I’m sure you’ve heard quite a lot the affirmation “learn like a child” and at times I wonder what does it really entail?
Children tend to use their imagination much more than adults, and they are more creative, no doubt. May be that’s why children’s books take advantage of these characteristics to engage their readers and make the learning process more fun. These are a few of the reasons why reading children’s books, in the language you’ve just starting to learn, can be an excellent idea.
How is it going to work?
- Children’s books are usually accompanied by illustrations, the language is repetitive, the vocabulary is simple, the paragraphs are short. All these can help an absolute beginner to get used to the language they have just started studying without the burden of long vocabulary lists and complex grammar structures to memorise. The illustrations help suss out whether you’re understanding the sentences correctly as well.
- You can choose books aimed at native children, or dual language picture books designed to introduce young ones to a foreign language. If you pick the latter it is recommended to read the book sentence by sentence starting with the foreign language and then your mother tongue, the next sentence in the foreign language and so on. This will help you find out the meaning of each sentences as well as imprinting the foreign vocabulary in your short-term memory. Once finished, re read the sentences in your target language as many times as you wish, to commit them to your long-term memory.
- Identify the frequently-used words in the story and write them down as word pairs for example “good morning “, “good boy “, “very big”, as well as the phrases you encounter. You can always go back to them for revision.
- Try to practice what you’ve learned, memorise parts of the book, record yourself saying them. Use the phrases in your conversations when possible, that will help you consolidate these words and expressions in your long-term memory.
- Read your favourite children book, the book you enjoyed the most when you were a child, find it in your target language and read it. The process will be much easier as you already know the story and pairing the foreign words with the native ones will be straight forward.
Starting to read in a foreign language does not have to be a daunting task. Reading children’s books will be a confidence booster as you will see progress and most importantly, it will be an enjoyable activity.