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I have two daughters, aged 6 and 3. They are currently speaking 4 languages. I speak to them in my native language (Italian), my husband in his native language (German). They attend an American International School and we live in a francophone country. So every day they use Italian, German, English and French. The question I have is the following:
Does the fact of being multilingual  (at the oral level)  impairs or slows down the process of learning how to write and read in the language used at school (ENglish)? Did anyone experience a similar situation or could you point to me to information on this topic?

Many thanks

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I think the answer is yes – but don’t worry about it. Our son (10) has been bilingual (English/Russian) since birth and multilingual (attending school in France) since 5. Now, French writing and reading is slightly below average for French peers and at least a year  below for English and Russian peers. However, his speech in all three languages is native. By the time he is 12/13, we are convinced he will be well on the way to catching up with peers in all three languages simply because his comprehension of himself and what he can do will be clearer to him. In the meantime, we continue to read and write in our individual languages, allow him to watch DVD’s in multiple variations of subtitles and language and will encourage him to study Latin and Spanish at College.

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