Naperville Public Library to offer Foreign Language Storytime

Learning multiple languages can benefit young children

(Update: The Language Stars program scheduled for Jan. 16 at 95th Street Library has been rescheduled for 11:15 a.m. Jan. 23.) 

 

As children are better able to absorb language and grammar at an early age, Naperville Public Library is showcasing storytimes in four foreign languages.

Teachers from Language Stars, a Chicago-based provider of early foreign language education, will host six interactive foreign language storytimes at each Naperville Public Library facility throughout January.

“We teach kids foreign languages the same way they would learn their first language,” Oscar Ramirez, center director of Language Stars Naperville, said. "All of our classes and storytimes are led in the native language.”

Participants will learn different languages through hands-on activities, including sing-alongs, a small introduction of greetings and storytime in the specific foreign language, which will include Spanish, French, Mandarin Chinese and Italian.

During the program, a teacher from Language Stars will read a popular book familiar to most children in a foreign language, making it easier to understand and learn the language.

“Children are able to incorporate into all the activities even if it is their first time exposed to the language,” Ramirez said, adding Spanish is the most popular language to teach.

The first storytime will be conducted in Spanish from 11:15 to 11:45 a.m. Jan. 8 at Naper Blvd. Library, 2035 S. Naper Blvd. Also at Naper Blvd. Library will be a program in French from 11:15 to 11:45 a.m. Jan. 9. Another storytime will showcase Spanish from 11:15 to 11:45 a.m. Jan. 15 and then Mandarin Chinese from 11:15 to 11:45 a.m. Jan. 16, both at 95th Street Library, 3015 Cedar Glade Drive. At Nichols Library, 200 W. Jefferson Ave., a storytime will be in Italian from 11:15 to 11:45 a.m. Jan. 20 and then another one in French from 11:15 to 11:45 a.m. Jan. 21.

Becoming bilingual or multilingual at an early age improves brain development, enhances problem-solving skills, improves performance on standardized tests and heightens creativity, according to Language Stars’ website.

“Before age 10, children in the class can mimic a foreign accent flawlessly. They can absorb grammar intuitively,” Ramirez said. “They can build a foundation in a second language alongside their first language.”

Attendees will leave the storytime with foreign language vocabulary coloring sheets, and some will walk out repeating phrases in a foreign language or eager to check out foreign language books, Ramirez said.

The program is recommended for children ages 1 to 6 years old, but all ages can attend. Children need no prior knowledge of the language before attending the program, and parents are encouraged to attend. For more information, go to www.naperville-lib.org/content/eventskids.