People often ask me if I raised my children bilingually.  I have to say, “No.  I didn’t have my book!!”  Since we were living in multilingual Miami when they were little, I thought it would happen automatically, without my doing anything.  As it happens, both of my children learned Spanish very well, but they didn’t learn it in the home.  They learned it in school and from visits to countries where Spanish is the major language.  My book makes it clear, that raising a bilingual child is not rocket science, but one has to act intentionally to create a supportive environment to help children value their heritage language enough to really want to learn it.

Having bilingual parents is a good start, but not a guarantee that the child will become bilingual.  Parents who want a bilingual child must translate their desires and ideas into actions!

This is so exciting! My book, “Raising a Bilingual Child,” has been translated into (Mandarin) Chinese and was published by Beijing Language and Culture University Press at the end of 2015.  It is now available!  Parents who want to know more about the science of being bilingual and also learn practical strategies for integrating two languages into their children’s lives can utilize this step-by-step guide.  It is supported by 20 years of research and more than 100 bilingual parent (and child) testimonials. Chinese parents now have access to this helpful guide book.

As readers will find out, the book encourages the use of multiple languages in families. There are many benefits to learning multiple languages, from long-term cognitive benefits to creating connections across cultures. In today’s increasingly connected world, it is important parents receive the support from experts and peers to help them help their children learn. The knowledge of a second or third language will help them compete in a global economy and will be an important advantage for them now and in their future.

Find the Chinese version on Amazon here!

Available now from

Get in for all your friends and relations!

Our friend Jennifer Jones, founder and director of Deaf Family Literacy Academy, ( has shared this post.  It brings dual language ideals to deaf toddlers.

This website tells why sign is so important for deaf toddlers, and how a bi-modal, bi-lingual goal is best for these children.

Check it out:

Here’s a link to the Press Release that describes an event at the Jones Library in Amherst, Mass. There is going to be a screening of a film entitled, “Speaking in Tongues.” This event will happen Tuesday, August 3rd, from 5:30pm to 7:30pm.

Read through the press release for more details! If you have any questions, you can e-mail Lissa Pierce Bonifaz at

Let me know what you think!

The Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School, located in Hadley, Massachusetts “prepares K- 8th grade students for academic and personal success through rigorous study and instruction aligned with the state and federal government standards, augmented with Chinese language and culture. PVCICS’s goals are to graduate students with excellent scholarship, high proficiency in Mandarin Chinese and English, plus sensitivity to multiple cultures.”
You can visit the website here!

According to the website, In grades K-1st, 75% of the daily instruction is in Chinese and 25% in English. In grades 2nd-5th, 50% of the daily instruction will be in Chinese and 50% in English. In grades 6th-8th, 25% of the daily instruction is in Chinese and 75% in English.

Any student residing in Massachusetts can enroll into the school, tuition free! Visit the website to learn more about the school, and there is an information session at 1pm on July 17th.

Here is an article from NYMetro Parents, published in July 2010. The writer of the article consulted with me for information, and some of my quotes were used! I’ve included scans of the article, but I’ve also included text of my quotes.

“Language is learned in lots of tiny bites,” explains Dr. Barbara Zurer Pearson, author of Raising A Bilingual Child,  (Random House). Pearson, who has more than 20 years of research under her belt,  says that large experiences – like travel retreats – although important – are less effective. Classes, playgroups, DVDs, audio CDs and iPhone apps as well as foreign language channels and online videos.

“It’s not important enough for the parent to want their child to be bilingual; they have to figure out how to motivate the child to want it as well,” explains Zurer Pearson.

The Spanish publisher for my 2008 book, “Raising a Bilingual Child,” has just sent me the translated Chapter 1 for the book! Chapter 2 is on its way. This is really exciting news! I will keep everybody updated on this book as things progress.

A woman named Leslie e-mailed me asking me to write a response to a newspaper in Oregon regarding a Spanish Immersion program. Here is my response, in full, and abridged.

Dear Oregonian,
I just posted to your blog ( a 300-word version of a letter I wrote in support of the West Linn/ Wilsonville School Committee’s decision to maintain the Spanish Immersion program.
I enclose and attach a copy of a 150-word version that I hope you will be able to print.  Would it be possible to have it appear before the school committee meets again on Wednesday meeting?
Thank you.
Barbara Zurer Pearson

Supporting Spanish Immersion for Our Children

Last year West Linn Schools had the wisdom and parental support to start a Spanish Immersion program.  Such programs enrich the educational experience and cultural perspective of the mainstream children who participate and send an important message to speakers of minority languages that their language and culture are valuable.  Such programs are highly successful because they take advantage of the special mental equipment young children have for learning languages.  They are both more effective and more cost-effective than high school language programs. When carefully planned, early immersion programs need not cost more than the programs they replace.

Even for the kindergartener, however, language learning takes effort,—and above all, it takes consistency and continuity. As a linguist and life-long student of language learning in children, I urge the school committee not to abandon its commitment to providing the best education possible for their children and to continue the Spanish Immersion. (150)


Barbara Zurer Pearson, Ph.D.

Research Associate, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Author of Raising a Bilingual Child (Random House, 2008)


Published in The Linguist, April-May 2010, Vol. 49, issue 2.  The Institute’s website:

Give it a read and tell me what you think!

Book Cover

Book Description

"Raising a Bilingual Child" offers both an overview of why parents should raise their children to speak more than one language and details steps parents can take to integrate two languages into their child's daily routine. It also includes inspirational first-hand accounts from parents. Bilingualism expert Barbara Zurer Pearson provides parents with information, encouragement, and practical advice for creating a positive bilingual environment for young children.

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