'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Thursday 7 November 2013

Guest Post: Bosley, the Language Bear

KBR welcomes Tim Johnson, the creative mind behind an award-winning, bilingual series of illustrated books featuring the adventures of Bosley Bear.

Bilingualism is becoming more and more valuable in today's world as it becomes more and more expected of our young workforce. There are so many young adults who speak many languages and put that skill to excellent use when creating discussions at an international level to reach new clients, work with manufacturers, create outreach programs and immerse small businesses and non-profit organisations into cultures that can benefit from what they have to offer. 

High school classes and higher education for language learning are, of course, a critical part of making these people successful, but to create native speakers in a language, I believe it is essential to start children at a very young age. Studies have been done to confirm that even though adult learners can learn more quickly out of the gate, a more native accent can be acquired by language learners who are introduced at a younger age and these young learners are witnessed to advance to higher proficiency in grammar.

The next question to ask, for many people is, 'What is the best way to teach a young child a second language?' There are many answers to this, but I believe the overarching theme is to make it fun and exciting. Give them the opportunity to learn and explore new things and they will enjoy the process.  Children love books; even my six-month-old twin boys are fascinated by the colours and shapes in illustrated books and will sit quietly and listen as I read an entire book to them (okay, not always … but most times!). The point is, this is an activity that they enjoy and in teaching young children it is important to piggy-back learning experiences on top of enjoyable activities.  

'The Adventures of Bosley, the Language Bear' is a new series of dual-language children's books specifically designed to be fun and enjoyable by children of all ages, but at the same time teach essential words and phrases in a second language. The books can be read in either one of two languages, provided side-by-side on each page, allowing each sentence to be read and translated individually depending on how you want to read the book and how much you want to immerse your child in the second language. Alternatively, there are various words throughout the books that are highlighted in each language in order to call attention to those words and teach children these specific words or concepts as you read. 

The story is closely matched with the illustrations so there is always the opportunity to 'point and learn' or encourage your child to relate certain images to new, second-language sounds. Many of the illustrations are labelled with individual words to provide more opportunities to create connections between images and words in a second, or even a first language depending on the age of the child. 

Currently the series comprises three books that follow the adorable Bosley Bear on journeys through the woods (Bosley Sees the World), meeting new friends (Bosley Goes to the Beach), and learning essential basic words (Bosley's First Words). More books are being published regularly and are available with dual language translations in a variety of languages, including French, German, Italian, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Russian and Arabic.

For more articles about teaching young children a second language, or information on future releases, please visit The Language Bear website.