In today’s world, fluency in more than one language is becoming more and more essential. From communicating with the people around us to success in the job market, there are dozens of reasons why it’s a strong investment in your child’s future. For parents considering Spanish as a second language for their child, here are ten reasons to follow through.
- Commonality – Spanish is the second most commonly spoken language in the United States, making it one of the most useful second-language choices for American children. As children get older, the likelihood of a communication barrier with Spanish-speaking coworkers and neighbors will grow exponentially if they don’t have some degree of fluency.
- To Improve Fluency in Their First Language – Studies have shown that learning to speak a second language actually improves vocabulary, reading comprehension and written skills in your native tongue as well.
- Creating Travel Opportunities – Spanish is spoken on every continent of the world and is the official language of the United Nations. Should your child choose to study abroad or to travel extensively, their experience will be greatly enhanced by being able to confidently and comfortably speak Spanish.
- University Admissions – Foreign language classes are a very stringent requirement for some colleges and universities; beginning to learn Spanish during childhood will make those high school Spanish classes much easier. Those high marks in high school Spanish are likely to make quite the difference on college applications.
- Increasing Employability – By the time today’s children enter the workforce, the ability to speak Spanish fluently will greatly improve their resume and employability. Recruiters and hiring managers already understand that the need for bilingual English and Spanish speaking employees has grown; within a decade, demand for workers who speak both languages is likely to increase even further.
- Reducing the Chance of Alzheimer’s and Dementia Later in Life – Studies have shown that people who speak more than one language are less likely to suffer from dementia and Alzheimer’s than their single language peers.
- Accessibility – The similar sentence structure, straightforward pronunciation and number of cognates make Spanish an accessible and relatively easy-to-learn second language. By beginning in childhood, your child is likely to reach adulthood with a grasp of Spanish that’s almost as strong as their grasp of English.
- Cultural Enrichment – Being able to enjoy Spanish literature, music and film in their original forms will help your child understand the rich cultural contributions of Spanish-speaking artists and intellectuals, while affording them the chance to broaden their own horizons.
- Learning a Second Language is Easier During Childhood – Children are already in the process of learning their native language, so they’re typically more open and easily coached in a second language than they would be later in life.
- To Learn Other Romance Languages – With a solid grasp of Spanish, kids will have a much easier time learning French, Portuguese or Italian than they would otherwise, as they are all Romance languages with Latin roots.
These reasons are only the beginning of a very strong case for helping children to learn Spanish as early as possible. As parents, we all want to open every possible door and create every opportunity for our children that we can; giving them the gift of a second language is a great beginning.