Although a new language can potentially be learned at any age, experts say children learn more quickly and skillfully. In fact, the earlier you start the better, since studies have shown babies learn two languages as quickly as one. The founder of the Language Bear bilingual bookstore for children sent me a paperback dual-language book in English and Spanish to review.
Written by Tim Johnson, Bosley Goes to the Beach is a dual-language book in English and Spanish. This book uses several methods to teach a new language to kids, including: word repetition, numbers, simple phrases, highlighted words, contextual vocabulary, and corresponding imagery.
Bosley Goes to the Beach uses colorful imagery, English and Spanish words to tell the story of Bosley, a young bear who packs his toys in his backpack and heads to the beach with his Mama. His first time at the beach, Bosley explores the sand and water, builds a sand castle, and makes some new friends.
Baby J is very active, and I can only get him to sit a couple of minutes at a time, if I’m reading a book to him. But that’s fine. He’s barely a year old. It’ll get better with time, and I’m determined to raise a reader! He loves the colors of Bosley Goes to the Beach, and he does enjoy turning the pages. I’ve started repeating words from the book -in English and Spanish- whether Baby J is sitting still or not. I know repetition is important. As a teacher, I also realize how important it is for children to draw connections. This book talks about the beach, and we live near one. I haven’t done this yet, but I will. I plan to take Bosley Goes to the Beach with us when we go to the beach next week. That way I can point out objects from the book and the objects in real life.
I like that there are several ways to use this book as a teaching tool. Read the English text, and point out the highlighted words in Spanish. Read the Spanish text, and point out the highlighted words in English. Read just the highlighted words. Match the words to the objects in the photos, and so on.
Some of the pages have less text than the second photo above, so there’s more white space on the page. I think that’s a good thing. It leaves space to write in notes or pronunciations (I’m such a teacher!).
It would be nice if there were a corresponding online audio pronunciation guide on the Language Bear website for parents who are (unfortunately) monolingual like me. I didn’t want to read the highlighted Spanish words with the wrong pronunciation, so I had to do some Google searches to hear them pronounced properly. I have taken a Spanish language course before, but it was years ago. I’m definitely rusty!
I really do want Baby J to learn a second language, and with our upcoming move to Spain, it makes sense that he learn Spanish. Before Tim contacted me about reviewing his book, it hadn’t even occurred to me that bilingual books were a great way for Baby J to learn a second language, as he develops his English vocabulary as well. It makes sense! The Language Bear bookstore has other Bosley Bear books available in Spanish, as well as bilingual books about Curious George, Blue’s Clues, Dr. Seuss, Disney, and tons more.
For a limited time, you can score a FREE dual language children’s book if you sign up for the Language Bear newsletter! Visit Language Bear and look for the sign up box on the right side of the page. I don’t know when this freebie ends, so I wouldn’t wait, if I were you!
Note: I was not compensated for this post. I received a free dual language children’s book to facilitate this review. The opinions expressed above are my own and may differ from yours.