Some people might wonder if learning to read in two languages is difficult for a child. Does one language system interfere with the learning of the other system? Does learning both languages at the same time delay learning in both languages? Well, I have found the opposite to be true. I can't speak for all languages, but I have found that learning to read in both German and English simultaneously has only helped my kids. There are so many reading skills that transfer between and strengthen both languages. To learn to read means that a child needs to make a connection between symbols, sounds, and meaning. That very process is happening in both languages. I have been amazed at how seldom my kids mix the two languages. If they are reading in German, they pronounce things in their German accent and according to how that letter is pronounced in German. Now and then, they'll get a little confused, but very rarely. For instance, the letters W and V are a little tricky. The German W is pronounced like the English V and the German V is pronounced like the English F. This can be a little troublesome and confusing. But, these incongruities haven't been huge stumbling blocks in their reading development. Once they're immersed in reading a certain language, their mind switches into that language's syntax and phonological rules. If they come across a word that is spelled the same in both languages, like Baby or Computer, they will pronounce it correctly for the language that they are currently using.
I love seeing how the reading skills that they are learning at school are helping them read (in German) at home. As they learn how to better blend sounds in English at school, I also see their ability to blend sounds in German improve. And as we work on dividing big German words into syllables, I see them applying some of these same strategies with English words.
I love this quote that I found on the University of Calgary website:According to Rahat Naqvi from the Faculty of Education, “Research also indicates that elementary school aged children can benefit from reading in two languages at the same time without hindering their ability to be effective readers in English. Multilingual literacy interventions in mainstream schools, such as dual language books, build on children’s first and second languages.” - See more at: http://arts.ucalgary.ca/news/research-shows-children-can-learn-multiple-languages-simultaneously#sthash.FmiuGNLE.dpuf