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How To Use Bilingual Books with Children | Bilingual Kidspot


5 Ways To Use Bilingual Books With Kids

Bilingual Books are books written in two different languages. They aren’t usually translated word for word, but rather the same story line written in each language. If they are written well, bilingual books can be a valuable resource for parents and educators to use with children.

Anneke Forzani is the founder of Language Lizard, which offers bilingual books, dual-language audio and multilingual resources for teachers, librarians, and bilingual families. Below she shares some tips on how parents and educators can use bilingual books at home and in the classroom.

Read on to find out how you can enter to win bilingual books for your children.

Using Bilingual Books with Children

Studies have shown that supporting a child’s home language is very important for enhancing academic performance, even in cases where the language spoken at school is not the same as the language spoken at home. Children do better in school when their parents read to them, communicate, and engage in daily tasks and activities in the language in which they are most comfortable.

Bilingual books are a great resource for bridging the two different languages. They offer educators the chance to teach their pupils in the school language while providing a tool for home language development and parental involvement.

Books in two languages can motivate parents to continue interacting with their children in their home language, knowing that it will help their overall language development, not hinder their school achievement.

Below are 5 tips for parents and educators to use bilingual books in the classroom and at home to improve literacy skills and encourage cultural appreciation.

1. Teachers can read a bilingual book in the school language and then lend it to the child to read in the home language.

In addition to supporting their child’s overall language development, reading at home with parents strengthens the child-parent bond and helps the parent teach about their shared culture and language.

2. Educators can read bilingual books in English and then show students written text in a second language.

Teachers can use bilingual stories to familiarize children with other languages that use the Roman alphabet as well as languages with different letters and symbols, such as Hindi and Korean. This way, children can better understand that written speech and letters have varied forms.

3. Teachers can read culturally relevant bilingual books.

When educators read multicultural books that show texts from other parts of the world, they are imparting knowledge about various cultures, customs and traditions.  This promotes a climate of cultural diversity and tolerance in the classroom.

4. Parents or other volunteers can read a bilingual book in the non-dominant language.

Teachers can invite parents to participate in reading bilingual books in their home language to the class. The teacher can then read the book in the school language. This enhances the bonds between the class and the family/community. It also makes parents feel welcome and provides an opportunity for them to share their expertise.  If parents are unable or unwilling to come to the classroom, other teachers or community members who know the home language can be invited to read in the second language.

5. Engage children with question and answer sessions and discussion in both the school and home languages.

Bilingual books can offer the chance to discuss the same subjects in two separate languages. Teachers can initiate communication in the school’s language, while parents can do the same in their home language. Children can be sent home with a list of suggested topics for discussion to use with parents at home.

These are just a few examples of ways that teachers and parents can utilize bilingual books at school and at home. The aim is to build a child’s overall literacy and communication skills, ensure that they are proud of their culture and language, and help them become understanding, multicultural citizens.

Bilingual Books Giveaway

*This giveaway is now closed, congratulations Lindsay B and Sarah S*

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  1. Alka Patel

    I work as Children’s Librarian in New Jersey. I speak English, Hindi, Gujarati and understand Punjabi,Marathi and Sanskrit and I do collection development of World Language books and DVDs. My library has books on 33 world languages. I love my bilingual books and story times. I am thinking to add learning language launchpads and apps. I go to different language websites and sometimes on Facebook to know different upcoming books and talks in language learning for kids.

  2. Tara Maldonado

    Our kiddos speak Spanish and English. We are always trying to build our at home library especially books in spanish or bilingual prints. We would love to add Row Row Row your boat or I took the moon for a walk to our library.

  3. Shannon Batenhorst

    Hello and thank you for this opportunity. I am a Speech Language Pathologist & tutor Spanish as a first language individuals including children and am certified in ESL through the Wyoming State Department of Education PTSB department. I would love to have The Very Hungry Catepillar. It would obviously be very useful in its original form let alone other creative applications.

  4. Malihe

    Hello, I’m from Iran.
    I read some English books for my children without translate them.
    Is it a right method to translate for bilingual kids?

    • Comment by post author

      Hello Malihe,
      This article is on how parents can use bilingual books to their advantage. You do not have to translate monolingual books when you read to your children.
      I guess if you only have English books and would like your children to learn Farsi, then you could translate eventually. However if you have books in Farsi it is also fine to just read those.

  5. Kq

    Spanish and English
    The very hungry caterpillar

  6. Dena Brown

    My name is Dena Brown, I teach elementary Spanish. My students loveeeee when I read to them in Spanish. Especially books they’re familiar with already in English.

    I’d love Goldilocks and the three bears!

  7. Hello! We are Taichung our two little boys English & Spanish. We would love what to do with the Boo Hoo baby!

  8. Nikary Plaza

    My daughter and my son both speak English and Spanish. My oldest who is 7 knows how to read and write in both languages. If I am selected I would like Ricitos de oro y los 3 ositos.

  9. Maria Teresa Magaña

    Amor y pollo asado

  10. I love this website
    My 8 year old daughter speaks both Turkish and English fluently

  11. Lindsay Bellman

    My name is Lindsay Bellman, I am teaching 2nd grade this year (first year teacher!) in a very diverse area so I would love to have some bilingual books to use in the classroom! I would love to have the Very Hungry Caterpillar one!

  12. Mary

    My daughter speaks English and is learning Mandarin Chinese. She has always enjoyed reading Goldie locks and the 3 bears

  13. Kyra Henderson

    Hi, I teach Spanish to native English Speakers. I would love to add “Augustus and His Smile” to my collection.

  14. Chaustre

    Spanish and English
    We would love Amor y Pollo Asado

  15. Sarah

    Hi, I have two children aged 6 and 3 learning English and Urdu. We love to read and would enjoy many of these bilingual books including, ‘Tom and Sofia start school’. I just saw the PENpal audio recorder, which looks like it would be an interesting and a useful tool on our bilingual journey!

  16. Janel De Santis

    I have four children who are learning English and Italian. ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ would be a fun read for us!

  17. Jacquelyn

    Love these ideas! We use both English and Spanish at home with our 4 and 2.5 year old daughters, and they attend a Spanish immersion pre-school during the week. I would be most interested in some of the classic children’s stories & fairy tales for our book-loving girls! (Goldilocks, Little Res Hen, The Elves and the Shoemaker, etc.)

  18. Mara

    My daughters 6 months but I miss hoping to teach her Spanish and Italian. We’d love brown bear brown bear what do you see 😉

  19. Wayna Cariaga

    Hi my 6 year old daughter Sonia speaks English, Spanish and a little Tagalog. She would love to have Goldilocks and the Three Bears in Spanish!!

  20. Adriana

    My kids understand Spanish and English. The would like ricitos de oro y los tres ositos

  21. Christine Newman

    Christine Newman

    My children speak English and are learning Spanish and Hebrew. 2 of the children are in an immersion program.

    We would love to get Goldilocks and the 3 Bears

  22. Gaby

    Hey! My three year old is bilingual, he’s growing up learning Spanish and German and he surprises us with how well he can change from one language to the other, we are doing the same thing as well with our 10 month old son. Too bad we don’t live in the USA. Please let us know about international giveaways.

  23. Janine Moore

    My son is 5 years and he speaks German and English… we both love books. I would love to get Goldilocks and the 3 bears 🙂

  24. Marta

    Our 3 daughters speak Polish,Punjabi and English. I’d love to Deepak’s Divali

  25. Karla Kiehl

    I am teaching my 2 year old twin daughters Spanish and English. They are starting to talk more and more everyday. I just love how they mix, add, and combine the two languages. I would love to get more books and other teaching aids to help us ease this ride.

    Goldlocks and the three bears

  26. Dani

    Dani Kenyon.

    My son Dom speaks English, Spanish and Catalan.

    I’d love The Three Billy Goats Gruff in English and Spanish, please!

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