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Archive for March, 2013

Boucle d’or

Boucle d’or is another story app that my children are enjoying. This app is available in French and English. You can view the app with the text on or off. At first I didn’t see this option in the menu and was disappointed that there wasn’t any text. Luckily I figured that one out. My daughter, Soleil, is starting to read in English and she has taken an interest to trying to sound out words in French, too. I want both of my children to see the text to stories whenever possible! What I’d really like to see in apps are the words highlighting as they are read…but alas, that’s not happening here.

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I wouldn’t  say this is the best app I’ve ever seen, but at this point, any app that can provide my children with more chances to learn French are winners in my book! Additionally, my monolingual husband can easily incorporate this app into his bedtime routine with the kids…which is a HUGE bonus! Perhaps eventually, we will cure him of his monolingualism!!! 🙂

goldie

What I really love about this app is that it has the predictable story of Goldilocks yet provides some interaction for children. Whenever you see the stars and hear the chimes, your child is supposed to touch the stars to advance the story. Since there are three of every item in the story, the child gets to press a lot of stars and hears the predictable narration about the big, medium and small items. I really like how the voice of the narrator changes according to the size…it helps add an element of comprehensible input for my young linguists. This app is full of “pleasant repetition” which is definitely going to help the Sunny Earth Kids acquire some more language skills! I can’t help but think of Wendy Maxwell and her incredible AIM program whenever I notice pleasant repetition. This is a term I learned from AIM and it has proven to work in the classroom, so I’m certain it will help in my home!

For a more detailed description of Boucle d’or en français, please visit this post by Déclic Kids.

Puss in Boots

Grimm’s Puss in Boots 3D Interactive Pop-Up Book by StoryToys Entertainment Limited is currently FREE for a limited time! It is available in four languages: English, French, Spanish and German.

puss n boots

This adorable version of Puss in Boots provides interactive fun for young linguists. Geo, my four-year-old, really enjoyed this story that had a pop-up game or  an activity after every few pages. The cat catches butterflies, rides in a boat that you navigate away from dangers and much more. See a short video of the English version here.

You can read it aloud yourself or have a native narrator read it to you and your child. Again, I love this feature for my monolingual husband! He can use it once in English to familiarize himself with the actions necessary to play the games and then successfully implement the French version with the kids!

Time is running out on this great app…download it now!

Apps Gone Free

This is my new favorite app! Apps Gone Free.

AppsGoneFree

Every day, I’ll check for new freebies. Be forewarned, the apps provided on Apps Gone Free are only free for a short window of time…about one day or so.

I browse the freebies and look for apps that look interesting to me and for my 4 and 5-year-old. Then I search the titles online to see if they are available in other languages. If they aren’t available in French or Spanish, I skip them. If they are, I’ll download them to check them out…after all, you can’t beat free! :) When you search the titles and choose the link that brings you to iTunes, look to the left underneath the app icon to see what languages the app offers:

Check languages available before downloading! :)

Check languages available before downloading! 🙂

I’m now on the search for a similar app that provides a list of freebies that are only in French and Spanish. If anyone knows of one that exists, please share! Merci & Gracias!

Nighty Night

Nighty Night is an adorable bedtime app by Shape Minds and Moving Images. It offers the bedtime story in 12 languages: English, Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, and Turkish. I think it will be interesting to see if my children would like to learn the story in Spanish. They know a little Spanish already and have friends that are bilingual in Spanish. Who knows? Maybe they’ll prefer German or Japanese! I love that this app provides 12 choices. I wish more apps did. If you know of any, please share!

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Watch a short preview of this bed time app here.

I used this app tonight in French with my four-year-old son, Geo. He really enjoyed choosing a room and then turning off all the light switches one by one. The app reminds me of the story “Good Night, Moon” by Margaret Wise Brown. Every time you choose a room, you hear the narrator say good night to the animal inside: “Bonne nuit petite vache”/”Good night little cow.” This type of story provides something I would call “pleasant repetition”, which is a term I’ve learned from AIM Language Learning. Whenever you can offer a pleasant way to repeat the phrases in a comprehensible context, you are providing opportunities for language acquisition.

Although this app doesn’t involve a large variety of vocabulary, I think it’s a winner! Only time will tell, though. Geo enjoyed it tonight, but what about in a month from now? I can see how Geo may end up reciting the phrases before, with or after the narrator. Already tonight, if I repeated the narrator’s good night wish, Geo followed suit…and for a kid who sometimes moans and groans and asks me to speak English, there was none of that tonight.

What I really love about this app is that a monolingual parent, like my husband, could use the app in English first to familiarize themselves with the story, then learn the French along with the children. It’s a simple enough concept that some families may choose to challenge themselves to learn it in several of the languages offered.

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I like how you even get to say goodnight to the fish! 🙂

I’d recommend this app to my monolingual friends who want to expose their children to another language. Parents could definitely learn the language in this simple story along with their child. Apps won’t magically create bilingual children, but they can offer an opportunity to expose children to the sounds of another language while learning some words and phrases along the way. The younger you begin, the less resistance you will find. The majority language has a tendency to be every child’s preference. It’s never too late to start, but don’t delay! Start your language learning today! 🙂