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Home » Articles » Learning Two Languages »

Reading to Children


Is it OK to read books to my child in my native language?
Making a habit of reading together is important, no matter what language you read in. Reading to your child daily will increase her vocabulary, knowledge of the world, and understanding of story structure. If you are most comfortable with your native language, read to your child in that language. Then, you will be better able to read and talk about the stories as you read together. And by discussing stories with your child, you will help her develop language skills and better understand stories.

If I only read to my child in my native language, will he ever learn to read in English?
Yes, if he receives instruction. But reading aloud to your child in your native language will lay the foundation for learning to read in English. By building reading into your daily routine, your child will explore new concepts and ideas. At the same time, your child will increase his knowledge of print and books. He will learn how to open a book and that we read to the end of a line and return to the left to read another line. He will learn where a printed word begins and ends and learn the difference between a word and a letter. Research has shown that if children already know these important concepts about print in one language, they can apply them to reading in another language.

Should my child learn to read in English or our native language?
Learning to read is a complex process. Therefore, learning to read will be an easier task if your child is taught in the language she knows best. That way, she will not have to concentrate on learning to read and learning a new language at the same time. By learning to read in her stronger language, she will build the skills she needs to read in another language. The skills learned in one language will translate to the other language.

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