Morning Noon and Night The Stages of Our Lives With Languages

What does a baby listening to a bilingual music CD, a school age child learning two words in two languages for the same object and an elderly person sitting in a retirement community have in common? They all will experience a wide array of benefits derived from being bilingual. It is mind-boggling to keep up with the most recent research in the field of bilingualism. Experts speak about the many areas of the brain sparked by introducing two languages early in life. They refer to the neural pathways created and connected during second language learning in the first five years of life. They provide study after study that proves overall advanced cognitive development takes place within groups of bilingual students when compared to their monolingual peers. Now the latest evidence, as recent as early January 2007, points to lifelong use of two languages assisting with the delay of the onset of dementia symptoms by four years when compared to monolingual daily existence! As the daughter of an eighty year old mother who recently moved into a retirement community, I find this latest study out of the Rotman Research Institute at the Baycrest Research Center for Aging and the Brain fascinating! We have know for years, as parents and as educators, that our children are like sponges.

They soak up new information with ease and retain much of what they learn after much repetition. The likes of PBS, NickJr., Disney and the decision makers for TV programming for children realize the importance of and interest in helping our youth of today get a jump start on becoming bilingual.

Just ask any young girl and boy in your local preschool who Dora & Diego are! Dr. Ellen Bialystok, Ph.D., and her colleagues have conducted previous studies showing that bilingualism enhances attention and cognitive control in both children and older adults. One of the studies conducted by Dr. Bialystok on language acquisition in children showed that bilingual children read sooner than their monolingual peers and score twice as high on language tests as well as demonstrate advanced problem solving capabilities.

Reading her findings is like getting free coaching on how to raise a child to succeed in our global society! Following the stages of our lives with language learning is becoming increasingly easy to do. Learn one language, speak it daily, and you will find yourself missing the boat. Learn two languages or more, speak them often, and you will proudly exhibit early reading skills as a four year old, score higher on standardized tests as a school age student, and wave off the early onset of dementia. The findings are in, the experts agree; being bilingual makes the journey through life a pleasant one.

Beth Butler is the creator/owner of the BOCA BETH Language Learning Series. Featured in Parenting Magazine and heard live on Mom Talk Radio, this fun and easy-to-use program is gaining international acclaim. Visit their web site to learn more about second language learning with young children. Call toll free to 1.877.825.2622 or Ms. Butler's cell phone for an interview to 1.813.244.1432.

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