Bilingualism: Reading With Your Child

Bilingualism: Reading With Your Child

reading-with-kidsExtracurricular reading, throughout the year, is one of the best ways to assure children continue to develop language and reading skills fluidly. Children tend to lose weeks or even months of learning when they do not practice their newly acquired language and reading skills over the summer months and other school breaks. Reading at home is essential to helping your child continue to grow his skills. When your child is bilingual, it is of particular importance to include reading materials from both languages.

There are ways to help your child to enjoy reading, if he or she does not, already. Many competing interests pull children away from academic pursuits. Reading in the second language can cement skills and provide a fun distraction, especially if reading time is also special parent-child time.

Popular children’s books available in other languages

Following are some suggested children’s books for preschool and grade school children. It is necessary for your child’s academic progress that you select books from her reading grade level, rather than her actual grade level if she is reading to herself. Many children read above grade level, and some read below grade level. Your child’s progress in both reading skills and language development, when reading appropriate books regularly, will increase. When reading aloud to your child, you can both enjoy more advanced books, which helps with their comprehension.

For preschool children, most often, you will read to them. Use your finger to point to words as you read. The left to right process is an essential pre-reading skill for English, Spanish, and many other languages; while some other languages use right to left pattern, such as in Hebrew text. Pointing helps your child understand the left to right, or the right to left pattern, for the languages they learn.

Each book listed below shows the foreign language versions from readily available online sources.

  • Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak (Spanish, German, French, Japanese, Korean)
  • In a Small, Small, Pond by Denise Fleming (picture book – have your child create the story from the pictures, using the second language)
  • Harold and The Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson (Spanish, French, Korean)
  • Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown (Spanish, French, Japanese, Korean, Hebrew, Mandarin)
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (Spanish, German, French, Mandarin)
  • Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Suess (Spanish, French, Italian, Hebrew)
  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle (Spanish, French, Arabic, Korean, Japanese, Portuguese)
  • I’ll love You Forever by Robert Munsch and Sheila McGraw (Spanish, French)
  • My FaceBook by Starbright Books ( Spanish, French, German, Mandarin, Korean, Arabic, Russian, Japanese, Hebrew, Portuguese)

Read Aloud Chapter Books

  • Charlottes Web by E.B.White (Spanish, French, German, Japanese, Korean)
  • Ramona and Beezus by Beverly Cleary (Spanish, French, Japanese, Portuguese)
  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S.Lewis (Spanish, German, Russian, Arabic, Hebrew, Japanese, Korean)
  • The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery (German, French, Mandarin, Russian, Italian, Japanese, Arabic, Hebrew, Portuguese, Korean)

These are a few books to get you started on you bilingual reading lists. Once your child has identified the authors he especially enjoys, you can encourage him to explore more of that writer’s work.

For more information on enriching your child’s bilingual education, let Little Pim be your go-to source.