I don't know the details of any studies, but I think the general consensus these days is that bringing up children multilingual from the start is a positive thing to do, even if it can slightly delay their initial development.

As our oldest is starting to learn to read at school, I wondered if anyone knows if there are any studies about learning to read in two languages? Specifically: is there a difference in the conclusions for reading compared to talking?

(The two languages in this case are French & English).

Disclaimer: cross posted from here

asked 02 Jun '11, 15:51

Benjol's gravatar image

accept rate: 5%

I don't know of any studies, but for example my daughter is just completing her first year of Primary School and I can share what I have seen and experienced so far with regard to reading.

Our languages are English and Turkish, she learnt how to read in Turkish and is now considered a very strong reader. During a recent conversation with her English teacher, we learnt that our daughter was very articulate and emotionally very comfortable when explaining or talking about something in English, however she seemed to be enjoying reading a little less. The teacher told us that she expected our daughter to make a 'big leap' either over the summer of during the next school year with regard to reading. To our surprise that happened already. She was content reading the books she was being given but not feeling challenged enough therefore not enjoying the English reading. She is now reading extra books that the school is sending home at the weekend and she can sense her own progress which motivates her to read more and more.

So experience has shown me that in our case, (as a bilingual family) one language may be easier at the beginning with the second language following close behind, another thing that I learned recently and that may be of interest to you is the emotional aspect and whether the child is able to comfortably express their feelings in both languages verbally and with clarity, if not then as I have been told, learning difficulties may arise due to frustration of not being able to express themselves in the either one of the languages. (It's really an exciting time when they start reading for themselves and very enjoyable for us parents too in my opinion :))


Of course I forgot to mention that the school syllabus plays an important role. Is your daughter attending an English speaking school in Switzerland or France, or does it have an Internationally accredited syllabus with a certain amount of hours of either language per week.


answered 06 Jun '11, 02:45

Emi's gravatar image

accept rate: 19%

edited 06 Jun '11, 07:44


Hi Emi, haven't been back in a while, so didn't see this 'til now, sorry. Unfortunately, here she's in a state school, so English won't start for years. Not rich enough for a private school... So the only real English input is yours truly. Which means that she's not that articulate in English. Made ok progress this summer in reading both languages. Hope the return to school won't kill her interest...

(11 Aug '11, 07:32) Benjol
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Asked: 02 Jun '11, 15:51

Seen: 3,218 times

Last updated: 11 Aug '11, 07:32