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How To Use Bilingual Books with Children | Bilingual Kidspot


Last Updated on October 4, 2023 by 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.

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.

How to use Bilingual Books with Kids

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.

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