The “Natural Method” of Language Learning‏

This wonderful e-mail was sent to me by Sarita Holzmann and wanted to share it here. It is also a great way for me to save this here and refer back to it later 🙂

I think this note explains the “Natural Method” of language learning Dr. Beechick urges and that Sonlight follows. Just a few days ago I wrote,

Dr. Beechick encourages parents to avoid workbooks if at all possible. She believes workbooks don’t really teach children how to write effectively. Instead, she says, you learn how to write well by:

  • listening to good writing
  • looking at good writing
  • copying good writing (what Dr. Beechick calls “Dictation”)
  • and, eventually, by seeking to produce writing that first emulates and then surpasses what you have already heard, viewed, and copied.

“Benjamin Franklin tells in his autobiography how he taught himself to write,” says Dr. Beechick.

It began when he admired some writing in a British periodical, The Spectator. The essays…caught his fancy, and he wanted to write like that. So he outlined essays, put his outlines aside for a few days, and later tried to rewrite an original article by following his outline. He compared his writing with the model to see where he fell short. Then he repeated with the same essay again or tried another essay, improving his writing all the while….


And of Jack London (author of White FangThe Call of the Wild and dozens of other works):

London spent days upon days in the San Francisco Public Library hand copying good literature that the librarian recommended to him.

Children learn to speak by hearing parents speak to them and by responding. Then they learn to read by being read to and by practicing with easy, familiar books. Thus, children learn to write by observing good writing and by imitating those models.



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