Are Bilingual Books helpful?
Bilingual Books are great aids for Bilingual Kids
We often get asked “Are Bilingual Books helpful, when trying to raise bilingual children?” Yes, I know we are biased, but it worked for us and our kids and we are convinced that Bilingual Books are helpful. When my kids were growing up, I had no Bilingual Spanish/German books, hence we would usually try to find the same book in the two languages. This way we could easily expand our kids’ vocabulary in both languages.
Parents trying to raise kids with more than one language know that it is not an easy task. Children that grow up with more than one language, need constant exposure to both languages. For us books in all shapes and forms were part of daily life and I do believe that it is one of the reasons our kids, now teenagers, are trilingual.
Why are Bilingual Books helpful aids for parents?
In our daily interactions with our kids, especially with our toddlers, we tend to use the same vocabulary over and over again. Books on the other hand usually use a wider vocabulary and this way kids are introduced to new words during the cuddly-read-aloud sessions.
How do Bilingual Books work?
Bilingual Books present the two languages side by side, this way children can learn the new vocabulary for both languages.
How should I use/read Bilingual Books?
There is not one perfect way, the same as with monolingual books. It depends on your kids and their interests. I would recommend to allow your child to decide which language he or she wants to read in. Your kid will feel more independent , if he or she is allowed to take part in the decision making process. Therefore, you will notice that she will be more concentrated and enjoy the reading aloud session more.
Now this does not mean that, if your child always prefers to read in only one language, you cannot “help” to convince her to “read” in the other language as well. I say “read”, because when you are reading aloud to toddlers, it is more a discussion about the book than reading the text word for word. How to Read Bilingual Books
Why do we know Bilingual Books are helpful?
If you are anything like me, you had a long day at work or with the kids, you are tired and it is bedtime-read-aloud-cuddle time. My favourite time of the day (I still cuddle up with a book next to my teenagers, but not much reading aloud anymore). You realise you have not used your minority language much during the day and want to take advantage of the book reading time for some language-time. But your child can’t find a a book he enjoys in the minority language. You decide to take out a book written in the majority language and translate it on-the-fly. However, the words don’t flow and your child is bored.
Does this sound familiar?
Bilingual Books are helpful because they allow you to focus on how you want to read the book. You do not get frustrated trying to find the right words, while translating on the fly. So yes, Bilingual books are helpful, especially for bilingual families.
Bilingual Books really worked for us – very helpful!
For us as a trilingual family books where the one resource that really worked. We now have trilingual teenagers that can read and write in all three languages. Does this mean that they can read and write all three languages at the same proficiency level? No, but I can notice a direct link between the language they are reading in the most and their fluency in that specific language.
So, in short – books have a direct effect on your kids’ language development. And for bilingual kids, Bilingual Books are a great help.
But again why are Bilingual Books helpful?
Bilingual Books are a great aid for bilingual families or for raising a child in another language. Kids learn via repetition. Tell me the truth how many times have you had to read that favourite book to your little monster? This is why, every time you re-read the book you child is learning something new. Test it, try to change something while reading and you will see how your child calls you out 🙂
Translating books on the fly…why it did not work for me
I used to translate books on the fly, as I had no bilingual books available. We were living in Germany and I did not have access to Spanish books my kids enjoyed. So I would often translate the German book they loved into Spanish, simply while reading it out loud. But often I would not find the perfect vocabulary and the reading experience for my kids was not as fun. This is why I thought it would be great if you could find books that match your families’ languages and even better if the hero of the story has the same name as and looks like your child. This is how TimTimTom – Bilingual Personalised books came to life.
I have bought Bilingual Books before and the translations where horrible!
Us too!! And that is why we took special focus on our language adaptations. I worked in adverting for 12 years and I learned how important adaptations are, especially for international campaign that are translated into many languages. This is why we found group of language adaptors, that focus on international advertising for our book adaptations.
But we don’t simply stop after our adaptors have done their writing magic, we have our very own language experts (5-10 different language experts for each language) that check each language adaptation separately again. Our language experts are mostly mothers like us that have experience as editors, teachers, or even writers and are gratefully helping us to get the languages just right.
How we make sure our Bilingual Books ARE helpful for bilingual families
Our goal is for each language to sound local and not to feel like a translation. So for example for our soccer story we even “allowed” a few dads to step-in and help us with the specific sports lingo in the different languages. For our ballet story we were joined by ballerinas and ballet instructors from all around the world. A big thank you to all our language experts!!
And why are TimTimTom Bilingual Books helpful?
Because we want to make sure that families can find books in their languages. We currently have 10 languages available with more to come. Your children should feel that it is completely normal to speak more than one language – which by the way it is! More than half of the world’s population speaks more than one language. The kids should feel represented in these books, so that you can easily pass on your culture and your heritage to the next generation.
TimTimTom Bilingual, Personalised Books cannot only be personalised in the two languages of your choice, but you can also customize the name and look of the child. Plus you can write him or her a very personal dedication that will be printed on the first page of the book.
And on that note, as a good Peruvian living in Asia, I will now make a “Lomo saltado” for dinner to share some food culture with my kiddos. A comerrrrr & Happy Bilingual Reading!!!!
Here my recipe, if you are at all curious how to make it:
Lomo Saltado (serves 4)
500gr/0.5lbs Beef tenderloin
2 medium sized red onions, sliced in strips
2 large tomatoes cut in large squares
1 ají cut in small pieces (if you can’t find fresh ají, yellow ají paste also works)
Salt and pepper to taste and chopped parsley for decoration
Cut meat into small pieces or strips and brown in oil. Add remaining ingredients and cook until tender. Serve with French fries and rice.