Monday, 10 March 2008

Bilingual children do better!

You may already know that bilingual schoolchildren perform significantly better on standardized tests, are better at problem solving, are better at mathematics and, of course, language. But did you know that bilingual children also tend to read earlier?

Dr. Ellen Bialystok, a York University linguist, concluded from her studies that children who are exposed to a second language early in life learn to read at a younger age than their monolingual peers. In her study, preschool children were tested on their understanding of letters as symbols. The children who spoke English only could recite the letters but could not read without the help of pictures. On the other hand, the bilingual preschoolers understood written language without the use of pictures. The bilingual children scored twice as high on language tests as the monolingual children. Dr. Bialystok concluded that the bilingual children were simply better prepared to tie symbols to words and words to meaning!


Emigré said...

I can tell you my nephew is starting to talk very very late. Now he is 5 years old and is starting to talk. In my opinion this is because he is quadrilingual (Italian, Russian, English and French). Is this normal? I think so...
Anyway he is not the only one. Now people travel a lot and often find love abroad. In my family there are this four languages and each day you can find yourself looking for words in totally different idiomas. I like it!!
In 2008, French are the only ones who keep speaking just one poor language. Maybe they are less open-minded. Or their brain can't learn more than one? What do you think?


Cherrye said...

Interesting. I spoke only French (and I am not any good at it) to my nephew for the first 2 years of his life. He read very early, and in fact kinda taught himself to read. We were amazed when he started reading words and phrases when he was 4!

Tiffani said...

I wonder if these conclusions hold true for deaf children who hear with cochlear implants and who learn sign language as well.

Caroline, your blog is so interesting to me, especially since I've never been out of the country. I think you've got a great niche.

See you "in class!"