Bilingual Education for Child Development

Do you ever wonder why we feature so many bilingual books in our storytimes at the library and in the community? There are very good reasons, according to the Department of Education and research performed by the Hanen Center in Canada, to expose young children to additional languages.

Some of the benefits include:

  • Children who begin learning a second language by the age of 6 are better at problem solving and learning mathematical concepts
  • Bilingual children learn better focus and self-control at critical developmental stages
  • Bilingual children can connect more deeply with their family and culture, and have the opportunity to form meaningful relationships with others through use of their second (or third or fourth!) language
  • Cognitive development is improved when children become bilingual, and continues to benefit the longevity of their minds throughout their lives, and even may delay cognitive decline in later years
  • Bilingual children have been found to be more creative, and have an easier time remembering, focusing and making decisions

Some of my favorite bilingual books to use in storytime include Llamame Arbol by Maya Christina gonzalez, Cuckoo: A Mexican Folktale by Lois Ehlert, and Rubia and the Three Osos by Susan Middleton Elya. 

Did you know the library recently purchased and entire collection of Readalong books that read stories aloud? Some of these are written (and read aloud!) in Spanish and English, like the beautiful La Frontera by Deborah Mills, and some of them are your favorite English picture books, translated into and read in Spanish, like Si Llevas un Raton a la Escuela (If you Bring a Mouse to School) by Laura Numeroff. 

At the Alachua County Library District, we want to give you storytimes and resources that will help your child grow and learn about languages and cultures from all over the world! Keep an eye out for bilingual virtual storytimes, and as always, let us know if we can help you find bilingual resources like those mentioned above and many, many others!