Getting Started with Language TogetherPrint
When you receive your first Language Together set, you may be surprised at how simple it looks—just ten little books in a box. But this simple method is the product of extensive research and testing on children's language acquisition. When learning a new language, grownups often prefer more structured teaching methods. Kids are wired differently. They like to jump in and learn without an instruction manual. They love learning through stories. And above all, kids want to have fun! Language Together sets blend humor and pedagogy, and effectively supplement language instruction at school and at home.
Here are some tips to help you and your student get the most out of the set:
- JUMP RIGHT IN. It’s ok if you or your student has no experience in the target language. Children with no prior background will instinctively get the stories and enjoy guessing the meanings of new words. That’s because the simple sentences and illustrations are designed to support each other and create instant meaning. (Our Spot Color Immersion Method® facilitates “comprehensible input,” an educational feature valued by language teachers).
- PLAY THE ONLINE AUDIO. For adults with no foreign language experience, the online audio narration offers a helpful starting point and read-along tool. Native speakers provide a good verbal model for kids and sound effects support the learning. Kids can independently play the audio and review the books without adult supervision.
- SAY YES TO DRAMA! Language immersion teachers use simple techniques to make language comprehensible (often without using a word of English). Try out these tested teaching techniques to effectively support the learning:
- Read phrases slowly and with emphasis.
- Point to the word or object as it is being pronounced.
- Use hand gestures and simple miming to convey meaning (as if you were playing Charades).
- Repeat words and phrases often.
- Use dramatic pauses and exaggerated expressions to add life and color.
Pure immersion is often more effective and interesting for children than translations and explanations. But for those who want extra support, translations and vocabulary charts are included in each book.
- CREATE A ROUTINE. Choose a regular time to read the stories—perhaps at breakfast or bedtime, or as part of a classroom routine. With exposure and repetition, kids will start naturally absorbing words and phrases from the books, similar to the way they learn their own native language.
- WATCH YOUR CHILD LEARN. The following stages of language acquisition illustrate the process taking place in children’s growing brains:
- Comprehension: the “silent period”
During this “receptive” phase of learning, it might look like nothing is happening at all. Your baby or toddler may look like they are just staring at the page, or not paying any attention. But this is a critical phase when they are absorbing new sounds and meanings and forming countless neural pathways essential to language acquisition. So keep up the good work and one day the kids will start saying “Hola”, “Nǐ Hǎo” and “Bonjour!”
- Speaking: “productive output”
This “productive” phase of learning is highly rewarding. Children will start showing off what they have learned from their Language Together set—often fun phrases first, such as “Cheers!” “Oops!” and “Hee hee!” followed by key phrases such as “I see,” “I like,” and “I love!” These high-frequency words and phrases form the building blocks for future conversational skills.
- Pre-reading and early literacy: Each set presents simple words and sentences, making reading an achievable goal for young students. In the pre-reading phase, younger children often use linguistic “shortcuts,” such as recalling sight words and matching words to pictures. But over time, true literacy starts to miraculously kick in. All children love the reward of reading a book all by themselves—in a new language no less!
- Comprehension: the “silent period”
Sets One and Two get kids started on a fun and natural path to language learning. We hope you and your students enjoy the journey with Language Together!
Click here to print this Getting Started with Language Together Guide