There are two very basic processes that complement learning, namely reading and language. Humanity has long been exploring “language” to determine whether it is emergent or innate. There is an ongoing debate about whether “reading” is just a visual process (where we interpret visual symbols).
Well, the explorations are inconclusive. However, we are sure that they not only help to gain new knowledge, but also to acquire skills and neural pathways that will help us to learn new things better.
Reading stimulates a child’s mind to wander into many ways of thinking – activating multiple senses and deriving multiple meanings. Introducing this reading habit to children at an early age lays the foundation for a powerful learning journey and promotes their cognitive development.
However, I believe that reading in more than one language – especially one that includes the mother tongue – can greatly expand a child’s learning horizon.
While English is most often the first language in schools, parents need to get involved to provide their children with a holistic learning experience at home – by letting them speak and read in different languages, including their mother tongue.
Introducing children to multiple languages early on bridges the gap between home culture, school, and society. It broadens the general perspective of the education system, increases tolerance and promotes respect for cultural diversity. It also teaches kids to look at things from multiple perspectives!
In fact, our country’s new National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 also suggests that parents and schools must supplement early education (preferably up to grade VIII) in a regional language or their mother tongue. Several studies have also shown that when new languages are read and learned at a young age, they are acquired faster, remembered better, and spoken more cleanly.
Regular reading in the mother tongue promotes personal and behavioral development, the knowledge of many languages and enables a broader range of emotions to be expressed.
Multilingual reading involves more than just learning the ability to speak another language:
In my opinion, this applies to any learning – enrich your sources of information and experiences – and you will see better results.
– Aswin Vijayaraghavan is Teacher, AVP Media and Creative Content at BYJU’S. Views expressed are personal.