Many parents, children, educators, and administrators would like to have foreign languages available at the elementary level, but budgetary realities prevent many school districts from being able to offer language instruction prior to middle school.

Learning multiple languages challenges the brain and improves cognitive and social-emotional development, learning and the chances for long-term success. The US Department of Education put together an informative document on the benefits of being bilingual and biliterate. In it they explain that bilingual people and children:

  • Have an easier time: learning other languages, thinking about language, developing strong thinking skills, and growing in other areas of cognitive development.
  • Benefit academically: they are able to switch between languages, helping them develop a more flexible approach to problem solving. It was also noted that, “The ability to read and think in two (or more) different languages promotes higher levels of abstract thought, which is important in learning.”
  • Diversify society by using their second language to build friendships.
  • Have more job opportunities than monolingual adults.

With a strong foundation in their native language, children can apply what they know of learning to read to the second (or third, and so on) language, enhancing their literacy abilities and allowing them to “increase the rate at which they read comfortably…” in the new language. GrapeSEED 2017

Article Contributed By:
Lango of Prince George’s County

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