Raising Bilingual German Children Effectively

Categories: General Travel Info

German children playing
German children playing

[ source: Flickr]

There are many ways to raise children in a bilingual household, but avoiding language confusion, keeping children engaged in the second language, and keeping them on track linguistically with their mono-lingual peers are always topics of discussion. A true bilingual child should be exposed to their second language immediately from birth, just as everyone else is to their first language. Beyond exposure, there are other experiences we can give them to to actively teach them a second language, or even two languages simultaneously.

*Start a play group* with second language children. If a group of children come together, all learning German as a second language, in an environment where they can practice with each other they will easily retain this knowledge, with the understanding that it helps them communicate with their friends. If all of the adults overseeing the group are also speaking German to each other and to the children, this will strongly reinforce their resolution to learn and will give them opportunities to pick up more words.

*Songs* are very powerful learning tools and create a vehicle to encourage pronunciation and rote memorization. They are easily committed to memory and also help expose our children to a second culture even if they are not directly immersed in it.

*Leverage their interests* in other things to create opportunities for learning. Attempting to teach children something they're not immediately interested in will not succeed as well as teaching them in the context of something they enjoy. If they like basketball, teach them the terminology of the sport, or simply use it when you are engaged in a game with them.

*Read dual-language books* as children love immersing themselves in fun stories. Seeing the words on a page gives them the opportunity to utilize visual forms of learning as well as audible. Picture books offer added benefits in that they can correlate new words and concepts to vivid images and characters in the story.



About this Article

Tim Johnson

This travel guide has been written by Tim Johnson.

Tim Johnson is the author of a new series of dual language children's books: "The Adventures of Bosley Bear".

Currently three titles are available:

His fourth book "Bosley Builds a Treehouse" is currently being published.

These books have received great reviews as tools for teaching German children how to read and understand new words and phrases. English and German translations of the simple story are printed next to each other, line-by-line, which easily allows studying each sentence individually. Various pages include a two-page spread of labelled illustrations in both languages which helps children build those visual connections to the words. All pages include various highlighted words that correspond between German and English to create an immediate connection between the two words.

Tim Johnson discovered the power of bilingual books while visiting Japan as a teenager. In 2011 he started writing the Adventures of Bosley Bear series with the hope of reading these books to his own future children and exposing them to new words and sounds. Now Bosley Bear is recognized around the world and Tim is committed to continuing the series and educating children about foreign language and culture for years to come. Tim works as a mechanical engineer, and author, and lives on the seacoast of Maine with his wonderful wife and two incredible twin boys.

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