The Clockwork Methodology™

Languages are brilliant. They can improve our career prospects, help us make new friends all over the world and have a whole host of cognitive benefits. So it’s really no surprise that many parents want to give their children the gift of a second language.

But making that a reality can be tricky. How do you help your child learn another language when you don’t speak one yourself? When do you find the time to do it? What do you do if your children don’t enjoy any of the resources you buy?

That’s why we created the Clockwork Methodology™, the unique approach at the heart of all of our story boxes that allows us to create books that start in English and end in a different language.

How it works

1

We create engaging books that children love, complete with beautiful illustrations. They begin in English.

2

Gradually, words in the target language are introduced in contexts that make their meaning immediately apparent.

3

Words become phrases, phrases become sentences and sentences become whole pages in another language.

1

We create engaging books that children love, complete with beautiful illustrations. They begin in English.

2

Gradually, words in the target language are introduced in contexts that make their meaning immediately apparent.

3

Words become phrases, phrases become sentences and sentences become whole pages in another language.

Here’s an example of the Clockwork Methodology™ in action.

“The little boy looked into the sky at the bright, round, yellow soleil.”

The new word gets used lots of times through the story in different contexts and through this repeated exposure the reader has learnt the French word for ‘sun’.

Your story box

The stories we create using the Clockwork Methodology™ are just one part of our story boxes. Each of these is designed with one goal in mind – to give children the most enjoyable start to their language learning journey possible. That means they have to be loads of fun and cover the four basic elements of learning any language: listening, reading, writing, and speaking. Here’s how we do it…

Listening

Before your box arrives, we’ll send you an audiobook of the story. As your child listens to it, they’ll start to get to grips pronouncing the words and get some speaking practice from the exercises at the end.

Reading

The centrepiece of every box, the book starts in English and gradually introduces a foreign language through our Clockwork Methodology™. That means children can read their way to understanding new words effortlessly.

Writing

After reading the book, kids can reinforce their understanding and retention of new vocabulary with the resources. There’s always lots of opportunities for them to practise their writing skills!

Speaking

The activities and games are all themed around the month’s story and involve plenty of speaking practice and lots of fun to ensure that your child can’t wait to continue their language learning adventure.

What languages do you offer?

For our story box club we offer two languages: French and Spanish. Using our Clockwork Methodology, these languages will be introduced throughout our stories and activities each month.

What age group are your story boxes for?

The story box is aimed at 4-9 year olds, but our stories, activities and games are perfect for beginners above anything else. We’ve had many parents and teachers with children below and above that age group who have really enjoyed the resources.

Do I need to speak a foreign language?

Not at all! We design our stories and resources to allow you to effectively learn alongside your child.
The resources can be used independently, but we really encourage you to take part in the learning alongside your child so you can both help each other out, just make sure you keep up with them!

How does my child learn from the Clockwork Methodology™

The Clockwork Methodology™ works because it helps children learn a new language in the same way that they expand their vocabulary in their native tongue.

When kids are listening or reading, they often hear new words that they don’t understand. But when they come across them in ‘intelligible contexts’, they’re able to come up with a theory about what the word means.

They might get this a little bit wrong at first but that’s okay. In fact, making mistakes is a key part of learning a language. But as a child is exposed to the word in multiple and varied contexts, they’ll develop their understanding of what it means, be able to recall it faster and soon be able to use it in their own speech and writing.

Won’t mixing languages be confusing for my child?

If you’ve ever listened to a bilingual person speak, you’ll know it’s not uncommon for them to switch between languages. It’s called ‘code switching’ and is a fairly regular occurrence for anybody who speaks more than one language.

Speakers choose to do it for lots of different reasons. They might want to express a concept that doesn’t easily translate to another language, or just use it for emphasis. Sometimes, it’s because of who the individual is speaking to or the situation they find themselves in. Sociolinguists have suggested that switching codes like this actually demonstrates a heightened language appropriateness and greater communicative sensibility. 

Swapping between languages is especially common in bilingual families- Alex is always speaking Spanglish when his parents phone him up! Some parents raising their children to be bilingual try to avoid code-switching but studies have shown this doesn’t make language acquisition happen any faster. In fact, exposing children to language mixing may even have cognitive benefits as they develop strategies to process all that input. Bring on the brainy babies!

What have you done to ensure these are valuable language learning resources?

We have partnered with the Spanish Embassy, several educational institutions and hundreds of teachers to ensure the educational value of our resources.

With their help our story boxes are full of fun and cover the main four elements of language learning: listening, reading, writing and speaking.

Psychologists have long pointed to bedtime stories as an important part of a child’s development. Not to mention the fact they’re lots of fun and good for parent-child bonding!

One of the reasons stories are so good as an educational tool is because they keep the kids interested. Children are much more likely to retain vocabulary when they’re reading or talking about something they are curious about and enjoy.

How will this help my child with their pronunciation?

Alongside every story box you will also receive an audiobook narrated by our amazing voice actors who are also native speakers of either French or Spanish.
We recommend you listen to the audiobook before reading the story, as well as during the first read. This will help tune in to the new language and get used to the sounds, before attempting to mimic them.

How will this help my child to understand the grammar?

Grammar is really important, but it can also be very boring, especially for young children. With our stories and resources beginners will learn new vocabulary each month, but perhaps more importantly they will love learning. Through repetition and reinforcement our brains start to spot trends and children especially gain an intuitive understanding of grammar.

What happens if my box doesn’t show up or the contents are damaged?

We send our Story Boxes far and wide so, very occasionally they do go missing or have a bit of a rough ride in the post. If your box doesn’t show up a week after you’ve received your audiobook email (2 weeks if you’re outside of the UK!)  or anything inside looks like it’s been through the wars, just email support@onethirdstories.com. We’ll arrange for a replacement to be sent out right away.

How do I cancel my subscription?

You can cancel your subscription at the end of your chosen duration of subscription by stopping the auto-renewal. Just log into your account and update your preferences.

If you’re having trouble, just drop us a line at support@onethirdstories.com and we’ll be happy to help.

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