1- It is Fun and Develops Curiosity
Think about how when you were a kid and how fun secret codes were! I know I loved secret codes and deciphering messages. We were always trying to be detectives and solve mysteries. Kids love mysteries and learning a new language is sort of like solving a mystery. It makes them curious as to “why do they say it that way? and “that is so different!” It opens a whole new world to the learner. There is history and culture that contribute to the way languages are spoken and put together. And of course, it is so much fun to be able to communicate with others in that new language. Kids love learning new ways to say things. Their curiosity is spiked as soon as you say “what does this mean?” or “how do you say this?
2- Learn grammar
There is nothing like a foreign language for bringing grammar to the forefront of thinking. All of a sudden it is very helpful to understand what a noun and a verb are, not just in theory but for a real purpose. Same goes for all the other parts of speech. When learning about how other languages order their speech, it really helps you understand your own language much better.
3- Expand the mind.
Studies show that those who learn another language have more brain activity. It has also been shown that elderly people who keeps their minds active including by learning another language, have a better brain capacity and keep their alertness much longer than those who don’t. Standardized test scores come out higher for kids who have studied a foreign language. Interestingly, kids who study Latin score the highest. New ideas and ways of saying things also come through.
4- Be Able to Understand and Communicate with others
It is awesome to be able to connect with someone because you speak their language. Even if you don’t do the best job, they are so touched to hear their own words come from your mouth. They will be so glad you tried. And that develops a true connection.
5- Understand Another Culture
A greater understanding of people and cultures happens when you study their language and understand it. It is exciting to find the things that are similar to your own and the things that are different and why. It helps kids start to see which things matter and which things may not matter so much when it comes to dealing with people. History makes more sense too as do many other aspects of life.
Conclusion – Studying a Foreign Language is Very Rewarding
It is a lot of work, but so rewarding when you can understand more than you could before. It feels so good to watch a show in a foreign language where you understood nothing when you started, but now after studying, you understand so much!! It is important to acknowledge the small wins and congratulate yourself. Noticing improvements really helps you keep going, and it is so magical to be able to think and speak in a second tongue.
My Favorite Resources:
duolingo is fantastic for learning, kids can make a lot of headway that way. I love Christine Gatchell’s elementary Greek as a precursor to Latin.
Our choice for Latin is Henle Latin- it is a bit dry but very thorough.
We have lots of great French resources which I will have to write a whole post about.
I created a Spanish course for kids at kidsspeakspanish.com – you can download a free pamphlet on the basics.
I plan to do the same for French, but for now you can buy the books – kidsspeakfrench.com
My husband has created an excellent service for practicing speaking with immediate feedback which is always helpful at sayitfrench.com, sayitspanish.com, sayitkorean.com, sayitchinese.com and sayitenglish.com