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The benefits of teaching a child a second language

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One of the most popular pieces of advice people get on how to set themselves apart from their peers is to learn a second language. Being bilingual means advantages in the workplace, including higher pay and opportunities to travel. Although these benefits are not seen until later in life, it doesn't mean that learning a second language as a child is not beneficial. In fact, there are many reasons why your child should begin learning a second language early on.

One of the most popular pieces of advice people get on how to set themselves apart from their peers is to learn a second language. Being bilingual means advantages in the workplace, including higher pay and opportunities to travel. Although these benefits are not seen until later in life, it doesn't mean that learning a second language as a child is not beneficial. In fact, there are many reasons why your child should begin learning a second language early on.

At one time, it was thought that teaching a child a second language would lead to language confusion and the possibility of cognitive deficit with the child. According to more recent studies that were done through the Cornell Language Acquisition Lab (CLAL), a child who is able to learn a second language is actually in a better position for maintaining attention despite distractions when compared with a child that is only familiar with one language.

Along with improving the cognitive abilities of children, allowing them to learn a second language at a young age may also provide additional benefits. It has also been recognized that teaching a child a second language plays a significant role in their preparedness for academic success in a school setting. This is true, even when there are distractions and outside stimuli which tend to hold the attention of children who do not know a second language.

If you are interested in providing these benefits for your child, there are some effective methods that can be used in order to teach your child such a language. Perhaps one of the most important things to do is to immerse the child in the second language by putting them in situations where it is spoken regularly. It is interesting that this will not affect their ability to learn their native language but rather, it will likely increase their proficiency in speaking it.

One method that many parents have found to be of benefit is tying in the secondary language with outside activities, such as day camps or summer camps. In researching various summer camps, we saw a great deal of classes and camps that offer second language courses along with other activities help to increase the vocabulary of the child. By providing an interactive and enjoyable activity for the child in both languages, it helps them to learn the language much more quickly.

Your attitude toward the secondary language is also something that can have an effect on your child's ability to learn it. Be sure to maintain a positive outlook, not only on the language but also on the culture that is associated with the language.

Finally, make sure that the child has the opportunity to be in multilingual settings. If they are able to spend time and play with children who speak the second language, as well as their native language, it is much more likely that they will learn to be proficient in both. The same is also true with reading and storytelling, as it should be done in multiple languages as well.

The world certainly is becoming a smaller place and learning a second language can help to open up opportunities for your child later in life. By teaching them a second language in their tender years, you offer them something that will benefit them now and will stick with them for a lifetime.

Reference List:

Susan S. Lang, "Learning a second language is good childhood mind medicine, studies find", Cornell Chronicle, <a href="http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/2009/05/learning-second-language-goo....

Dragonfly Designs,"Jewelry Making Camps", www.jewelrybydfly.com, <a href="http://www.jewelrybydfly.com/jewelry-making-camps.html">http://www.jewel....

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