Maximize Your Child's Bilingual Ability

Recommended Resources: “Raising a Bilingual Child”

September 12, 2012

Raising a Bilingual ChildWhen you’re a parent seeking to raise a bilingual child, it’s vital to be well-informed on the subject. The better informed you are, the better you’ll be able to effectively support your child’s bilingual upbringing.

There are a number of books about children and bilingualism, but I think Raising a Bilingual Child is one of the best. It was written by Barbara Zurer Pearson, Ph.D., an expert on bilingualism who has done extensive research on bilingual development.

To me, the book stands out because the author not only provides plenty of helpful guidance, she backs up this advice with solid scientific findings. Other books I’ve read may offer similar suggestions, but Raising a Bilingual Child pursues a deeper discussion of these ideas and issues.

At the same time, it’s not a scholarly tome. It’s very readable, and would no doubt prove useful and thought-provoking to every parent of a bilingual child.

If it were up to me and there were a particular language that meant a lot to me, I would not leave it to chance. I would be sure to make the time and the space for it and give every advantage to the minority language. I would want to know that I did everything I knew how to do in order to overcome the “linguistic inertia” that leads inevitably toward exclusive use of the majority language. I would make it an explicit goal to help my child achieve a comfort level in the minority language—the majority language will flourish just fine, especially if children are schooled in it for at least part of the day from the time they enter kindergarten. —Barbara Zurer Pearson

How about you? Have you read “Raising a Bilingual Child”? Or other books on bilingualism that have benefited you and your children?

1 Isabelle January 2, 2013 at 11:37 pm

Hello,
I am currently reading “Guide a l’usage des parents d’enfants bilingues” from “Barbara Abdelilah-Bauer”. I am not sure if there is an English edition, but it is quite compelling and the author cites a great number of International studies that make it very valuable for a parent that is not sure how to pursue bilingualism. It has for example, raised my awareness to the difference between the “heart tongue” and the “mother tongue”. One might have loving memories of a grandma or nanny whom had a different language than the school or environment language (mother tongue)…

Her website: http://www.bilinguisme-conseil.com/ressources/ I am not sure if her latest book is available in English yet.

Cheers,

Isabelle

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2 Adam January 3, 2013 at 8:03 pm

Isabelle, thank you for the helpful tip. If I had taken French beyond high school, I would be very tempted to read the book—it sounds really interesting. :mrgreen: I’d be eager to read an English version!

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