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Why Reading is such a Powerful Way for Kids to Learn a Language

You may wonder how reading can be more effective than flashcards or other language-learning tools. Let's examine each of the main points to understand why reading is such a powerful way for kids to learn a language.

1. It's the fastest way to learn new words: When kids read, they are exposed to many new words in context. This means they see how words are used in real-life situations rather than just seeing them as isolated words or phrases on a flashcard. For example, your kiddo might read a chapter from our book The Word Thief about the trio of friends, Salt, the cat; Pepper, the dog, and Sunny, the squirrel, on an epic journey to stop the mysterious thief from stealing more words from the Word Castle, they might come across the expression in French 

“Sunny veut trouver le mot voleur. Elle veut partir à l’aventure.”

[Sunny wants to find the word thief. She wants to go on an adventure.]

By seeing “ veut” twice, which means “s/he” wants,” they will gain repetition of a high-frequency word that enables them to form their own sentences when chatting about the book. By seeing these words used in context, they can quickly understand what they mean and how they should be used in conversation.

2. They absorb the grammar naturally: Just as with vocabulary, kids can learn a language's grammar much more quickly by reading. When they read, they see how words are used in sentences and how they interact with one another. This helps them develop a natural sense of the language's grammar without memorizing many rules.

For example, if a child reads the first page of The Word Thief and sees this sentence  in Spanish

Salt es un gato. Es negro, no es blanco. Pepper es un perro. Es negro y blanco.”

[Salt is a cat. He is black; he is not white. Pepper is a dog. He is black and white.]

They can understand and see the Spanish verb ser “to be” used four times to describe one of the main characters, Salt the Cat. Our Japanese and Korean learners might notice that verbs come at the end of the sentence. 

3. Reading makes understanding what you hear much easier: When kids read, they also practice their listening skills. They read the words on the page and say them aloud in their heads, which helps them "hear" the language and understand it better when they hear it spoken. The brain matches the sound to what’s written on the page, where the connection between reading and speaking occurs. 

4. Reading improves speaking: The more kids read, the more familiar they become with the language. This familiarity makes it easier for them to use the language when speaking, as they have often been exposed to the words and phrases. It’s almost like they can see the words appear like subtitles in their brains. In our classes, our teachers and students can confidently discuss what is happening in the short story, comic, or chapter book! They are actively reading, acquiring, and speaking!

5. Reading makes you forget you're even learning a language: One of the most significant advantages of learning through reading is that it can be enjoyable. Kids can get lost in a good book and must remember they are learning a language. This makes the process much more fun and engaging for them, which can help them stay motivated and interested in learning. Language learning becomes part of who they are, not what they “study.”

So the big question is, which books can we actually use with our little learners?

As someone who is passionate about language learning, I understand the importance of finding the right books for children to start with. It can make all the difference in making reading a successful, effective, and enjoyable experience for them. When language learning is attainable with the reading level, it can be satisfying, and children can continue reading the whole book while simultaneously acquiring language. 

When I started Language Mindset school in 2019, I discovered a gap in the level appropriate for complete beginners, A1 level. I found language books for toddlers or infants and higher-level language for already bilingual children, but there was a need for comprehensible chapter readers for first-time language learners. Children already reading in their first language needed a book with a compelling story arc that was easy enough to understand. Maintaining the delicate balance between integrating the story and the appropriate language level took many edits.

Here are some of the editor's suggestions to ensure an age-appropriate language-level story.

When I decided to write "The Word Thief," I kept the language in present tense, repetitive, but not too repetitive, and avoided passive voice. These elements would make the book more accessible and easier to understand for children. 

As children immerse themselves in the new book The Word Thief, they can naturally absorb language, grammar, and structure through the power of storytelling. The focus is on the stories rather than the mechanics of language, creating a more enjoyable experience for them. This chapter book is designed for children aged 7 to 11. 

As I mentioned earlier, language learning can begin very early. It can even start before kids are born! By making storytime a language storytime, kids can begin to absorb new words and sounds before they even start speaking. This is why we've designed short stories up to 50 words with teacher videos for kids 0-7 years old to enjoy and benefit from language learning from an early age. 

Research has shown that kids exposed to a new language early on are more likely to be familiar with the sounds and words of that language when they start learning to read and write in their first language. They'll be well-equipped and primed to go when they're ready to read our chapter books with Salt, Pepper, and Sunny!

To ensure that the book's language proficiency level was appropriate, my editor, Lou, and I carefully considered the words used in "The Word Thief." We even found a website that verified the difficulty rating of any given word, ranging from beginner to advanced. This way, we could ensure that the language proficiency level was suitable for our target audience, making the book a fantastic tool for learning a new language.

In our 1:1 language classes, clubs, and semi-private classes, our young language learners immerse themselves in our short stories, workbooks, and comics–while learning through stories! It’s incredible how much progress and confidence our language learners have shown; they are on the path to language proficiency!

Your kiddo will feel confident knowing they can read a book at their own pace and level in a NEW LANGUAGE! 

If you’d like to learn about our short stories, comics, and soon-to-be-released first-ever chapter book, The Word Thief, subscribe to our newsletter!

Our book is available in Spanish, French, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, German, and many more languages!!!


Language Mindset, the owner/ founder

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