the advice he gives is for parents who are trying to increase the exposure to their children’s minority language.
Adam and his wife follow the OPOL (One person, One Language) strategy with English being the minority language. A lot of his emphasis is on how he provides his children with enough exposure to English to become fluent speakers. It seems that his ideas and suggestions throughout the book have proved to be successful, as his children (his daughter in junior high and son in the fifth grade) are both bilingual and biliterate.
Being the parent who speaks the minority language with my own children, I can definitely relate to many of the points Adam makes, and I found myself nodding my head agreeing with many of his remarks.
Perspectives and Principles
The book is broken up into two main parts: Perspectives and Principles. There are 30 short chapters in each part, which make it a very easy and light read.
In the first half of the book, Perspectives, Adam provides “ways of thinking”. He describes ways that you can put the odds in your favour, helps you to understand that you are not alone, and gives words of encouragement to start or continue your bilingual journey.
Things such as putting the odds in your favour, being serious but playful, thinking creatively, and maintaining firm expectations.
In the second half of the book, Principles, Adam provides “ways of acting”. He gives ideas and inspiration on what you can do, and steps you can take to give your child the best odds of successfully becoming bilingual.
For example starting with the different language strategies families can use, seeking out resources, and the importance of talking to, and reading with your children.
What I enjoyed was that many of the short chapters start with a story, or a metaphor, giving a glimpse into Adam’s family, and his life in Japan. Then at the end of each chapter, there is a quick takeaway, a quote, that summarises what he has been talking about, bringing everything together.
An encouraging and inspiring read
Adam gives no judgement throughout the book, only encouragement. For example where he states “There is no failure – it’s simply the level of ability achieved to date” or, “Just keep going, just keep trying… If you persist long enough, you will succeed.” Adam understands that all families are different.
We have our own goals and our own journey, and no two are the same. “Maximize Your Child’s Bilingual Ability” is definitely worth a read if you are raising, or planning on raising a bilingual child.