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Sunday, October 21, 2012

How Books Can Help Bilingual Children Assimilate Into New Cultures

This guest post is contributed by Paul Taylor

How Books Can Help Bilingual Children Assimilate Into New Cultures

Photo by woodleywonderworks

Living in a new culture has its challenges for both children and adults as they must find ways to adapt to a new language, social customs and cultural ideals in order to make friends and get along with others. For many children, the challenges that are associated with assimilating into a new culture can be compounded by their lack of social and emotional experience. For this reason, books can be a wonderful way to open up the doors of understanding a new culture for children by offering the following benefits.

1. Introduction to a new language-One of the largest challenges for assimilation into a new culture is learning how to speak a new language. Fortunately, there are many bilingual books available in a variety of languages. This can enable a child to become more comfortable with their new language while they continue to be able to use their old one.

2. Understanding characters-Many times, a child may find it difficult to explain their feelings in a way that their parents can understand. However, they may be attracted to characters or plots that mirror how they feel. Parents can look out for patterns in the books that their children choose in order to develop an understanding of how they are feeling in their new culture.

3. Open communication-When an adult reads to a child, there should always be open opportunities for communication. This is especially important for reading books about different cultures. When a new idea or concept is broached in a story, adults should take the time to ask open-ended questions that will encourage the child to consider how they feel about new ideas.

4. Encouragement of diversity-Books should always be carefully selected in order to express an important concept. Fortunately, there are many books available today that include an array of characters from diverse backgrounds. In these books, the characters often talk about the things that make their culture unique such as holidays, clothing or traditions.

5. Explain cultural ideals-Every culture has their own way of doing things. For a child who is new to the culture, these ideas can be confusing. However, reading a book about the reasons behind certain cultural traditions can help a child to understand the significance of these rituals to the people who participate in the. After the book is read, then activities can be planned to help support this new understanding.

Helping a child to assimilate to a new culture is important for their continued growth and development. When teaching a child how to appreciate and adapt to a new culture, books are a wonderful way to introduce concepts while helping a child to feel supported. Finally, it is important to encourage open dialogue throughout the story in order to help the child to further understand the new culture so that they can learn to assimilate.

Author Bio:

Paul and his wife Julie both spend quite a bit of time coming up with ideas, blogging, and researching all things related to childcare. They take care of all the necessary information related to “”. He personally thinks his blog will help finding information on all things related to a babysitter. 

  Please accept my infinite gratitude.  MRS.D.

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