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How to stimulate language learning through books

The earlier we put children in contact with other languages, the greater the possibilities of success in the end result. To facilitate this type of learning we must follow a set of premises.

How to set up the first experiences with other languages?
 
Firstly, it is useful to know the basic strategies children use to learn a language such as imitation and repetition; first they imitate words others use, and then they incorporate the meaning. Bearing this in mind, it is also convenient to:
  • Take into account the ability and needs of the child and choose materials appropriate to his vocabulary level.
  • Opt for a games-based approach. Games help the child to reinforce his own thoughts and to practise structures that are unknown to him before he has assimilated them.
  • Promote the perception of language as a means of communication, to express themselves and to understand others, and not just as something they have to learn.
  • Reading can be a way to turn practising a language into a motivational game, far from obligations. Songs, rhymes, repetitive structures, game possibilities, each of which can use different reading materials, facilitate long-term learning.
What to do to play, enjoy and learn languages by reading?
  • Use adequate materials: attractive and entertaining, and which ease the development of didactic proposals directed at familiarising children with the alphabet, vocabulary and consolidating grammar basics.
  • Encourage reading aloud, the repetition and dramatization of texts. Interaction with the text is a basic premise to improve the reader’s reception, to help him have fun by repeating memorised fragments or applying strategies that make the story his own.
  • Support the narration with gestures, movement or vocabulary cards. This is especially important in the early stages, when children need lots of visual support to become involved in the story.
  • Use music. Children’s songs are full of rhymes and repetitions, which is why they are a wonderful resource to acquire pronunciation and intonation.
  • Use reading materials that reflect aspects of the culture of destiny. Stories, songs and information books on children’s adventures in other countries will capture the young reader’s attention.
  • Integrate digital supports as a different reading, learning and playing platform. These mediums provide an interactivity that offers to facilitate active participation in the reading experience.
  • Go to libraries and specialised bookshops, in search of advice concerning books, on-line resources, etc.
  • In general, children express motivation and curiosity when faced with a story in a foreign language. To this advantage we can add the possibilities in children’s books that contribute to the development of specific skills associated with this type of learning.

 

 


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