Language Network - Collaboration for Children´s Language Development

The language network in Uppsala county works towards strengthening the language development of young children, together with the adults who are close to the child. It is a collaborative effort between child health care centres, the community library, the open preschool and the speech pathologists of the county. The cultural development office of the Uppsala Region coordinates this effort.

The various organisations contribute their professional expertise and their various perspectives on children’s language development.

Read with your child!

Reading together with your child develops a child’s language.  It will be easier, for example, for your child to learn to read and write himself/herself. In the future, your child will have a much larger vocabulary than if you do not read with your child.  Reading together is a cosy way to spend time with your child. Create a moment for reading and discover the world of books! You can play, imagine, and talk about the things you read. On this website, you can find inspiration and tips.

A book for your child

Pick up a book for your child! In Uppsala County, all newborn children are given a book as a gift. When your child is three months old and you visit your child health care centre (BVC) you will be given a gift certificate. Take this with you to your local library to pick up a book. You can choose between the books “Knacka på!” by Anna-Clara Tidholm and “Leka Tittut” by Annika and Maria Nilsson Thore.

Feel free to speak with personnel at the library – they are there for you! They can explain what is happening at the library.  Many libraries have activities for children, such as singing and story times. They can also help you if you have questions about library cards, books or reading.

Read and Sing in Finnish!

For those of you who have a child with Finnish ancestry, for example through parents or grandparents, you can pick up a bilingual gift book at your library as well.  Ask the staff and they will help you.

The book is called ”Pikku, pikku lauluja/Små, små visor” by Päivi Hellström. It contains approximately fifty well-known children’s songs, including Björnen Sover and Trollmor’s Vaggsång. The songs are written with texts in both Finnish and Swedish.  The book is accompanied by a CD so that you can listen and sing with the songs. The book can be a simple and fun way to get to know the Finnish language, despite any foreknowledge.

Borrow a speech pathology backpack

Children who have language difficulties and visit a speech pathologist can borrow a speech pathology backpack. In the backpack are books and play materials with instructions. The backpacks have various themes, depending upon what the child needs to practice; for instance words, sentences, sounds, cooperation, and sorting.

In order to borrow a speech pathology backpack, you will get a prescription from your speech pathologist. Take this with you to the library in order to pick up your backpack. If the backpack should happen to be on loan, you can place yourself in the queue so that you can borrow the backpack as soon as it is available.

One child – several languages 

Children who grow up with several languages begin speaking at the same age as monolingual children. Multilingual children quickly learn to distinguish between their languages as well, and are often linguistically aware earlier than are monolingual children. A child who grows up in a multilingual environment needs to have access to all their languages. Linguistic role models are important, as is the opportunity to converse with others who speak the same language. The better a child can use his/her mother tongue, the easier it becomes to learn other languages. Continue to speak your mother tongue with your child, even if the child replies in Swedish. 

The best way for your child to learn your language is through joy and the desire to learn. So continue to promote interest by singing, playing and storytelling. And – read together! The library has children’s literature in a number of languages. 

Summary from the brochure One child – several languages, by Monica Westerlund, professor and licensed speech pathologist. 

Read the full text in the brochure One child – several languages (will open in a new window)

More about multilingualism

On the website ”Världens bibliotek” (Library of the World), you can find e-books for children in:

  • Arabic.
  • Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian.
  • Persian.
  • Somali.
  • Tigrinya.

Children’s books as digital audio books are available in:

  • Arabic.
  • Persian.

Read books on Världens bibliotek (will open in a new window).

Sveriges Utbildningsradio AB (Sweden’s Educational Radio Corporation), UR, has stories in a variety of languages, including Sweden’s own minority languages.

Småsagor (stories), UR (will open in a new window).

The national minority languages

Do you have a connection to any of our national minority languages within your family – Finnish, Yiddish, Meänkieli, Romani, or Sami? Here, you can read more about how you can encourage your child’s access to the language.

Texts and films to encourage and advance the national minority languages can be found on the website Bokstart (Book Start) (will open in a new window).

Sveriges Radio (Swedish Radio) also has children’s radio in the various national minority languages.

Children’s radio in the national minority languages, Sveriges Radio (Swedish Radio)  (will open in a new window).

Would you like to learn more – and get inspiration and tips?

If you would like to get some tips on how you can read with your child, you can find links to websites that deal with this under the tab Inspiration och tips om språkutveckling. There you will find websites with facts and information about children’s language development.

In the brochure, Du och ditt barn (You and Your Child), there are tips about how you can create a nice reading time with your child.

Brochure, Du och ditt barn (pdf, will open in a new window).

What can reading do for a child’s language? This film from the Göteborg City Library tells us!


Eva Norrbelius Coleman

Bibliotekskonsulent barn och unga