Wow! Thanks to everyone who came along to the Lingotot Family Language Day on 26th September. We were delighted at just how many of you came along and we loved every minute of it!We kicked off the morning with a delicious French breakfast
, munching croissants, fruit and cheese - oh là là! We welcomed children from the reception class and Year 1 from Bloemfontein Primary School for some breakfast before starting the fun and games. We've never held such a BIG Lingotot session! We loved the way absolutely everyone joined in the singing, actions and walking songs. A big well done to children and parents alike.We then heard a story in Polish read by Kamila followed by some signing by Beverley from TinyTalk. A huge thank you to you both for giving up your time and sharing your lovely languages with us all.
Our information session at the end was a great way for parents to find out some more information about language learning. If you missed it and would like to find out more, you can download factsheets by clicking here
. Fay Gibson was the lucky winner of our quiz, winning a bilingual toy and a copy of LingoTunes
. Many congratulations!Here are a few photos of the event for you to browse
. Hope to see you there next year!
...to the Family Language Day!Can you believe it's almost upon us? This Monday 26th September, everyone is invited to the Lingotot Family Language Day! We have organised the day to celebrate the European Day of Languages and the National Year of Communication. We're kicking off with a French breakfast between 09:00 and 10:00. At 10:00 there will be stories, songs and general fun in French, followed by some sign language by Beverley from Tiny Talk. We finish our celebration with a talk at 11:00 by Gillian McCreesh, Speech and Language Therapist and Angela Sterling from Lingotot. The focus will be on language learning, giving information, dispelling myths and sharing handy hints and tips. There is a crèche available for this part of the day leaving you free to enjoy a cup of coffee and a biscuit as well as all the information. We'll be giving out factsheets and prizes in our fantastic quiz
too! Please contact us
if you'd like to book a crèche place.
You don't need to stay for the whole morning, you can drop in when you like and leave when you're ready to, so why not join us for breakfast on Monday?
Those of us with children of school age will know that teaching phonics to learn English, or literacy as they insist on calling it nowadays, is again en vogue. Schemes of work such as Jolly Phonics and more recently, the government’s Letters and Sounds initiative are now part of everyday classroom life.
But where does that leave us with learning languages? As a child of the 70s, I too learned how to read using phonics and to this day I use “the baby alphabet” when I’m spelling in my head! However when it came to language learning, my experience was very different. Plonked into a French classroom aged 11, we were expected to read full words from the word go without any instruction in pronunciation apart from listen and repeat a couple of times. Being a bit of a perfectionist swotty type, I didn’t want to look stupid with my rubbish accent, so I would keep my hand down in class and wowed my teacher with my immaculate grammar and handwriting instead. In fact, I got right through a university degree in French and Education and a few years into teaching myself before I even heard of using phonics in MFL.
That strikes me as a bit wrong really!
I became interested in phonics when I became head of department and finally had full control over the MFL curriculum (insert evil laugh here! Mwah ha ha ha!) I even learned a thing or two. I finally began to see patterns and links between the written and spoken word I’d never been consciously aware of before. I was desperate to introduce some phonics work with my students but I needed to try it out.
Here enters the guinea pig husband…
So we sat down one afternoon and I told him a story. In French. Without telling him what it meant at all. This bothered him at first, but he went with it for my sake. Instead I taught him simply how to read it aloud in a lovely French accent. We went through different letter combinations and sounds, played daft games and he really enjoyed it. By the end of it, not only was he the proud owner of a lovely French accent, but he’d also worked out what the story meant due to the repetition. “Ha ha!” I thought, “a test!”. So I reached for my Collins/Robert and looked up random words in the dictionary. To my delight he pronounced pretty much all of them with a high level of competency. Even now years, countries, marriage and two children later (but no extra training) he can pronounce the words well enough to read French bedtime stories to his daughters. Voilà, mission accomplished.
I soon introduced it in school where I found that not only was it a popular and pleasurable language activity for the children, but it supercharged their confidence in the language.
Recent research suggest that we do our learners a disservice if we fail to give them a solid grounding in the links between sounds and spellings of the foreign language they are learning. If taught the phonics of the language, talented pupils will be able to learn more independently. What a gift to be able to sound correctly any new word they come across! Struggling learners' self-confidence grows if they can “sound right”. And 11-year-old me would have been much more lively in class, contributing more and actually speaking the language I loved from the start instead of waiting until I was 18 and an au-pair in Paris….that story’s for another blog!
By Angela Sterling
About Lingotot and Phonics…
Lingotot runs short courses for parents entitled “Phonics for Singing and Storytelling”. The aim is to make you more confident to share bedtime stories, silly songs and rhymes with your children. Children learn a language best when they are surrounded by people who speak that language and this is an ideal way for you to develop your skills to support their learning. A session is planned for Durham during the half term break in October. Please click here to register your interest for the event and find out more.
Lingotot is proud to announce that Beverley from TinyTalk Derwentside will be with us for our Family Language Day.
Beverley began teaching TinyTalk classes in 2008, after realising the benefits of signing with her own two daughters. She will be available all morning to chat to if you're interested in signing with your baby or toddler. She will also be sharing some songs and stories with us mid-way through the morning.So, here's a rundown of the schedule for the day:09:00
French breakfast including yummy croissants, fruit and juices10:00
Singing, storytelling and games in French and now in BSL too! Local schools and nurseries will be joining in with the fun and games.11:00
Talk on Language and Communication by Gillian McCreesh, Speech and Language Therapist for Sure Start and on Early Language Learning by Angela Sterling from Lingotot. Crèche places are available for this part of the morning. Please contact us
to reserve your place.To find out more about Lingotot please visit our website here. If you'd like to learn more about Beverley's classes, please click here.Hope to see you there!
Lingotot Language Day Poster Competition. Celebrate the European Day of Languages and National Year of Communication by designing an eye-catching poster.
Design an imaginative, eye-catching poster to celebrate the European Day of Languages! You can use any art technique you wish. Entries must involve at least one word in a language or languages other than English, and should be no larger than one sheet of A4 paper. Adults can help a little, especially for the Family category, but please don’t take over grown-ups!
There are 3 categories: Families (children under 5); Foundation Stage & Key Stage 1. All children will receive certificates and either a bilingual toy or a bilingual storybook, depending on age.
Durham County Council press release:
Youngsters in Derwentside are being invited to take part in a family language day.
Craghead Village Hall will play host to a multi-cultural event aimed at promoting the use of languages in Derwentside. It’s all part of celebrations for the European Day of Languages and the Hello Campaign: National Year of Communication.
Families who regularly use other languages such as members of the local Polish community, local schools and nurseries are being invited to join local families and specialist language learning company Lingotot.
Sessions are being held by Durham County Council run Sure Start.
Gillian McCreesh, speech and language therapist with Sure Start, said: “This is an exciting opportunity to celebrate the range of languages used in our local area and acknowledge the fact that being bilingual is a great advantage and enhances a child’s communication development.”
A French breakfast will be on offer along with a sing along story time session, in a variety of languages, which will teach those taking part the importance of learning a language early.
Lingotot will provide sessions on how languages other than English can be used to help communication skills in very young children.
Limited crèche places are available but need to be booked in advance.
To book a crèche place or for more information please contact Angela Sterling at Lingotot.
Tel: 0845 680 8148
Babies and young children love songs and rhymes, especially hearing the sound of your voice. And they’re a great way to help your child’s talking and listening skills in a foreign language.
- Your voice is your baby’s favourite music so sing to her, even if you don’t think you’re a brilliant singer, or if you think your French accent isn’t up to scratch. Your baby won’t judge you.
- Turn off the TV or radio so your child can hear your voice.
- Don’t worry if you don’t know any French songs. Sing bits of the songs you have picked up in class or use a CD to help. There are many good resources online or you could pick up a copy of LingoTunes.
- Look at your baby as you sing or chant and see how he reacts to different parts of the rhyme.
- Young children learn best through play, so make songs and rhymes fun. This is why LingoTunes tracks are all action songs and rhymes. Change the sound of your voice, use actions or add your child’s name or the names of family and friends.
- When your baby or toddler joins in, show that you’ve noticed by giving lots of encouragement.
- Even if your toddler is just beginning to talk, remember that listening is just as important, especially for learning a foreign language. Listen to his reaction to the song or rhyme.
Help Lingotot celebrate the European Day of Languages and National Year of Communication by designing an eye-catching poster! The Lingotot Family Language Day Poster Competition 2011 is open to all pupils in FS and KS1 in nurseries and primary schools in Co. Durham. There is also a separate category for families.
There are 3 cateogries:
Families (children under 5)
Key Stage 1
All children will receive certificates and either a bilingual toy or a bilingual storybook, depending on age. They will also win a free Lingotot session for their school or nursery.
Those of us who work in education or have children of our own know how much they enjoy music. In fact, a love of music seems to be an inherent characteristic of babies all over the world. As children we listen, dance, sing, wiggle and jiggle to music. As parents, we instinctively sing to our children from birth. As teachers we use song for a range of tasks from forming good classroom routines to delivering a curriculum.
Music is a fantastic educational tool. Scientists say that children who are exposed to music, or those who play an instrument, do better in school than those who don't. Recent research suggests exposure to music may benefit a child's reading age, IQ and the development of certain parts of the brain. In fact, researchers say exactly the same things about language learning.
In my own experience as a languages teacher, I certainly have noticed a link between languages and music; children who are good at languages often have a talent for music. I believe that this important link should be developed and encouraged.
But how can we develop that link? When we think about language learning, most of us conjure up images of sitting in a stuffy classroom conjugating French verbs or listening to an old cassette tape and understanding nothing! The good news is that bringing languages to life with young children is easy to do and its foundations are in a shared love of music.
Very young children learn languages best when it is fun, natural and repetitive. Here are my top tips for using music with very young children.
1. Build up positive associations with the language by singing, dancing to silly songs and generally having fun! Children will be more enthusiastic about the language if they see you having fun with it too.
2. Link the language to actions. Mixing sound with kinesthetic tasks will enrich the learning experience and help the children pinpoint and learn specific vocabulary. This is why I developed my French songs to be “action” songs.
3. Have fun using the language as part of your daily routines. For example, sing songs in the language at the same time every day. I sing French songs with my children after naptime as it cheers up my particularly grumpy eldest daughter! Sing a numbers song as you walk up the stairs or sing a French lullaby at bedtime.
4. Encourage family, friends, childminders, babysitter, siblings and other visitors to join in with a foreign language song. Not only is it fun, but young children value the language more when they use it with a wide range of people. A song will make adults more comfortable with a language they may otherwise find difficult or embarrassing.
5. Find opportunities for children to share the language with other youngsters. Children learn a lot from each other and singing together will boost the language’s prestige and make it more enjoyable for all!
6. As well as listening to music at home, play foreign language songs on long car journeys or through headphones on public transport.
7. We know that children love watching themselves in the mirror or looking at photographs. They also love technology. Why not mix the two together by shooting a short video of a foreign language singing performance and sharing it with family, friends and their peers? Perhaps make an audio recording and use it as your ringtone!