As someone who grew up learning foreign languages (and now speaks four , the recent BBC report talking about more pupils being put off languages is deeply upsetting. Although I don’t yet have children, I genuinely believe each child should grow up multilingual because of the incredible benefits that it has.
This week I received a product from One Third Stories that is unlike the ones I normally review. Although it’s aimed at parents and I’m not one, I’m posting about it because it’s something that parents should know about as, it may well help bring their children up multilingual.
The product is simply a children’s book that starts in English and ends in a different lingua, by gradually introducing foreign words. As you can see I’m using their contextual metodologia (The Clockwork Methodology) as I type to make you understand italiano. I’ve never seen it used in this way before. I certainly found it very easy to understand the foreign words in the story so I’d be surprised if children didn’t too!
Textbooks aren’t very interessanti for young bambini, only 54% of primary schools have a lingua specialist (someone qualified to teach them), despite it being compulsory for all bambini age 6-7, and although there are lots of apps like Duolingo out there, none really strike the balance between entertaining and educational for bambini. One Third Stories looks to make it as easy as reading a story. Here is an example of how it works in practice:
I was given as sneak peak, the racconto tells of a little girl who has had all her words blown away in a storm and she has to go on an adventure to find them. The first few pages introduce a few words in the foreign lingua, but it gradually builds to form sentences and eventually pages, where bambini simply read their way into understanding una lingua differente.
Below is a puppet show they created of The Three Little Pigs, which you can download to learn español e française (italiano coming soon I’m told). You can check out the beginning of their racconto for yourselves. It is unfinished as they are currently running a competition for bambini to write their own ending – there are lots of prizes up for grabs, and you can win tickets to Chessington World of Adventures just for spreading the word.
Language Learning Puppet Show
Their first official racconto isn’t yet available, they are going to be launching on Kickstarter next month, but this feels like a very natural way of learning new vocabolario. Enabling bambini to pick up those key parole in the racconto very quickly is essential, as it ispira them to keep going by proving that they can do it. It’s so much better than endlessly reciting the same thing over and over again, the way so many forays into lingue begin.
I’m going to be following their progress and racconti closely, hopefully you will too!