Children’s Language Learning
“Window of Opportunity” Newsletter
Welcome! In the Early Advantage “Window of Opportunity” newsletter, we share the latest news about children and language learning. We include facts on language learning, research from experts, fun kids’ activities and personal stories from both our own experiences and those of other MUZZY families.
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Early Advantage Newsletter Archive
March 2008 - You Can Read to Your Child in Any Language
For very good reasons, reading is usually first on a parent's list of educational goals and concerns for their children. Parents are well aware of how crucial reading is to further learning and that fostering a love for reading will open up a world of enjoyment and education. So it stands to reason that incorporating reading as a vital part of learning a second language can also bring considerable benefits down the road for your child. The same benefits which children get from learning to read in their first language are just as available—and just as important—in a second language.
February 2008 - What If I Want My Child to Speak a Second Language, But I Speak Only One?
Some parents worry, though, that their children's eagerness to imitate will make teaching their children a second language more difficult. Even parents with quite good conversational skills in a second language express concern that a shaky accent or a vocabulary deficiency will prevent their child from blooming as a strong and confident speaker. Thankfully, that is simply not the case. Even if your second language vocabulary consists of only a hesitant "bonjour" or a tentative "danke," every parent can and should take an active role in helping their child grow into a new language.
January 2008 - Top Ten Benefits of Early Language Learning
Learning a new language at any age offers enormous opportunities and enjoyment. While language learning can be rewarding at any stage of life, children have the most to gain from this brilliant experience. To put it simply, starting a language early on offers the broadest possible array of benefits and opportunities. There are many reasons why language learning will yield the best results if started early, and while we do not imagine we've exhausted the full list, here are a few of the most notable benefits.
December 2007 - How Does Being Bilingual Help Kids Learn to Read?
Scientists and language experts have linked learning a second language to a host of benefits for children and adults. This is especially the case for young children and their blossoming cognitive abilities. These children are given an overall "cognitive edge" when they learn a new language, according to Dr Laura-Ann Petitto of Dartmouth College in the United States. A large number of other studies have also linked language learning to higher exam scores. But can knowing another language make learning to read easier for your child? A team at Canada's York University has completed a study which suggests that bilingualism may have a positive impact in a number of significant ways on this crucial process for children.
November 2007 - The World of Multi-sensory Learning:
New Ideas Enliven an "Old" Method
Trips to a museum may not seem like the cutting-edge of educational policy, but in fact they function very much like the educational approach known as multi-sensory learning. Multi-sensory learning makes use of the way our senses—sight, hearing and touch foremost—build one upon another during the learning process. Using more than one sense generates a fuller and more memorable way to experience an idea or concept. By offering children more than one avenue for experiencing something new, multi-sensory learning recreates the way children prefer to learn—naturally, with all their senses engaged. Multi-sensory learning is also highly effective in creating the type of immersive experience and environment which has proven so crucial to language learning.
October 2007 - Harvard Study: Kids Learn Chinese and English the Same Way
Recent research suggests that toddlers may learn Chinese, or any other second language, by employing the same methods—and the same cognitive or linguistic tools—that babies use when they first learn to speak. However, toddlers speed up the process considerably; they're much faster than babies at picking up a language, and more natural in their efforts than adults. Harvard University developmental psychologist Jesse Snedeker recently completed a study of a group of nursery-aged children who had been adopted from China. The study's purpose was to discover the means by which children naturally acquire a second language in a foreign environment.
September 2007 - Three Common Misconceptions About Early Language Learning
Despite the growing trend of teaching children Spanish or Chinese at an early age, some parents still struggle with the idea of introducing a second language before their child has mastered his first. Are there any adverse consequences to teaching a second language to children too soon? Will it slow down their ability to learn English? All of the scientific evidence points to children having everything to gain and absolutely nothing to lose by learning a second language. Let's talk about three of the most common misconceptions about teaching second languages to children.
August 2007 - Giving Your Child a Bigger World
At the very center of interaction and communication, language is the bridge that connects us or the gap that may divide us. Today, many mums and dads are realising the tremendous advantages that come from learning a foreign language. They understand that the languages their children speak will inform and enrich much of what follows in life: identity, friendships, professional pursuits and world travel.
July 2007 - What Language is Your Family Learning this Summer?
Whether your children are school age or younger, the transition to the slower pace and carefree feeling of summer is always a welcome change from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the year. But, even the summer months offer some great learning opportunities for children of all ages. Why not take up the latest language learning trend, Mandarin Chinese?
June 2007 - Is There a “Window of Opportunity” for Learning?
You may recall watching your toddler picking up words at what seemed like an incredible pace – learning animal sounds, requesting favourite foods and of course uttering his first “mummy” and “daddy.” If you have had the pleasure of witnessing these moments, or are even seeing them unfold right now, it will come as no surprise to you that children have an extraordinary ability to learn their first or new language. Most experts conclude that there are special language learning advantages in childhood. Others point to the higher level of proficiency and native accents achieved by those who learn a second language in the early years. Still others would say that the advantages that come from learning a second language early are lifelong gifts promoting communication, perspective and understanding. All in all, most experts agree that earlier is better for language learning and second languages.
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