Language Learning: Excite the Kids with a little Early Lingo
Summer is upon us, and you know what that means. School is out and all learning can stop. Ha! Not in my house. Summer is when my brain starts to think about where we are headed in the fall and even further out, where we will go in 2014. It is also the time to focus a little more on our language learning. Last summer Dek and I dove into Italian for our trip to Italy. This summer we are jumping into Spanish. I have a new DVD series that will get us both a little more excited.
I was sent a copy of Early Lingo a few months back, and honestly, I just assumed it would be another language learning series that Dek would be excited about for 5 minutes and then he’d want to move on. This is his usual M.O. However, before I could even take the plastic off the 6-disc set he was asking if he could watch one. He pulled every disc case out, examined what his new pals Jojo and Lulu were doing, and declare he wanted to see the beach episode. Who was I to argue with a kid who wanted to learn?
Dek doesn’t always take to speaking a different language. When we watched the Italian Muzzy DVD he liked the story, but rarely repeated the words, although one song is now a family favorite. He wouldn’t truly practice his Italian until we were actually in Italy and he was playing with our friend’s kids who spoke some Italian. Dek watched Lulu and Jojo a few times before he caught on that he has to repeat the words. They were simple vocabulary drills with video footage of cartoon friends Jojo and Lulu or other kids playing with a pail in the ocean or wearing swimsuits. Soon enough Dek started saying, and sometimes yelling, the words back at the TV. Each morning he would show up at my door with a new disc. Honestly I had to start making it a reward just so we wouldn’t watch it all day.
Mom behind Early Lingo
The woman behind this language program is Caryn Antonini, a Georgetown University graduate who studied language and linguistics. “As a new mother, Caryn wanted to give her child the advantages of learning a foreign language as an infant and all the subsequent benefits it would bring to her child later in life, but was unable to find anything on the market that would accomplish this effectively.” Like many motivated parents, Caryn decided to do something about her frustrations and developed her own program.
Why does this work for us?
Early Lingo combines loveable cartoons with live action kids that Dek can relate to. Each disc has a different theme: the Park, Farm, Beach, School, Market, and City. These themes put words into context for your kids so they have a frame of reference to work off of as they learn. The vocabulary is repetitive as well as the images, so not only is Dek hearing the sounds, he is also getting a visual reference for each word. I love that the creator also spells out the word, so I as the parent have an actual word to help me remember. With about 540 words on 6-discs there is a lot for our whole family to stick in our brains.
Who is this for?
The series claims to be for children ages 6 months and up. I’m sure Ty (age 1) is taking in a bit of what he sees and hears, but his attention span just isn’t there yet. He watches for about 1 minute before wandering off to chew on something. Toddlers are much more in tune with this type of language learning, as it is reminiscent of shows like Sesame Street or other PBS learning programs that repeat the same characters and lingo over and over again. Parents can also get in on the fun. I did learn new vocabulary, reinforced some of the old stuff I had tucked away in my brain, and added bonus, the DVDs weren’t obnoxious to watch with Dek. It was actually fun to have Dek guess what words meant if the 1st picture wasn’t always clear (i.e. video clip of sand in a bucket: were we learning the word for bucket or for sand? The next image showed we were focusing on the sand, but by then we had already guessed correctly).
Spanish isn’t the only language you can learn with your kids. Early Lingo has 6 languages to choose from:
It’s not always easy to get your kids, especially young ones who are used to only one language, interested in learning a second (or third or fourth) language, especially if they aren’t immersed in it at home. Starting small with DVDs and flashcards certainly helps get the ball rolling, and your entire family on a language learning adventure.
What language will you learn this summer?
Many thanks to Early Lingo for providing a copy of their product for review. As always all opinions are my own; when they aren’t you will be the first to know. All photos courtesy of Early Lingo.