Deciding to add some new books to your bookshelves at home is never a bad idea. If you have a child who is a bookworm, they’ll tell you books have the magical ability to transport the reader anywhere without ever leaving the house. If you’re thinking about introducing your child to a new language like Spanish, adding some bilingual books to your bookshelf will be helpful for language learning. Before we go into the reasons why, it’s important to define what a bilingual book is. According to Unuhi, bilingual books are “sometimes referred to as ‘Dual Language Books’ or ‘Side-by-Side Books’ and have 2 different languages on the same page, with the second language being a translation of the first, allowing the reader to compare vocabulary, language style, grammar and alphabetical characters with ease.” So, in other words, the books are written in two languages, but the translation is side-by-side to make things easy to understand.

What are the Benefits of Using Bilingual Books?

According to Scholastic, “bilingual children’s books are a great tool to add to your family’s bookshelves.” Scholastic also mentioned that nowadays, there are more books to choose from than ever before, which is great news! That way, it’s highly likely you’ll find a book they’ll enjoy reading. One of the reasons why utilizing books can be beneficial to your child, according to Scholastic, is that when you read the books aloud, your child will learn new words and sounds.

Unuhi supports the use of bilingual books for language learning for toddlers and children as well. Unuhi, if you’re unfamiliar, is a platform that hosts bilingual books and uses storytelling to engage and teach children a second language. According to them, “Bilingual books are a wonderful aid to learning a second language, and are particularly effective for toddlers and young children”.

Parent Child Plus is another company that believes in the importance of bilingual books. They believe that bilingual books can speed up the time taken for your child to learn the language. They listed the following benefits:

  • Improve language skills

  • Enhance reading enjoyment

  • Promotes writing quality

  • Encourages the child to see the value of both languages

  • Encourages literacy

How Do I Use Bilingual Books to Help My Child Learn Spanish?

There are many ways you can use bilingual books to help your child learn Spanish, one way is by reading the book in the language your child already knows. Unuhi suggests reading the story, looking at pictures, and engaging with the characters while doing so. The reason this is helpful is because having an understanding of the story beforehand can aid them in learning the target language. Afterward, they suggest reading the story in the target language. The article said, “the idea is to stimulate curiosity and interest in the second language. When you think you and your child are ready, you can try reading the story in the second language only. Ask them to read it with you if they are keen to try.”

Other helpful tips on how to use bilingual books to help your child learn another language according to Unuhi are:

  • Let your child read the book on their own.

  • If they’re more advanced, ask them to translate the English to their target language.

  • Use picture books and go wordless. Make up stories in the target language using pictures.

Can You Give Me Some Bilingual Book Recommendations?

Absolutely!  As mentioned before, there are many options available so you’re bound to find something you both enjoy. Many of the books will teach your child about different cultures and the history of Spanish speaking countries. In addition to that, they can learn their colors and body parts in English and Spanish at the same time. Here are the top bilingual books for kids:

  1. ¡Te amo, te abrazo, leo contigo! / Love You, Hug You, Read to You! By Tish Rabe- This book is recommended for children 0-3, and it contains simple sentences in Spanish and English to affirm love to your babies.

  2. Diez deditos de las manos y Diez deditos de los pies / Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes bilingual board book (Spanish and English Edition) by Mem Fox- According to Amazon, this book “is a gorgeously simple picture book for very young children, and once you finish the rhythmic, rhyming text, all you’ll want to do is go back to the beginning.”

  3. La Princesa and the Pea by Susan Middleto Elya- This is a bilingual version of the classic “The Princess and the Pea” and it’s recommended for children between the ages of 4-8.

  4. First 100 Words Bilingual (Spanish Edition) by Roger Priddy- This is a great book for toddlers just learning their words. It’s filled with pretty pictures of everyday items.

  5. Zapata: Colors/Colores” by Patty Rodriguez- This book will teach your young kid colors as well as about Emiliano Zapata from the Mexican Revolution.

  6. Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match by Monica Brown- This bilingual text teaches about embracing individuality.

  7. Waiting for the Biblioburro / Esperando el Biblioburro by Monica Brown– This book is based on the true story of a traveling librarian and a young girl.

  8. Counting With/Contando Con Frida by Patty Rodriguez– The iconic Frida Kahlo will teach your child how to count in Spanish and English.

  9. Blue Sky White Stars Bilingual Edition by Sarvinder Naberhaus – This text celebrates the United States in Spanish and English.

  10. My Big Book of Spanish Words by Rebecca Emberley- This another great book for children just learning their words.

Naturally, bilingual books are just part of the strategy for your child to become fluent in a language but by themselves won’t ensure fluency. Consider letting us teach them Spanish by either private lessons or small groups online. Check out a class for just $12 bucks! Our methods are tried and proven so you can be confident in your child learning effectively learning Spanish. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.