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Latinos, teach your children Spanish

With the New Year upon us, and most of you making resolutions to lose weight, eat better, or read more of my articles, you should add one more resolution to your list: teach your children Spanish. Now, there are tons of reasons why you should teach your children Spanish as early as you can, so I’ll try to keep them simple, relevant, and in those attention getting bullet points that we all know and love.

Learning Spanish will make your children smarter – This is not an opinion, it is a fact, as study after study has shown that students who speak a second language have higher cognitive function, score higher than their monolingual peers on standardized tests, and have greater creative and abstract thinking abilities. The list can go on and on, just type in “benefits of children learning a second language” into a search-engine, and you don’t even have to read the rest of my article (but please do, thanks).

Learning Spanish will make your children speak better English – Again, a mind blowing amount of studies have shown that whether they are aware of it or not, bilingual children have a greater understanding of the rules of grammar, and a greater ability to retain and use new vocabulary, then children who only speak Spanish.

Bilingual children focus better – I love children, but my pet peeve with them is that they can’t seem to still and focus. A Cornell University study showed that bilingual students can stay focused when surrounded with distractions, better than monolingual children.

Teaching your child Spanish will make him or her better prepared for the global economy – Let’s face it, the world is changing. Recent centuries have seen two consecutive English speaking superpowers, Britain and the United States. Look at all the markers of economic success and you’ll see that this isn’t the future, as U.S. influence wanes, and the economies of Latin America rise, knowing Spanish will give your child an advantage in the job market of tomorrow. And don’t forget, very few job listings say “Monolingual a plus.”

The Spanish language makes us Latino – You knew this was coming. Let’s be honest, if I were to ask you what makes you Latino, in addition to mentioning food, dancing, and the fact that we invented enjoyable procreation, you’re eventually going to say speaking Spanish. Our language helps define us. Personally, I didn’t grow up speaking Spanish. I had to learn it the hard way – through friends, traveling, and school. Once I became truly bilingual, yes, I did feel my inner Latino grow. Spanish makes us, us.

If that doesn’t convince you, remember, plenty of rich white people send their children to fancy schools to learn Spanish, or they’ll pay for them to attend study abroad programs in Spain, or hire domestic servants who speak Spanish to the children they watch over. If the rich people with no cultural connection to the Hispanic world are teaching their children Spanish, so should you.

About Adriana Villavicencio

Dr. Adriana Villavicencio is the youngest child of Ecuadorian immigrants. She has moved 29 times in her life, taking her on a journey from California to Bangalore, India, and New York City, where she recently earned a Ph.D. in Education Leadership and works as a Research Associate at New York University. An avid traveler, Adriana has collected experiences in four different continents and 16 different countries. But as a former high school English teacher, some of her fondest memories are those of her brilliant and brilliantly funny students in Brooklyn and Oakland. Adriana has contributed to several publications including the Daily News and, and is a managing editor for the Journal of Equity in Education. She earned a B.A. in English and an M.A. in English Education at Columbia University, and currently serves on the board of Columbia’s Latino Alumni Association (LAACU). She enjoys scary movies with red vines, Sauvignon Blanc, and her Maltese dog, Napoleon.

To learn more about Adriana’s education consulting company, please visit

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.

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