Review: A Parents and Teachers Guide to Bilingualism

A Parents’ and Teachers’ Guide to Bilingualism

by Colin Baker


Book review: Colin Baker's “A Parents’ and Teachers’ Guide to Bilingualism”

“My child mixes their two languages. Is this normal?”
“Neither of us speaks a second language. How can we help our child become bilingual?”
“How do I know my child’s language development in each language is normal and acceptable?”
“What language strategies are used in immersion classrooms?”

These are just four of the 144 questions which Colin Baker answers in the 4th edition of his book “A Parents’ and Teachers’ Guide to Bilingualism”. According to the foreword, new research findings have been incorporated into the answers in this edition, and new material has been added on topics such as ‘Trilingual and multilingual development in children’, ‘Fluency in different language contexts’, ‘Stuttering’, ‘International Schools’ and many more.

Colin Baker’s book is a very useful reference book for parents in families with more than one language, and it should be on the “Required Reading” list of all teachers who have bilingual children in their classrooms. Like any reference book it is not one you would read from start to finish, but rather one that you look up answers in as and when questions appear. Although written by an academic, the book is easy to read and the many cross-references help to find all the information on a subject. If the reader wants to learn more about a topic, many of the answers finish with a list of further books which will provide more in-depth information on the specific question. The extensive glossary at the end of the book comes in handy if the reader needs to look up the exact definition of a certain term.

The last question of the book “How do I find out more information about bilingualism?” lists further useful resources, both books and websites, and although the blog of Yours Truly has not made the cut, I can still warmly recommend Colin Baker’s book.

The publisher did kindly provide me with a review copy of this book, however my review would not have been any different if they hadn’t.