An article in this week's Sunday Gazette-Times Lifestyles section reported on the growing trend of introducing foreign languages at an early age. [Uhlenhuth, Karen. "Baby Talk is Growing Up," Corvallis Gazette-Times. Sunday, November 25, 2007.] Increased globalization, parent requests, and reports of improved problem-solving and creativity are cited as reasons behind the growth in preschool foreign-language instruction. Current early learning and brain research also suggests that the early years are the optimum time to introduce a second language. This is the time during which the brain is wiring for language skills. (To see a map of how the brain develops, check out Zero to Three's Baby Brain Map).
The Corvallis-Benton County Public Library collects children's materials in a variety of languages, including: Spanish, French, German, Italian, Russian, Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Arabic, Somali and Swahili. Looking to introduce simple words to your baby even though you aren't fluent in another language? The Library also collects a small number of simple bilingual and Spanish board books you might enjoy.
A sample of a few simple stories in other languages:
I Can Fly, What Am I? by Alain Crozon. (English/Arabic language)
Rhyming text and lift-the-flap illustrations depict a variety of things that fly, including a bee, hot air balloon, and kite, and invite the reader to guess their identity.
Bonsoir Lune by Margaret Wise Brown. (French language.)
Goodnight to each of the objects in the great green room: goodnight chairs, goodnight comb, goodnight air. This classic children's bedtime book is available in a number of different languages.
Muu. Beee. Asi Fue! by Sandra Boynton. (Spanish language)
This funny board book features the usual Boynton animal characters and rhyming text.
Oso pardo, oso pardo, que ves ahi? by Bill Martin Jr. (Spanish language)
In a question and answer game, a teacher and her group see a variety of animals, each one a different color. A classic preschool read-aloud!
Did you know? The Youth Services Department has a Spanish bilingual Youth Services Librarian. For more Spanish children's book suggestions, email Ruth.
Stop by the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library every third Saturday of the month at 11:00 a.m. for Fiesta! a bilingual children's storytime/song/craft program for the whole family. For more info, call 541-766-6794.