Want your child to learn a second language? There is a secret to teaching children a second language! When I ask most parents, what do you think is the most effective method for learning a second language, I usually get these answers:
- Rosetta Stone, CD/DVD program, online course
- A tutor, Spanish lessons
- Visiting a Spanish-speaking country, living there
- Books that teach the language (like textbooks, and learning workbooks)
These are all common answers and a very viable piece of the Fluency Puzzle. However, somehow it is not common knowledge that picture books can teach you a language. Yes, I know, I mentioned that I receive the answer “textbooks, etc.”, but people are referring to large books which teach you grammar rules, conjugations, rules, and a few examples. These are good and well (especially for adult learners), but not practical for children.
The truth is, children like to read or be read to. It is understandable that quite often, it does not seem that way. Often, you probably stare at your child’s cobweb-ridden bookshelf while they are on the couch playing video games. However, books are so compelling, because they FORCE IMAGINATION and cognitive understanding. Good ole fashioned picture books (in print or digital versions) simply have a picture and some text. This contains two important things:
- The Picture – Children use the picture to infer what is happening. They get an emotional sense from the story and get drawn in by the action that is being portrayed. These pictures often have little details, (possibly unbeknownst to you), which can give your child hundreds of different trains of thought. These new trains of thought are considered to spur imagination; and help to enlarge your child’s mental brainpower and to consider more possibilities, whether it be with a picture in a book, or in problem-solving.
- The Text – The text becomes more and more important as children age. In the beginning, children simply see text and know that their parents will “bring it to life.” By age 3-4, children can begin to relate the shape and physical appearance of a letter, syllable, or word (such as the all-important sight words) with a sound. This is the foundation for reading, and can also be the foundation for reading (and speaking) a secondary language.
Want your child to learn a second language? You see, picture books are the absolute best choice. Picture books are much more than what meets the eye – and that is not only good but very good for children’s brains.