There are many different ways to read a bilingual book and you will find the right method for you and your child. There is no right or wrong and bilingual books are there to bring the joy of storytelling to a language learning environment in a fun and interactive way.
One of the most popular methods is to read the story aloud in the child’s main language first, so that they can get to know it. Treat it like any other story book and look at the pictures, talk about the story and interact with the characters. Understanding the story in the stronger language can help the learning process of the weaker language.
Go back and read the story again, this time in the second or weaker language and then again in the first language. Don’t worry if your pronunciation isn’t quite correct in the weaker language, just have fun trying it out. The idea is to stimulate curiosity and interest in the second language. When you think you and your child are ready, you can try reading the story in the second language only. Ask them to read it with you if they are keen to try.
Above all encourage your child to have a go. Unlike adults, young children are usually not that self-conscious and this is excellent for building up confidence in a foreign language. Remember, having fun is the most important part of learning a language. Bilingual books provide a good base for this on many levels. Comparing the words, the different sounds and showing the new letters in a language’s alphabet are just a few ways to make languages fun and exciting.
If you have a unique way of reading your bilingual books, we would love to hear from you. Simply go to the help centre and send us a message.