Book review: Maximize your child bilingual ability by Adam Beck

Read, read, read. William Faulkner

An essential guidebook to children’s bilingualism. It’s a practical handbook for parents wishing to get a grasp of bilingual upbringing, it answers many questions and provides a step-by-step guide to having a bilingual family.

Adam Beck, the author of the book is an American living in Japan who is raising two bilingual children. He is also the founder of the blog Bilingual Monkey and the forum The Bilingual Zoo.

I think the main message I will take from this book is: read aloud daily (adapt reading to your child’s age, tell stories using picture books, use walls to display messages to your children), have a minority-language routine (important!), follow your children’s natural passions in the minority language (what do they like doing /talking about?), talk to your children in the minority language as often as possible (story-telling), listen to and sing songs (e.g. when cycling—this is what we often do!), be firm with your schedule, but play it through the activities (have fun!) and bilingualism is a long-term project (be patient and consistent).

I like how the book is organised, that it has short chapters, which makes the reading easy to follow and allows reading in short spans of time (important when having kids). Each chapter starts with a quotation which I found really inspirational.

To sum up, I think I would mostly recommend the publication to families who wish to raise their kids bilingually but don’t know how to start, what resources to use, or what strategies to follow. For existing bilingual families, it’s an interesting read which reminds us of the importance of regular input in the minority language and which gives some inspirational tips on resources, activities and the day-to-day routine of the bilingual family.

What books on bilingualism do you recommend? Do let me know in the comments below.

Kinga Macalla

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