You’ve heard it before and it’s worth hearing again: the best time to start learning a new language is as early as possible. The cognitive benefits of bilingualism pay off into adulthood.
For children whose parents do not speak another language and whose school doesn’t offer language instruction, there is now a viable alternative for starting a language early: the library!
For the youngest learners, we offer KidSpeak™, a fun, age-appropriate online language course designed for ages 6 and up!
All you need is a library card to introduce your children to English, Spanish, French, Italian, and Mandarin Chinese. The program teaches words and phrases suitable for learners’ age, needs, and interests. (No “I’d like a glass of wine.” in this course!) More than 40 activities, puzzles, and songs guide young learners through the basics, along with a cartoon “friend” who speaks the language.
Using the successful immersion approach preferred for young children, KidSpeak™ introduces the alphabet and word recognition, simple sentences, how to use plural and singular, how to distinguish between words that look and sound similar, simple addition and subtraction, how to tell time, number recognition (matching numbers to written words), and correct pronunciation.
Library patrons can access KidSpeak™ by selecting Transparent from our eSources page, navigating to the desired language, and selecting KidSpeak™. An animation with a cartoon guide will appear, and your child will be able to take it from there!
For older children, Transparent offers courses in English, French and Spanish.
The English Immersion Course focuses on facilitating natural conversations among students, their families, teachers, and friends. Start with the English Elementary Alphabet Course and then move on to Elementary Conversations in English. There is a fun central storyline and topics of instruction include functional grammar, integrated culture, and everyday dialogues. There are three levels of instruction for approximately 20 hours of independent study. Find these lessons from the “Browse” tab on the English Immersion Course.
For elementary learners of French and Spanish, Transparent offers 68 lessons divided into 3 levels of increasing depth. Children will learn age-appropriate words and phrases about topics such as meeting friends, school supplies, and birthday parties. There are end of lesson assessments and downloadable workbooks, as well. Find these courses for children by navigating to the desired language, clicking the "Browse" tab, and selecting "Elementary Vocabulary."
Children can learn from anywhere (once you’ve signed up at the library, of course!) Transparent and KidSpeak™ work on computers, tablets, and phones so kids can learn on the go, at home, or in the library. Ask library staff to show you Transparent on your next visit!