International trilingual pre-school in Warsaw

10 books to read about multilingual children

12 May 2015

Living Languages: Multilingualism across the Lifespan


“Multilingualism across the Lifespan”

By Tracey Tokuhama-Espinosa

Globalization is on everyone’s tongue, and the discussion is not only limited to economic exchange, but expands to the intermingling of cultural values. To be truly successful in the international arena, whether as an immigrant, student, businessperson, or tourist, openness toward other cultures is vital and the most obvious door to those cultures is through language. Learning a second language is no longer an option for many, it is both a survival tool and an opportunity. This book is an aid to parents, educators, researchers, and individuals who want facts about foreign language learning in order to apply concrete tools to maximize their potential in this area, independent of their age.

This book examines the various factors in successful multilingualism across the lifespan, discussing groups such as those lucky enough to enjoy bilingualism from birth to those who become foreign language learners in adulthood. Special attention is paid to a critique of the academic critical years concept and the question, how long does it take a non-native speaker to become fluent? While many are concerned with bilingualism, millions around the world live with three or more languages. For those considering adding a third language, this book looks at the benefits of bilingualism that transfer to trilingualism. Finally, the book establishes methods for teaching foreign languages and hints for home support that maximize each person’s potential for languages.

Thinking and Speaking in Two Languages (Bilingual Education and Bilingualism)



Thinking and Speaking in Two Languages (Bilingual Education and Bilingualism)

From Multilingual Matters

Thinking and Speaking in Two Languages (Bilingual Education and Bilingualism)
From Multilingual Matters
Until recently, the history of debates about language and thought has been a history of thinking of language in the singular. The purpose of this volume is to reverse this trend and to begin unlocking the mysteries surrounding thinking and speaking in bi- and multilingual speakers.

Learning to Read and Write in the Multilingual Family



Learning to Read and Write in the Multilingual Family (Parents’ and Teachers’ Guides)

By Xiao-lei Wang

Xiao-lei Wang received her doctoral degree from the University of Chicago in 1992. She is a full professor in the School of Education at Pace University in New York. Her research covers a wide range of topics such as cultural parenting styles, effects of nonverbal communication in teaching and learning, multilingual acquisition and development, and moral development. Her recent book Growing up with Three Languages: Birth to Eleven documented the simultaneous trilingual development of her own two children. Dr. Wang is a regular speaker on child development and parenting in local, national and international parents? associations and academic conferences.

Raising Multilingual Children: Foreign Language Acquisition and Children



Raising Multilingual Children: Foreign Language Acquisition and Children

By Tracey Tokuhama-Espinosa

Raising Multilingual Children: Foreign Language Acquisition and Childrenelucidates how children learn foreign languages and when they can do so with the best results. The most recent studies in linguistics, neurology, education, and psychology are evaluated and the findings are presented in a recipe format. Parents and teachers are encouraged to bake their own and evaluate the multilingual children in their lives with the use of tools which include a family language profile and family language goals worksheet. Beginning with the Ingredients of Timing, (or the Windows of Opportunity,) and Aptitude, the book goes on to include the Baking Instructions of Motivation, Strategy, and Consistency. This is followed by Kitchen Design, or the role of the language learning environment which includes the child’s Opportunity to use the languages being learned, the Linguistic Relationship between the child’s languages, and the possible influence of Siblings.

Plumbing and Electricity round out the ten key factors in raising multilingual children by discussing the possible role of Gender and Hand-Use, and our understanding of the multilingual brain at present. Chef and Chef’s Assistantsaddresses the vital roles of teachers and schools in a child’s foreign language development. A Mess in the Kitchen discusses problem situations related to foreign language learning, and offers a variety of resources to address such issues.

Growing up with Three Languages: Birth to Eleven


Growing up with Three Languages: Birth to Eleven (Parents’ and Teachers’ Guides)

By Xiao-lei Wang

This book is for parents who live in a foreign country and intend to raise their children in their own heritage language(s). It offers helpful suggestions for this challenging situation and provides useful strategies in the daily interactions between parents and children.

Multilinguals are...?


Multilinguals are…?

By Madalena Cruz-Ferreira

Multilinguals are people who use several languages in their everyday life. Attitudes towards them are very diverse: some consider them gifted or unusually intelligent, while others fear that they are not fully competent in any one language. This can lead to conflicting advice about multilingualism at home, in school, and elsewhere, particularly nowadays when awareness about multilinguals is growing wherever several languages are used, from London and Amsterdam to New York and California. This is the first book which discusses, in lay terms, the reasons behind the beliefs and myths traditionally associated with multilinguals. It is written for the general public and is relevant for families, teachers, and everyone else who ever wondered about multilingualism. The style is light, often witty, but is founded on a thorough knowledge of all the solid academic research on this subject. (added by author)

Make Your Child Multilingual !: The 10 Step Success Plan to Raising Bilingual


Make Your Child Multilingual !: The 10 Step Success Plan to Raising Bilingual / Multilingual Children

By Silke Rehman

Being raised with an extra language is a gift for life. It means access to another culture, heightened self-esteem, increased career options and more flexible and divergent thinking. Who wouldn’t want that for their children ? Every family is different. What parents need is not just knowledge about the topic but a step by step approach to apply the knowledge to their specific family situation and put it into practise. “Make Your Child Multilingual!” empowers you to successfully raise your child with more than one language by leading you through the practical steps of planning your child’s language journey. In 10 easy steps you understand the theory, your starting position, myths, most common mistakes and the10 success factors; ready to apply it all to your specific family situation and choose the best strategies and language ideas for your children. At the end you will hold your own Personal Language Success Plan tailored to the needs of your family. In summary, “Make Your Child Multilingual!”: * provides exactly the information you need to succeed – no information overload, no unnecessary academics * guides you through developing a personalised success plan tailored to your family needs – no one-size-fits-all solutions * is based on the proven successful workshop “Raising Bilingual Children” and real-life success stories – not just theory and case studies * offers dozens of tried and tested tips and tricks from hundreds of workshop participants and multilingual network support group parents * is written by a multilingual, professional, certified coach (MBA, ACC, CPCC, NLP Coach) The younger your child when you start, the easier but the book also offers a solution and plenty of advice for succeeding with older children.

Bilingual By Choice: Raising Kids in Two (or More!) Languages


Bilingual By Choice: Raising Kids in Two (or More!) Languages

By Virginie Raguenaud

More and more people – hundreds of millions around the world – are living in bilingual homes. In the U.S. alone, more than 54 million people over the age of five speak a language other than English at home. Yet once children enter school, the pull towards one language becomes stronger and maintaining the bilingual advantage requires a serious family commitment – a bilingual choice.

The good news is it’s worth it. Research shows that bilingual children are known to have more social, cultural and economic opportunities as they grow to adulthood and that learning a second language from birth can even result in protection against Alzheimer’s later in life. Bilingual by Choice provides families with specific activities, games and insights that will show them how to not only teach their kids more than one language but also to help their kids retain and develop those language skills.

For parents, educators, immigrants and expatriates, Bilingual by Choice deals directly with the obstacles to sustaining a second language, including unsupportive relatives, issues at school, frequent relocations and discrimination, countering each one with the author’s firsthand experience at both sides of the growing-up-bilingual journey, as a child and as a parent. Commit to the choice, and help your children become bilingual – for life.

Bilingual: Life and Reality


Bilingual: Life and Reality

By François Grosjean

Whether in family life, social interactions, or business negotiations, half the people in the world speak more than one language every day. Yet many myths persist about bilingualism and bilinguals. In a lively and entertaining book, an international authority on bilingualism explores the many facets of life with two or more languages.

Parents' and Teachers' Guide to Bilingualism (Parents' and Teachers' Guides)


Parents’ and Teachers’ Guide to Bilingualism (Parents’ and Teachers’ Guides)

By Colin Baker

Written in a very reader-friendly style, the book is a practical introduction for parents and teachers to bilingualism. Straightforward and realistic answers are given to a comprehensive set of frequently asked questions about bilingualism and bilingual education. Areas covered include family, language, culture, identity, reading, writing, schooling and issues.

7 Steps to Raising a Bilingual Child


7 Steps to Raising a Bilingual Child

By Naomi Steiner MD

The best time to learn a second language is as a child. During childhood, the brain is more receptive to language learning than at any other time in life. Aware that a second language can enrich their child’s understanding of other cultures and bring future job opportunities in a world drawn ever closer by globalization, many parents today are motivated to raise their children bilingual. This book helps parents in both monolingual and multilingual families determine and achieve their bilingual goals for their child, whether those goals are understanding others, the ability to speak a second language, reading and/or writing in two languages, or some combination of all of these. The authors explain how the brain learns more than one language, explode common myths, address frequently asked questions, and reveal an array of resources available to families. Packed with insightful anecdotes and powerful strategies, this is a one-of-a-kind guidebook for those seeking to provide their children with a uniquely valuable experience.

Raising a Bilingual Child (Living Language Series)


Raising a Bilingual Child (Living Language Series)

By Barbara Zurer Pearson, Living Language

If you would like your children to experience the benefits of becoming bilingual, but you aren’t sure how to teach them a second language, thenRaising a Bilingual Child is the perfect step-by-step guide for you.

Raising a Bilingual Child provides parents with information, encouragement, and practical advice for creating a positive bilingual environment. It offers both an overview of why parents should raise their children to speak more than one language and detailed steps parents can take to integrate two languages into their child’s daily routine.

Raising a Bilingual Child 
also includes inspirational first-hand accounts from parents. It dispels the myth that bilingualism may hinder a child’s academic performance and explains that learning languages at a young age can actually enhance a child’s overall intellectual development.

One Child, Two Languages: A Guide for Early Childhood Educators of Children


One Child, Two Languages: A Guide for Early Childhood Educators of Children Learning English as a Second Language, Second Edition

by Patton Tabors Ed.D. (Author), Catherine Snow Ph.D. (Foreword), Mariela Paez “Ed.D. M.Ed.” (Foreword)

Today’s early childhood educators are serving more children learning English as a second language than ever—in Head Start alone, nearly 30% of the children speak a language other than English at home.* To support second language learners and put them on the path to academic success, every teacher needs this popular, practical, and highly readable guidebook.

Reflecting 10 years of dramatic change in early education—especially in critical areas like assessment and cultural diversity—the second edition of this bestseller gives teachers up-to-date research, usable information, and essential tools to meet the needs of second language learners in today’s learning environments. Leading researcher Patton Tabors equips teachers with the foundation of knowledge they need to

  • apply cutting-edge research to their everyday teaching practices
  • address NAEYC’s recommendations for responding to linguistic and cultural diversity
  • use appropriate assessment techniques for children’s first and second language, including an easy-to-use observation checklist (on the CD-ROM) to monitor children’s English language learning over time
  • discover ways to improve literacy instruction for all children, including literacy practices checklists (on the CD-ROM) that pinpoint areas needing curriculum support
  • understand and attend to the particular needs of internationally adopted children
  • conduct thought-provoking professional discussions with the book-club-ready study guide and materials (on the CD-ROM)


Teachers will also get updates on all the key topics covered in the first edition, including working with parents, understanding the process of second-language acquisition, and using the curriculum and classroom organization to facilitate English language and literacy learning. Ideal for professional development, this book is the best tool a teacher can have to support the language and literacy development and school success of second language learners while honoring their home languages and cultures.


How Language Comes to Children: From Birth to Two Years



How Language Comes to Children: From Birth to Two Years

by Bénédicte de de Boysson-Bardies (Author), M. B. DeBevoise (Translator)

That children learn to speak so skillfully at a young age has long fascinated adults. Most children virtually master their native tongue even before learning to tie their shoelaces. The ability to acquire language has historically been regarded as a “gift” — a view given scientific foundation only in the present century by Noam Chomsky’s theory of “universal grammar,” which posits an innate knowledge of the principles that structure all languages.

In this delightful, accessible book, psycholinguist Bénédicte de Boysson-Bardies presents a broad picture of language development, from fetal development to the toddler years, and examines a wide range of puzzling questions: How do newborns recognize elements of speech? How do they distinguish them from nonspeech sounds? How do they organize and analyze them? How do they ultimately come to understand and reproduce these sounds? Finally, how does the ability to communicate through language emerge in children? Boysson-Bardies also addresses questions of particular interest to parents, such as whether one should speak to children in a special way to facilitate language learning and whether there is cause to worry when a twenty-month-old child does not yet speak. Although the author provides a clear summary of the current state of language acquisition theory, the special appeal of the book lies in her research and “dialogue” with her many young subjects.

Bilingualism in Development: Language, Literacy, and Cognition



Bilingualism in Development: Language, Literacy, and Cognition

by Ellen Bialystok

Bilingualism in Development describes research on the intellectual development of bilingual children, showing how it is different from that of monolingual children. The focus is on preschool children, examining how they learn language, how they acquire literacy skills, and how they develop problem-solving ability in different domains. It is unique in that it assembles a wide range of research on children’s development and interprets it within an analysis of how bilingualism affects that development. It is the only book to interpret this large research from a single theoretical perspective, leading to coherent conclusions.

The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language



The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language

by Steven Pinker

n this classic, the world’s expert on language and mind lucidly explains everything you always wanted to know about language: how it works, how children learn it, how it changes, how the brain computes it, and how it evolved. With deft use of examples of humor and wordplay, Steven Pinker weaves our vast knowledge of language into a compelling story: language is a human instinct, wired into our brains by evolution. The Language Instinct received the William James Book Prize from the American Psychological Association and the Public Interest Award from the Linguistics Society of America. This edition includes an update on advances in the science of language since The Language Instinct was first published.

“Pinker writes with acid verve.” ―Atlantic Monthly

“An extremely valuable book, very informative, and very well written.” ―Noam Chomsky