There are a heap of language learning techniques for children out there. The trouble is knowing which methods will help teach your little ones to speak another language in a way that is actually fun and engaging. We’re all about making language learning an enjoyable process here at One Third Stories, so we’ve put together a complete A-Z list of our favourite language learning techniques.
A-Z Of Language Learning Techniques
A is for Audiobooks
Audiobooks are a brilliant way for you to squeeze language learning into your child’s routine. Why not sit them down to listen to their favourite story in another language? See how much they pick up through being familiar with the story already. We love having audiobooks as part of our Story Box Club to support what children are learning in the written story. Try out one of our audiobooks for free in French or Spanish.
B is for Buddies
Buddying up with a fellow language learning enthusiast is a sure-fire way to keep your children motivated and engaged. Perhaps there’s another little one in their year at school who wants to learn a language? Being able to learn alongside someone else will provide encouragement to your child when they need it.
C is for Classes
Attending a structured language class can be a great first introduction to languages, especially for total beginners. Do your research on language learning classes in your local area and choose one with a teaching style that will suit your child.
D is for Dinner Table
We love the tried-and-tested method of language learning at the dinner table. Set a rule in the household that only the target language your child is trying to learn can be spoken over dinner – even by parents! Let the hilarity ensue when mum or dad don’t know the answer and have to be corrected.
E is for Egg Hunts
Egg hunts don’t just have to be for Easter. Hide some language learning questions or words that need to be translated around the house next to chocolate treats. Your little ones can race round trying to find the treats, but can only eat them once they’ve answered the question or translation correctly.
F is for Flashcards
Test how your child’s language learning is progressing by using bright and colourful flashcards. You could make these yourselves at home with some card and felt tips, or get hold of some in our Story Box each month.
G is for Games
The best language learning games will involve your children in the different ways they can use the skills they’ve learnt. Like the old Chinese proverb says: “Tell me, and I’ll forget. Show me, and I may remember. Involve me, and I’ll understand.”
H is for Holidays
A holiday abroad is the perfect opportunity to fully immerse your child in the language they’re learning. Go for a walk around town following street signs and order food in a cafe; every little thing you do on holiday will help cement the vocabulary and bring the language to life.
I is for International Day
If your child is part of a school or class that promotes language learning, why not try organising an International Day? All of the children can come along representing the country of the language they’re learning. They can dress in the colours of the flag; bring a national dish; and tell their school friends some fun facts about the country.
J is for Jar
Adapt the idea of a ‘swear jar’ into a ‘rewards jar’, so that every time your child reaches a language learning milestone you can show them some positive recognition. Once the jar is full, your little one can break out the pennies and celebrate by buying a treat.
K is for Karaoke
Imagine the hours of fun you could have singing along to songs in your child’s target language. Put them on in the car or at home to boost your child’s confidence with speaking (or singing) aloud in another language.
L is for Listening
Listening is one of the four key pillars of language learning (along with reading, writing and speaking). A great way to get your child started with listening to another language is by playing their favourite film in the language they’re trying to learn. You can turn on English subtitles to help them match up the words they’re hearing to ones they recognise.
M is for Music
Many people say that listening to music is one of the quickest and easiest ways to learn a language, especially if you can find music that’s especially catchy. Team up playing music in another language with some games and quizzes that check your child is absorbing the meaning of the song and not just the tune.
N is for Native Speakers
Setting up a conversation between your child and a native speaker of the language they’re learning is invaluable. They’ll be able to practice their pronunciation and ask any of the burning questions they’ve got about the culture and atmosphere of the country.
O is for One Third Stories
Our Story Box Club is designed with one goal in mind – to give children the most enjoyable start to their language learning journey possible. Each box includes a storybook, activities and other educational resources ideal for children age 4 – 9 years old. Start building your subscription to get started with either French or Spanish.
P is for Post-it Notes
Let post-it notes take over your house as your child labels everything in sight in another language. It’s a cheap and cheerful way to start learning how to refer to objects around the house in another language. Stick the post-it notes in visible places so that you’ll be walking past them regularly and the words become more memorable.
Q is for Quizzes
Create some fun quizzes and activities for your child to test out what they’ve learnt. They’ll feel really proud of themselves when they see how many answers they’re getting right. You’ll also be able to identify the areas they’re struggling with.
R is for Restaurants
It can be a stressful moment when you’re trying to order food in a restaurant abroad, but it’s a great way to throw yourself into language learning and chat to a native speaker. Recreate the experience in your home country by taking your little one to a restaurant linked to the language they’re learning. See if they can order their frites in French or their paella in Spanish!
S is for Storybooks
It’s no secret that we believe in the power of stories to revolutionise the way in which children are learning languages. One of the reasons stories are such a useful educational tool is because they keep kids interested – they have done for generations. Children are much more likely to retain vocabulary when they’re reading or talking about something they are curious about and enjoy. We write and illustrate stories that start in English and end in another language every month as part of our Story Box Club.
T is for Talking
Wherever possible, encourage your child to talk in the target language they’re learning. Stuck in traffic? Ask them to tell you the colour of the car in front in another language. Shopping in the supermarket? See if they can name the food they’re picking up and putting in the trolley. The more that little ones can apply their learning to everyday life, the more they’ll enjoy what they’re being taught.
U is for Understanding
Learning a language is always more engaging for children if they can understand more about the culture of that language. Help them to understand where in the world that language is spoken and what the country is like. If you can’t visit the country itself, doing some online research and watching videos with your child is the next best thing.
V is for Visuals
It’s a well-known fact that most people remember things better when they’re presented visually rather than in large chunks of text. We’ve put together our favourite language-related infographics in a Pinterest board. Test out how much your child can learn from them in short bursts of studying.
W is for Word search
Word searches help your child with vocabulary recognition, using a format which they’re familiar with. We regularly include word searches in our monthly activity books as part of the Story Box Club.
X is for X-Factor Competition
Some children are born performers and there’s no reason this trait can’t be introduced into language learning. Encourage your little ones to showcase their language talents through singing, dancing or any other style they wish to – in front of an adoring audience of course!
Y is for YouTube
There are a host of language learning channels available on YouTube, which you can sit your child down in front of safe in the knowledge that they’re only seeing top-quality content. A couple of popular channels are Dinolingo and Busy Beavers. You can also get a taste of our Clockwork Methodology® by watching ‘The Three Cerditos’ puppet show on our YouTube channel.
Z is for Zoo
The Zoo is always a great day out for kids, but can become even more fun with a language learning twist. See if your little ones can name all of the animals you see in the target language they’re learning.
What are your favourite language learning techniques to use with the kids? Let us know in the comments below!