Build a Firm Foundation Learning a second language can bring greater understanding and perhaps even improve our mastery of grammar of our first language. Knowing the way another language works encourages us to examine our own language’s mechanics. Brain Booster Research into the effects of bilingualism on children suggests that exposure to more than one language is an excellent way of flexing those brain muscles—and building them up too! In one study reported in Nature, bilingual children showed a significantly larger density of “grey matter” in their brains. Build Confidence Learning a new language is a uniquely rewarding experience—at any age. Since language learning is intuitive and natural for children, the ease and pleasure of the experience may boost their confidence and fuel their desire to learn more. Improve Academic Performance Numerous reports have proven that students who have studied a foreign language perform much better than their monolingual peers on many standardized tests. Ramp up Your Reading Skills A York University (Canada) study suggests that bilingual children’s knowledge of a second language gives them an advantage in learning to read. Applying the insights and experiences of one language to the other as well as their wider experience of language gives them an advantage. Tipping the Scales As the college admissions process becomes more competitive, knowing a second or a third language strengthens an applicant’s resume. In an increasingly global marketplace, knowing multiple languages is a major advantage. You Were Saying…? Children are uniquely attuned to slight differences in tone and sound, making it easy for them to mimic accents. Their sensitive ears help them pick up on and duplicate the tricky sounds older people often stumble over. Starting young can help your children speak smoothly and confidently. Broaden Your Horizons Going abroad and feeling comfortable in the language of your destination enables you to feel as if you’re a part of the culture and daily life, and not just a visitor passing through. Those Were the Days When your relative from afar comes to visit (or you meet someone from overseas), you can talk to them in their mother tongue—building a bridge to that person, heritage and history they represent. It’s a great way to keep the memories, stories, and traditions alive. Keep it in the Family Learning a language together as a family is something you can do at home, at your leisure. Start early!