(ARA) - If your child is still in diapers, and just now beginning to
communicate, now is the time to introduce him or her to a foreign
language. That may sound ridiculous, but there are numerous studies
to back up the recommendation.
Kids are like sponges, so it should come as no surprise that even
before they're talking in sentences, with a little repetition,
they're able to learn and remember that manaza (Spanish), pomme
(French), pomum (Latin), and apple (English), all mean the same
"Young children are language learners," says Nancy Rhodes,
director of foreign language education at the Center for Applied
Linguistics in Washington, D.C. "From birth to age 12, one of
their main activities is learning language, so what better time to
introduce a second or even third one."
Studies have shown that children who learn a language before the
onset of adolescence are much more likely to have native-like
pronunciation. A number of experts attribute this proficiency to
physiological changes that occur in the maturing brain as a child
"Of all the foreign languages out there, perhaps the most
beneficial one to teach a young child is Latin. It provides a solid
foundation for the acquisition of other languages," says Marie
Carducci Bolchazy, who has a doctoral degree in education from the
State University of New York. Bolchazy has written a series of books
that introduce young children to the language.
Her book, "Quo colore est?" which means "What Color
is It?" introduces children to all the colors of the rainbow.
"Quis me amat?" which means "Who Loves Me?"
focuses on the family. The book teaches kids the Latin words for
mother, father, sister, brother and members of their extended
family, and how to say they love them.
"When I sat down to write this series, I had a clear goal in
mind," says Bolchazy. "With these books, a child can start
learning Latin at age four, and Latin is an excellent foreign
language to select. Just ask any lawyer, doctor, scientist, nurse,
There are currently four titles in the "I Am Reading
Latin" book series:
"What Color is It?"
"Who Loves Me?"
"What Will I Eat?"
"How Many Animals?" Aside from mastering the ability to
speak and understand another language, there are a number of other
advantages to introducing language skills early. "Research
we've gathered shows, cognitively, kids exposed to multiple
languages score higher on problem solving and creativity questions
on standardized tests. They also have better overall school
performance," says Rhodes.
And that's not all. Knowing a second language ultimately provides a
competitive advantage in the workforce by opening up additional job
opportunities, not to mention the benefit of giving the child a
lifelong ability to communicate with people from other countries and
cultures. Latin, in particular, should be recommended -- after all,
it is the basic language and culture from central Europe through the
So as you search for stocking stuffers for the youngsters in your
life this holiday season, think about getting them a gift that will
teach them a thing or two. Selections from the "I Am Reading
Latin" book series are available for purchase from Amazon.com.
To order direct from the publisher, log on to www.bolchazy.com.