7 Ways to Use Media and Tech to Raise Bilingual Kids

From watching Spanish TV shows to downloading bilingual apps, these ideas ease the sometimes challenging task of raising your kids to speak two languages.

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Maria O Alvarez
Common Sense Media
Dir. Latino Content & Outreach | Mom of Two

hispheritage-7tipsspanish-blog-2-01Whether you speak Spanish or just want your kids to learn it, raising bilingual kids is a big commitment. But even though it can be challenging, it’s definitely worth the effort. Many studies confirm the multiple benefits of bilingualism.

Aside from the learning value, Spanish fluency will open doors for kids. Spanish is the third spoken language in the world, and according to Pew Research, it’s the most spoken non-English language — even among non-Hispanics — in the United States. Thanks to the Internet and other factors, the world has become increasingly more interconnected, and knowing more than one language makes you more competitive in a global economy. If you’re interested in having your kids become bilingual, check out our recommended apps list to help kids learn another language. You also can visit our Latino landing page for more information in Spanish.

When learning a second language, it’s important to hear, read, and speak it as often as possible. If you can, visit a Spanish-speaking country to immerse your whole family in the language and culture. Here are some tips to support you and your kids as you navigate the experience of living between two languages and cultures:

  1. Use media and devices whenever you can to support the Spanish learning process. Join your kids when possible. That way the message will be more clear: This is a family goal, and we can do it together!
  2. Reading is a great way to increase vocabulary and learn grammar. Start with bilingual books or ones with Spanish words. Read them to your kids if you can, or find people you trust to read to them in Spanish.
  3. Spanish TV shows teach vocabulary, intonation, and culture. Watching these shows also helps kids develop their listening abilities.
  4. Choose audio in Spanish when you’re watching a movie. If your kids are usually immersed in an English-speaking environment, they might have trouble following along — but keep trying. Listening to the language will really help them develop their ear for Spanish.
  5. Download apps that can support your kids’ growing Spanish vocabulary. Some apps let you select the primary language.
  6. Watch documentaries in Spanish that cover history, culture, and life in Spanish-speaking countries. If you’ve been to the places depicted in the movie or experienced the traditions, share your own stories or memories.
  7. Explore digital storytelling tools to create memories. You can have your kids practice their Spanish by writing the titles and sharing what they’ve created. Plus, you can share them with friends or relatives who live in other states or countries.

2380891About Mario O Alvarez

As Director of Latino Content and Outreach, I create, execute and implement strategies to spread out the word about Common Sense Media in the Spanish-Speaking community. I love sharing our content, finding ways to make…Read more

View all posts by Mario O Alvarez here.

This post was originally posted by Common Sense Media on 9/15/15.

Common Sense MediaAbout Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media is dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education, and independent voice they need to thrive in a world of media and technology. We exist because our kids are growing up in a culture that profoundly impacts their physical, social, and emotional well-being. We provide families with the advice and media reviews they need in order to make the best choices for their children. Through our education programs and policy efforts, Common Sense Media empowers parents, educators, and young people to become knowledgeable and responsible digital citizens. For more information, visit us at www.commonsense.org.


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