3 Ways to Start Teaching Your Child a Second Language

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You might already be convinced about the many benefits there are to teaching a child a second language – such as cultural awareness, multitasking, problem-solving skills, and effective communication. Understanding the benefits of second language learning is one hurdle; the next is finding the right tools to facilitate that learning. Here are three easy ways you can start teaching your child a second language right away.

1. Look for Books

No matter what your budget is, your library should be your first stop when it comes to language learning. First and foremost, the library has access to all kinds of books, including language learning textbooks. In addition to books, many libraries also have audio CDs or computer programs you may borrow to practice a language at home. Libraries also commonly have public classes and activities, including story time for children in multiple languages. Check in with your local librarian to see what sort of foreign language offerings your library has available. You can also find plenty of books online to order and keep at home – and many targeting young language learners should be quite affordable.

2. Looking Into Community Activities

Many communities consist of diverse groups of people, and so there are likely to be different activities or resources to help these individuals. Many schools even offer immersion programs where young children learn academic subjects in a target language throughout elementary school. To find out what sort of foreign language courses or information might be available, contact your local community center or community website. You might even look for volunteer opportunities for adults and older children in your family to teach or tutor people in your area who are trying to learn English.

3. Watch Television or Movies Together in the Target Language

Some languages might be more readily available in the U.S. for television programs – such as Spanish. In Canada, access to French language programs is also common. However, you can find other ways to expose you and your children to your desired language. Many DVDs now have multiple language tracks to choose from, so watch your favorite movie in a new language for once. You may also be able to find a variety of age-appropriate moves and television programs online.

Don’t forget about other ways to implement a new language into your children’s lives. You can label common items around the house in a new language and practice the words with your children. Show an interest in learning the language yourself, and your children might become even more interested. No matter if you speak two languages in your home or one, your whole family is likely to benefit from exposure to a new language and culture.

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