This book is an excellent and easy to read step-by-step guide for anyone interested in raising children with a second (or multiple) language. It is an invaluable tool for parents and teachers alike.
The guide is exceptionally rich in personal narratives and practical advices based on research results and Steiner’s personal experience as a mother and pediatrician who raises her own children multilingual. The author demystifies bilingualism and encourages parents to participate in second language education at any child age.
If parents do not speak a second language, she suggests for example to incorporate the language experience of the babysitter or others. She inspires to introduce world languages to young and older children as well as to their parents (e.g. to the husband who is not fluent in his wife’s first language). One very important point that the author makes is that language is a tool serving the communication.
Having been raised monolingual by my parents in a non-English speaking country, I was introduced to world languages during middle and high school, but at that time I never really used the languages actively, mostly in fear to say something wrong and make mistakes (but still it helped having this basis). After having come to the U.S. at an “older age”, I needed to communicate in English which I did not speak or understand fluently. At the same time, I had to raise my children in-between languages.
Steiner encourages me that it is perfectly normal when my children (or I) sometimes for example mix a foreign, primary language word into their (or my) dialogue, not because we are “confused”, but because that is an easier way of communication and part of a learning process.
Thank you, Dr. Steiner, for all your great realistic recommendations.