Growing Up

Multilingual Reads for Tots

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I am by no stretch of the imagination multilingual.  But, I do love languages!  Over the years I have studied Latin, Spanish, Hebrew, and Greek (and a tiny smattering of Amharic).  I am not fluent in any of these languages, but I have seen the benefits of basic exposure to other tongues.  Generally, when studying other languages, we discover other cultures and customs, as well.  So, I love reading books to our little ones that introduce other languages.  I came up with a list of reads for toddlers and preschoolers for just this purpose and some tips for introducing these books to little ears!

Note: This post includes affiliate links.  When you click on the images of each book and make a purchase, your children will be grateful and so will I!  I will receive a small remuneration for referring you.  No pressure, the book list is free and libraries are amazing!

Here are my tips for reading multilingual books to tots, based on my experience:

  1. Don’t worry about pronunciation – it is the effort that counts!
  2. Introduce the concept of other languages by taking about other people in other languages called “Spanish” and “French”, etc.  You could reinforce the concepts by showing the toddler on a simple map where they speak whichever language you are talking about.
  3. Go slow.  These words are new and placing emphasis and giving time for your young one to process the new sounds is always good.
  4. Change it up.  You might want to sometimes read  through the books in English and sometimes in the other language.  At other times you may want to read in both languages on each page.  This helps the toddler to differentiate the languages and get used to cognates.
  5. Do activities to make the books come alive.  Try to slip in the other language every now and then when you are doing the activities.

And here are our favorite multilingual books for toddlers:

Baa, Baa, Black Sheep/Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star (in English and in Sign language) – We taught both our girls some basic baby sign language, so I am so happy to have these books that reinforce sign-speech.  Taking these books slowly and taking time to help little ones to learn to sign along with them is lots of fun!

Where is the Green Sheep?/ Donde Esta La Oveja Verde? (in Spanish and English) – One of our absolute favorites!  I love to read this book in Spanish and in English!  The repetition helps to reinforce basic concepts and the pictures help to explain the more difficult to understand words.  Don’t worry about pronunciation, just have fun with the words in this book!

 


How Hippo Says Hello/How Gator Says Goodbye (English and 7 other languages) – We just got these books recently and our toddler LOVES them.  She asks to read them over and over.  They include greetings in 8 languages and introduce basic geographical concepts.  These books are perfect for toddlers who are traveling or who know someone who does travel a lot.

I Like it When/ Me Gusta Cuando (in English and Spanish) – I just love the simple sentences and repetition this book offers.  There is a conversational aspect to it that will help your little ones to develop communication in both languages.

 


Bonsoir Lune (French) – This book is a classic the world over and has been translated into many languages.  The simple prose helps to introduce very basic words to your toddler and is not overwhelming.  This could be read alongside the English version or stand alone.  As with the English version, the pictures will help to make the connections for your tot.

 

Colors/Farben (English/German) – I always discounted the effectiveness of these types of books until I had a toddler interested in reading.  She LOVES to look through these little books, saying what is on each page and pointing to the objects and concepts.  She has increased her vocabulary and recognition greatly through these types of books.  Having another language thrown into the mix, just increases the learning experience!

High Five Magazine – each issue includes an article/story with Spanish and English words to introduce common basic Spanish phrases to kids.  The articles include a pronunciation guide which is very helpful to non-Spanish speakers.

Do you have some favorite multilingual books or tips for reading them with toddlers?  I would love your recommendations and tips – please leave a comment!

Happy Multilingual Reading!

Multilingual Reads for Tots

Note: This post includes affiliate links.  When you click on the images of each book and make a purchase, your children will be grateful and so will I!  I will receive a small remuneration for referring you.  No pressure, the book list is free and libraries are amazing!

 


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2 Comments

  • Reply Rebecca "Franticmommy" February 28, 2014 at 4:01 AM

    Love this idea! I am going to share it with my Multicultural Children’s Book Group on Facebook. 🙂

    • Reply ussleah February 28, 2014 at 7:21 AM

      Thanks, Rebecca! We truly love these books!

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