When raising your child bilingual you require as much minority language (ml) resources as possible to expose your child to the ml. The first kind of resources that springs to mind to most bilingual parents are books. However, have you contemplated getting a subscription to a minority language magazine?
Now you are maybe going to ask me what difference there is between a book and a magazine when it comes to reading, well here are 10 reasons to go for a magazine:
- Diversity of content in a single resource makes it more entertaining – the distinctive format can be more appealing than a book.
- Content you might not otherwise have selected – given you do not get to choose the content of every issue throughout the year, you are sure to come across things you would not otherwise have thought of reading about to your child.
- Broadening your child’s minority language vocabulary – thanks to the diversity of texts: stories, comics, articles, games, crafts activities, recipes,…
- Diversity of content opens up your child to new topics – such as science or wildlife articles.
- Exposure to the minority language culture – ever so important if you are also looking at rearing your child bicultural.
- Your child gets to read the same as his/her ml peers – important to enable him/her to relate to his peers when s/he gets to meet them.
- The magic of receiving their own mail with their name on the envelope – it might seem silly but kids love that! My daughters look forward to receiving their magazine… which means they associate reading their ml magazine to something pleasurable. And when a child likes something they are likely to listen and learn!
- The celebratory feel – the fact it comes through once a month, and the surprise of discovering the next issue in the mail box gives it a celebratory feel which makes the reading of the magazine special and more exciting than a standard book.
- It creates a link with the ml country – receiving mail from the ml country makes it seem less distant to your child.
- Magazines can be read over and over again – we often associate magazines to single use, yet they can be kept and read over and over again. This is certainly the case with my girls, and particularly my youngest, who has become a huge fan of her magazine’s hero, learning some of the texts by heart, “reading” the magazine to herself! By keeping them, we also enrich and build our ml home library.
The main drawback to such subscriptions is unfortunately their cost, especially when subscribed from overseas.
If this tip can be of any help, my parents found a cheaper way to get my magazine subscription when as a kid we lived abroad: they got a national subscription to my magazine and entrusted a relative in our minority language country to forward it through the post. From what they told me, this worked out cheaper for them. So before ruling the subscription out as to pricey, you might want to look into this option.
If you do not know where to start, and are lucky enough to spend your summer vacations in your ml country, why not purchase a couple of ml children’s magazine? And if you are not travelling there, why not ask the ml grandparents to send a couple through the post? That will allow you to see your child’s reaction to the magazine(s) and determine whether it is worth the investment.
And if in the end the expense cannot be overlooked, why not ask the ml grandparents to occasionally send a children’s magazine through the post? 😉
Tips for those of you sharing one of our languages (English, Spanish or French):
We personally went with a magazine from the Bayard Press group for each of my daughters. Bayard is a French publisher also present in Spain and the UK:
When I researched a magazine at the time, I also came across some more titles in English on the NewsStand website and a bilingual mum also recommended Highlights Bilingüe (English and Spanish all in one).
Any tips on this topic? Please share them using the comment section.