Using more than one language at home

Helping support children who use more than one language


Helping children to develop and broaden any language they have is key in helping them access learning, in or out of school.

Here are some ideas of how to extend and encourage language use- this can be in either/ any language.

Where possible moving across the language helps, so if a child (or yourself) can say something in one language they use, can they say it in the other language?

The more a child has to say about a subject, the greater incentive it is to find ways to communicate in another language.


-          Look through your child’s year group information, this will be on the school website.


-          Search online for programmes and information about these subjects. This can be in either language, they will still be accessing the concepts and it will help them make links between languages. You don’t have to do this together all the time but chatting about key ideas will mean you can help them clear up anything they have misunderstood.


-          If you are talking about/ reading/ watching in one language, can you think about the main ideas in the other language? This gets children into really good habits of thinking across languages and understanding that language is about communicating ideas.


-          Narrate everything and encourage children to do the same. Count steps, read off numbers, say what you are going to do, ask what they are doing.



-          While you are talking, build in opportunities to think about what you might do tomorrow/ in the holidays and remember what you have already done. This will help children develop a sense of tense.


-          Television and you tube can be a brilliant way to learn about a topic. It supports understanding through visuals and if you put the subtitles on then there is an instant reinforcement of the language which is heard and how it is written. Try pausing and recapping what has been said either paraphrasing in the same language or putting it into the other language.


-          Make a game of thinking of synonyms and antonym for words- this helps children broaden their vocabulary.


-          Apps like Epic! Have stories which read to the children as well as quizzes and activities. You can log on to these during normal school hours.


Useful sites