Latest News

A selection of language-related news. Does not claim to be comprehensive or represent the views of SCILT.

Language Learning - Early Years

Spanish-speaking children learn English faster when parents read to them in their native language

17 October 2019 (Consumer Affairs)

Researchers from the University of Delaware have found that reading to Spanish-speaking children in their native language can help them better understand the English language. Their study shows that these children are more likely to excel in reading and writing in English when exposed to their native tongue at an early age.

“This suggests that well-developed Spanish reading proficiency early on likely plays a greater role in English reading development than a student’s proficiency in speaking English,” said researcher Steven Amendum.

Amendum and his team evaluated students from the time they were in kindergarten until they were in the fourth grade. All participants were read to by their parents in Spanish and were reading on their own to try to master English. 

Ultimately, the study revealed that early exposure to Spanish was crucial to children developing sharper English reading and speaking skills. This came as a surprise to the researchers because of how young the children were at the beginning of the study. 


Early language learning: "Inspiring language learning in the early years – why it matters and what it looks like for children age 3 to 12"

29 May 2018 (ECML)

The educational landscape of Europe continues to change. An increasing number of teachers and educators find themselves in multilingual classrooms where the language of schooling, or a version of it, is but one means of communication used by their pupils. How can all participants in the learning process negotiate and create educational capital from this ongoing situation? This is one of the main questions of the project “Inspiring language learning in the early years – why it matters and what it looks like for children age 3 to 12“.

This project, established by the European Centre for Modern Languages (ECML) of the Council of Europe, aims to enable professionals to utilize the full range of their own linguistic repertoires while facilitating the use and development of those of their pupils.


Alliance Française Glasgow newsletter

25 May 2018 (Alliance Française Glasgow )

The latest newsletter from Alliance Française Glasgow includes information on summer classes and a special children's workshop in late June/early July.


How young is too young to start learning another language?

2 February 2018 (Financial Times)

For the past few months, my three-year-old daughter has spent an hour every week learning a foreign language. She taps along the corridor to a small room in a local school, where she and a handful of three- and four-year-olds spend the next hour dancing to “La Vaca Lola”, a song about a Spanish cow, creating finger puppets to voice what they like and don’t like (me gusta, no me gusta) and shouting out which animals are big (grande) or small (pequeño).

Bilingual story book readings

22 June 2017 (The Language Hub)

From August 2017 until April 2018, the Language Hub in Glasgow will be running bilingual story book readings at Hillhead and Partick Library. Whilst aimed at pre-school aged children, everyone is welcome. These sessions are free to attend and have been funded by the participatory budgeting project ‘Over to you Glasgow North’ delivered by WSREC (West of Scotland Regional Equality Council).

Visit the website for more information about these events.


Magnifico! Italian language pupils are top of the class

31 August 2015 (Herald)

A pioneering project to teach primary pupils some of their lessons in Italian to boost language learning has had remarkable results. Seventeen pupils from the junior school of St Aloysius' College, in Glasgow, recorded A passes in their Intermediate 1 Italian language exams - qualifications which are normally sat by pupils in the third year of secondary.


How ‘gaze shifting’ helps babies learn new languages

29 July 2015 (Free Press Journal)

University of Washington researchers have demonstrated for the first time that an early social behaviour called gaze shifting is linked to infants’ ability to learn new language sounds. According to the study, 10 months old babies, who are engaged in more gaze shifting, show a boost in a brain response that indicates language learning.


Learning another language? Don’t bother

5 September 2014 (FT Magazine)

Aged 57, the American William Alexander set out to learn French. His engaging new memoir, Flirting with French, describes his year-long attempt. You come away from the book with an unfashionable question: for native English-speakers aged over 12, is it still worth investing the time to learn a language?


1+2 Case Study – Houston Primary

10 June 2014 (SCILT)

The most recent of our case studies showcasing how schools across Scotland are responding to the recommendations in 'Language Learning in Scotland: A 1 + 2 Approach' has been published on our website. Houston Primary highlights some of the issues to be taken into consideration for progressive planning to introduce the first additional language from nursery through to P7.


Voyage Kids 'Back to School' special

28 August 2013 (UK-German Connection)

The traditional 'Back to School' special is now online on the Voyage Kids website. Why not start the new school year by teaching your primary pupils all about school life in Germany? If you're feeling creative, you could even get started the German way by making Schultüten, using our handy step-by-step instructions!

The Back to School special includes:

  • Find out: A typical school day in Germany 
  • Basteln: Make a Schultüte! 
  • Memory game: How quickly can your pupils find the matching pairs? 
  • 'School words' quizzes

Lesson planning:

To help you plan and get the most out of our seasonal special features, we've created a calendar overview of all of the specials throughout the year. These include our Christmas and Easter specials, as well as topical specials (e.g. the Birthday special), which vary from year to year.


Challenges and tips for raising bilingual children

21 March 2013 (NBC Latino)

As the conversation about bilingualism spreads throughout the country, more and more parents are looking for resources when it comes to raising their children to be multilingual.

Nancy Rhodes, director of Foreign Language Education at the Center for Applied Linguistics, says that over the last 10 years or more, they’ve seen an increase in parents going to school districts and asking them to start language programs for early education classes.

Rhodes says that the reason for the increase is because many parents now recognize that bilingualism is a tremendous asset for future careers. “The current focus appears to be on the globalized economy,” she says. “Parents are thinking about their children’s future in internet jobs, or international and intercultural careers.”

But one of the biggest challenges for parents is how to begin the process.


Young linguists say 'guten Tag'

8 February 2013 (TESS)

A languages project is introducing nursery children to the joys of German, writes Julia Belgutay
Pupils at Springburn Nursery in Glasgow have made a new friend - Hans Hase, a hand puppet helping them to learn words and phrases in German as part of a pilot project with the Goethe Institute.


French film screenings for children

8 January 2013 (Institut français)

The Institut français d'Ecosse will be screening two animated films for young children in January and February:

  • Le Chat du Rabbin (for children aged 6+) - Tuesday 22 January 18:30-20:00 / Wednesday 23 January 11:00-12:30
  • Mia et le Migou (for children aged 3+) - Saturday 16 February 11:00-12:30

Both films are in French with English subtitles.  Visit the website for more information.


Primary adds success by teaching 1+5

14 December 2012 (TESS)

The prospect of teaching 1+2 languages from P1 is a daunting one for many in the primary sector.

But today, the Scottish Parliament's European and External Relations Committee will launch an inquiry into the teaching of languages in primary - at a school where 1+5 is the norm.

At Dalmarnock Primary, in the east end of Glasgow, pupils have access to French, Spanish, Italian, Russian and Greek, in addition to their home language of English.


Gap widens for bilingual five years olds for the first time in five years

10 December 2012 (NALDIC)

(relates to England) The publication of the 2012 results of the Early Years Foundation Stage assessments shows that the gap between children learning EAL in England and those with English as a first language has widened for the first time in 5 years.


University of Strathclyde Education Scotland British Council Scotland The Scottish Government
SCILT - Scotlands National centre for Languages