Recommended reading?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Recommended reading?
Wed, 04-02-2003 - 9:53am
Hello all-

My husband and I are very happily expecting a little girl in July and I would like to raise her to be bilingual. Her father is from India and a native Hindi speaker and I am American and speak English.

Are there any particular books you would recommend as a practical introduction to raising a bilingual child?

Thanks and I look forward to being part of this community!


iVillage Member
Registered: 04-02-2003
Thu, 04-03-2003 - 1:52am
Hi! Before my baby was born, I checked my local library and bookstores and found nothing about bilingualism. But through interlibrary loan, I could get lots of different books. It`s a lot cheaper than buying them! But if you want to buy them, you should go to Multilingual Matters web site.

Famous authors are George Saunders, Lenore Arnberg,Edith Harding and Philip Riley. Eveline de Jong, Susanne Dopke.

I also like books that show language teaching games and techniques, but aren't necessarily for bilingual kids. These books are a lot more fun! Check out Monica Devine and Dorothy P. Dougherty.

Good luck!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-30-2003
Fri, 04-04-2003 - 8:32am
Congratulations on the baby! I'm in the same situation (we're expecting our first any day).

I searched for reference guides and I don't think a "how to" book exists - or should exist for that matter, as I've come to realize it's a very family-specific sort of thing. I can give you reviews of the two books I've read, though. I got both through (I live in Switzerland) and both are paperbacks.

1. "The Bilingual Family: A Handbook for Parents" by Edith Harding and Philip Riley, first published in 1986 (although I have the 2002 edition).

This was my favorite of the two books. It's broken down into three main sections, first is an overview of the history of language study and theories surrounding bilingualism and language acqusition, the second is a series of case studies of bi and tri lingual families and how things "worked" for them, and the third section (my favorite part) is an alphabethical listing of issues like accents, picking names, dealing with visitors and such.

2. "Growing Up With Two Languages: A Practical Guide" by Una Cunningham-Andersson and Staffan Andersson, first published in 1999 (again, I have the most recent edition).

I didn't like this book as much because I felt that some of the "problems" this couple encountered and attributed to language issues were totally normal for all families. Anyway, this book also covers the basics of language development and the main strategies for introducing multiple languages (one person one language and one language one location). So the core info is there. They also cover social/cultural issues like dealing with family members who may resent the extra language, teenagers who feel different, etc. In the back of the book are Appendices on organizing a workshop on raising bi-lingual children, ideas for supporting a child's development in two languages (play groups, Saturday school, etc.), documenting a child's linguistic development and an Internet resource list.

Hope this helps!