French bilingual programs are booming and reading books in the French language is crucial for school children who are learning through French and English in New York City. To become bi-literate you need to read books in both languages. Many of them. Getting access to books in French is thus important, particularly if you are a public school with no budget and many under-served families on board. Recently, the French Embassy and the French Heritage Language Program, in partnership with Biblionef, shipped thousands of books from France and delivered them to several New York City public schools that offer a French bilingual program.
More and more parents are choosing bilingual education for their children following the belief that learning another language early will open their minds. They are right. In reality I believe bilingualism will do that and a lot more. From increasing your child' s ability to learn several languages, to reinforcing his or her mother tongue, stimulating the brain on a daily basis will trigger collateral benefits. Indeed, many good things are happening in the dual-language classroom. Parents should definitely consider applying to one of the existing programs. Or they can just create their own as was the case with many parents before them.
The brain is an interconnected muscle. More and more research show that bilingualism will make children better in mathematics, in music, in critical thinking, and other things. Having the ability to think in two or more languages increase their brain power. They are also likely to become more confident in themselves. Being bilingual or multilingual will also increase their potential to find a job simply because they have the ability to multiply the number of people which they can communicate with through the languages that they speak.
Bilingualism will also make children think with multiple perspectives, which is a valuable thing to have in today's complex world. In a recent research published by a team of scientists from the University of Chicago a survey of bilingual business leaders concluded that thinking in more than one language helped reduce decision-making biases. The reason for this is that speaking several languages provides greater cognitive and emotional distance than a native tongue does.
Here is the study:
If you believe in bilingualism then help us out. If you wish to donate your French children books to the schools that offer a bilingual program, just let me know. Like the Biblionef books I know plenty of young bilingual readers that are eager to conquer the world by using their linguistic powers. Cash donations to purchase books are also welcome. Just click and give.
Photo Credit: Jonas Cuenin. Kathryn Hamilton.
If you want to read more about the French Bilingual Revolution, here is a recent article.
Here is the list of all public and private schools offering a French bilingual program in the US (Excel File).
New York's French public and private schools are featured on NewYorkinFrench.net. Just click on the Schools tab.
Article en français sur la révolution bilingue des francophones de New York par F. Jaumont et J. Ross (format .pdf):
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