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You've heard about the "early window" for learning a language, right? You know, that one that says after a child turns five, the brain slams shut and it's practically impossible to truly learn another language well?
But, um, how exactly does one go about this, when the child in that golden period is too young to read?
Language Together has one solution to this dilemma. They've created boxed sets of pre-readers that appeal to just this age - complete with simple, silly illustrations that have just a touch of color to really help the material being learned pop.
|One of Gv's favorite pages!|
This pop of color is not only visually appealing, but comes from all sorts of research that the company has trademarked as their Spot Color Immersion Method (TM).
The books naturally convey a story, so that kids can understand what's going on without even knowing what the words on the page mean - it's like having closed captioning subtitles right there on the page!
Closed captioning subtitles - what? That's one of our biggest secrets for learning languages around here. We watch everything with closed captioning and often read what's being said before we hear it. If a show's in English, we usually turn on French. If it's in some other language, we turn on the English (unless it's in Italian, and then G usually makes me struggle through it all without a crutch).
I was so excited to check out this program for myself after coming across it online - it just looked too cute and fun!
I asked to review both the Spanish and English sets - even though we're native English speakers around here, I could tell the set would be perfect for our little pre-reader to explore along with the foreign language set.
The boxes arrived and both Gv and I could hardly contain our excitement - the quality of the packaging and books themselves are quite high and we immediately fell in love with the illustrations.
Gv immediately trotted off to investigate the books further - she flipped through every single book in each set and then begged me to read them to her.
All twenty books.
I obliged her (I was excited to check them out, too, you know) and just loved how they use a splash of color to focus on the particular vocabulary words - both in the text and in the illustrations.
|Not only is Gv learning the Spanish words for green and orange here, but she's getting a lesson in secondary colors, as well!|
When we finished going through them all, Gv wanted me to "read them again!"
My voice wasn't quite up to the challenge, but that was okay, because I just set her up with the computer and let her read along with the audio version online.
Later that evening, she was ready to do them all again. I was making dinner, but was able to hand her my non-phone-iphone (G's brother so kindly passed along his old iphone to us, so we can use it with wifi, making us feel like we're not completely out of touch with the rest of the world, even though we still have "dumb phones.") and scan the QR code inside the back cover so Gv could listen to them that way, too.
|Gv gets the giggles over these wigs!|
I really love the audio aspect of these books. Gv is really into read-along books right now, so I'm happy to have another resource for her to use in this way. Plus, she's getting to hear a native Spanish speaker read the books, instead of my poorly accented version!
I will say, however, that one aspect of the audio was a bit of a drawback for us - the "dings" to turn the page. Usually, you'll hear a "ding" when it's time to physically turn a page in a book, but the dings sometimes would come after only the left-hand page was read - leading Gv to turn the page and get completely confused when the voice was still reading what was on the right-hand side of the previous page.
A minor issue, however, and something that will be less confusing as Gv gets a bit older and more familiar with the books, I'm sure.
I'm excited to see what this company comes out with next - will it be further sets of the languages they already have (which include English, Spanish and both simplified and traditional Chinese), or new languages (Italian next, I hope I hope I hope!)?
We'll see, but in the meantime, Gv will be spending her "critical language acquisition period" soaking up the Spanish with set one!
Want to know more? Read all about the Language Together company at their website here. Ready to grab a set for yourself? Just click on these links to get them from Amazon!
Have you been looking for a fun way to introduce a new language to your youngster? I'd love to hear! Either leave a comment below or email me at lisahealy (at) outlook (dot) com.
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