There are many fantastic reasons to learn a second language, especially when that second language is Spanish! There are an estimated 477 million people who possess native Spanish competency around the world. Spanish is one of the most spoken second languages, and the third most commonly spoken native languages worldwide.
Spanish is recognized as the official language of 20 different countries, including Mexico, Spain, Colombia, and Argentina. Spanish is an extremely important and influential language, as it is one of only six languages used by the United Nations. It is also an official language in both the World Trade Organization and the European Union. Further, there are over 50 million Spanish speakers in the United States. Curiously, the United States is the second largest Spanish speaking nation in the world, with only Mexico having a greater Spanish speaking population.
So, learning Spanish as a second language is a good idea. A great way for children from English speaking families to become fluent in Spanish is to enroll them in dual language programs or two-way immersion programs. This type of program provides instruction across all subjects in both English and Spanish, so that both native English speakers and English Language Learners (ELLs) are able to learn both languages. The goal of dual language programs is biliteracy and functional bilingual skills by the time students reach middle school.
Research demonstrates that children who speak two languages outperform monolingual children, especially when it comes to language and comprehension. Therefore, it is important for parents to read bilingual books with their children at home. Bilingual books have been proven to foster second language skills. By reading bilingual books at home, parents are giving their children a chance to succeed academically in the classroom, as well as throughout their lifetime.
Companies such as Lectura Books offers bilingual books for an array of age groups. Parents can read to their children in their native language (English), and their children can read to them in Spanish, as that is the second language they are learning in school. By reading books, children and parents alike are learning a second language. As time goes on, monolingual parents will begin to understand and speak the second language with help from their children.