Why bilingual literacy is important

Here's a lovely article from last month, by Annabal Bagdi for the Oxford Mail. Words such as 'amazing' and 'eclectic' describe the range of languages that children know. We'd like the article just for that.

And there's more. The piece takes the same road as Mantra Lingua. It's very clear about other languages being 'part of a child's identity' which shouldn't be lost.

But we'd especially like to draw your attention to this detail. The headteacher, Russell Kaye, explains that speaking multiple languages is one thing, but being able to write multilingually as well is to be encouraged. It's true that in languages other than English, literacy can lag behind speaking. English literacy is formally nurtured at school, but in some cases, after the early years when a parent might teach you to read and write, heritage languages mainly get preserved in an individual through speaking with family members. In the article, Mr Kaye describes one case where multilingual literacy is useful: if a child's from a family that's only here for a year or two, and will need to continue with school in another language in the future. What a refreshing, common-sense, pro-education, child-centred approach!

So how can you get something so positive and useful happening?

You're in the right place to make a start. Mantra Lingua is of course famous for its dual-language books, which also talk (thanks to PENpal).

But a low-cost way to have access to an enormous range of dual-language talking books (we're talking about really a lot of languages) is to take out a subscription to the e-book library. Now's a good time to think about this, as you make plans for next academic year.

Remember, you'll be supporting identity, culture, and a child's future needs.