Did you know that the first year of a child’s life is a critical period for establishing fluency in a language?
Don’t freak out, however, if the children in your life weren’t babbling in two languages before they could walk. There are developmental changes in the brain around puberty that may make learning language a bit more difficult, but that doesn’t mean children and adults of all languages can’t become proficient in one more more foreign languages. Bilingualism hasn’t been shown to cause any long-term delay in the development of English-language skills, even for students enrolled in language immersion programs at school.
Remember, too, that bilingualism has benefits beyond the second language. Children who are learning a second language, or acquiring two languages simultaneously, may also exhibit earlier reading, better problem-solving skills, and higher scores on both the verbal and mathematical sections of the SAT than monolingual students. Bilingualism also opens the doors to a broader spectrum of careers.
Why this gift matters
As you can see from the benefits discussed above, children benefit tremendously—in both the short and long term—from learning a second language. By setting a child on the path to bilingualism, or encouraging a child who is already on that path, you are enabling the development of crucial intellectual and social skills. [Read more…] about Unique holiday gift idea #3: Bilingual poetry