Raising Multilingual Children – A Review

Full Title:

Raising Multilingual Children : A Parents’ and Teachers’ Guides: 23

We met at the so-called ‘trilingualism’ conferences, where we sat at a terrace overlooking a beautiful church in Bolzano.

Julia Festman, Gregory J. Poarch and Jean-Marc Dewaele – Raising Multilingual Children

Author Tidbit

Julia Festman works at the Pedagogical University Tyrol, Austria. She’s a mother of two kids who speak English, German and Hebrew fluently. Gregory J. Poarch works at the University of Munster, Germany. He’s the father of one who speaks English Dutch and German. Jean-Marc Dewaele Works at Birkbeck, University of London, UK. Father of one, who speaks English, Dutch, French, Spanish and Japanese. Needless to say, these academics don’t need much more of an introduction than that, they’re experts that have applied the principles of this book into their own lives.

Wouldn’t it be a good idea, we wondered out loud, to share our knowledge on the topic and offer the good advice we dispensed, so we could refer (future) parents to the book.

Julia Festman, Gregory J. Poarch and Jean-Marc Dewaele – Raising Multilingual Children

Who’s it written for?

Parents, future parents and anyone else interested in the multilinguistic possibilities of their children.

The title of this book may sound a little gimmicky, but is a good way to get started on the topic of early multilingualism.

Julia Festman, Gregory J. Poarch and Jean-Marc Dewaele – Raising Multilingual Children

What’s it about?

 Raising Multilingual Children aims to provide educated advice and inspiration for multilingual families across the world. This book offers the latest research on multilingualism and the authors’ own experiences are used to provide a friendly, accessible guide to raising and nurturing happy multilingual children.

Three key Takeaways

  1. Raising a child in a multilingual setting from birth will not harm their development. : Raising Multilingual Children offers countless examples and research backs this up 10 fold.
  2. Picking up languages at home boosts cultural, social and future economic capital. : Raising Multilingual Children Clearly defines these terms as well as countless others within this book, offering us the language to discuss these academically.
  3. Multilinguals are better communicators and more confident: Contrary to popular belief, multilinguals suffer less from communicative anxiety, not more.

One Pro?

Despite its highly academic writers, Raising Multilingual Children is a surprisingly easy read! I braced myself for the readability to be lacking, and was pleasantly surprised when it was easy to follow along and retain the information. 100% Readability

We agreed that the book would have to be rigorous, but not academic in tone. We also agreed that we would present examples from our daily lives to highlight things that worked, and strategies that backfired with our children.

Julia Festman, Gregory J. Poarch and Jean-Marc Dewaele – Raising Multilingual Children

One Con?

The book is rather short, and this is a topic that I’d personally love to read as much as possible about. Raising Multilingual Children is direct-and to the point, almost to a fault for the word-lovers of the world.

It is increasingly recognised among researchers that, far from harming a child’s development, being exposed to multiple languages from birth or early childhood can result in linguistic, creative and social advantages. 

Julia Festman, Gregory J. Poarch and Jean-Marc Dewaele – Raising Multilingual Children

Cop it or Drop it?

Definitely Cop it! This book is important! Very affordable, and would make a tremendous gift for new and future parents and teachers.

Personal Note

This book was a game changer. Despite speaking several languages, my husband only speaks English. Raising my child bilingual was very important for me however, I found the challenge of being the only French parent in the household very intimidating. I needed it to work. I needed a plan and some advice! I had a few ideas but understanding the science behind those ideas was important, and validating for me. Lastly, theres something to be said about being armored with the most recent studies when you encounter naysayers!

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