Skip to main content
Three Children in Library Aisle

Building connections with first language

3 August 2022 | State Library of Queensland

Sharing your first language at home is one of the most important things you can do for your child, especially in the early years.

Finding opportunities to use your first or home language through talking, singing, reading and playing with your child every day, builds emotional and cultural connections. And it is through these connections, you get to tell your stories, introduce and talk about other family members and share your memories and lived experiences. All the while, building that important and enduring bond with your child. 

When you value and share your first language at home, where your child spends most of their time, it builds and strengthens their identity, and sets them up to learn, use and acquire English more easily later, at school and in the community.

New resources on our website

Now, you can share a range of in-language First 5 Forever resources with your child and access early literacy resources in Auslan and Braille. Ask your local library staff to assist you to borrow any of our 12 Stories for Little Queenslanders in Braille.

Visit our website to explore early literacy information and tips that have been translated to 10 languages. You’ll discover resources in Arabic, Italian, Cantonese, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Punjabi, Spanish, Swahili and Vietnamese.

Download and share our new in-language ebooks and follow along with English text to help your child build connections to the words. Support your child’s numeracy skills with One Remarkable Reef. Practise positional and action words through Up and Down on a Rainy Day. And learn about First Nations language, culture and family through My People, as told by Shaylah who is only 5 years old.

Sit back and enjoy our new in-language Story Time videos, presented by local community members. Story Time is based on the book, My People, which celebrates the important role families play, no matter who they are made up of.  Each video includes a visual overlay of the book in English to accompany in-language accessibility captions. 

We recognise that for the deaf or hard of hearing, learning and using sign language alongside your child builds connection in a rich and meaningful way. Enjoy Story Time presented by native Auslan presenters with our videos bringing to life the Stories for Little Queenslanders books. Vidoes are supported by English captions and voiceover.

Ways to share first language at home

Parents, you are your child’s first and most important teacher. You play a key role in their discovery and use of language. Here are some ways you can share first language at home with your child:

  • Talk to your child early and often in your first language
  • Read and share stories in your first language
  • Pretend play using cultural dress ups and musical instruments
  • Make a cultural meal together and talk about the different foods that make the meal, how they taste, what they look like, where they are from
  • Play word games and sing songs that build language skills using descriptive or action words e.g. ‘I Spy’; ‘Head and Shoulders’; ‘Hokey Pokey’. Songs with lots of actions help your child understand the words more easily
  • Use technology to communicate with family and friends in other countries
  • Visit your local library to enjoy events and activities for families. Discover and borrow books in over 50 other languages.

Find out more

To explore these new resources, visit the First 5 Forever website and select Resources in other languages in the top right hand corner of the page. You can also visit your local library for in-language First 5 Forever printed resources. Library staff are there to help you even if they don't speak your language.


Your email address will not be published.

We welcome relevant, respectful comments.

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.
We also welcome direct feedback via Contact Us.
You may also want to ask our librarians.