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.



Little Reader Chinese Curriculum Review

The wonderful Brillkids Co. has graciously sent me Little Reader Chinese Curriculum to review. After doing some research online of the difference between simplified and traditional Chinese, it seemed that more modern adaption is commonly used. So I chose the Simplified version. We have been using Little Reader Chinese with my three year old son Ethan who is advanced for his age and get’s bored easily. There are two semesters which can be spread out for an entire year’s lesson.

Let me say, it is quite different. My family has absolutely no exposure to Chinese in the past but I knew that the Chinese language had characters instead of letters and words like most other languages. The first few lessons, it was quite different and took a few lessons to “wrap our brains” around it.  I did purchase and use the regular Little Reader Version, and use it with the same schedule. We use it every couple days and mostly skip everything and go directly for the multimedia content. The multimedia section combines flashing the word (character), while someone describes what’s happening in the photo and/or short video in the background. We chose to skip the other sections of the daily lessons because the multi-media combines all three, making it the most effective. Short bursts of knowledge, like Glenn Doman suggests, is much more effective than longer ones. But that’s just my opinion aswell, you can certainly use all three sections daily. We have not yet completed the entire first semester, but so far it is going well for my son.

If your debating whether this program is worth $119 price tag, I would say yes. Over one billion people, speak some variety of Chinese as their native language. It will benefit Ethan in the future to have this exposure to the Chinese language at his early age of three. We also enjoy looking at some free Chinese lessons on youtube. There are other products that you can supplement with like Professor Toto Chinese and Wink to Learn Chinese. For more information or to see sample videos on the Brillkids website https://user.brillkids.com/onlinestore/ls-little-reader-content-chinese.php

Speed up & improve your child’s language skills

Speed up and improve your child’s language skills. By Colleen Davis Gardephe

Parents play a critical role in a child’s language development. Studies have shown that children who are read to and spoken with a great deal during early childhood will have larger vocabularies and better grammar than those who aren’t. Here are some simple ways to nurture your baby’s language development.

1. Talk, talk, talk. Narrate the day as it evolves. Tell your child, for instance, “Now we’re going to take a bath. Can you feel the warm water on your belly? When we dry off, we’ll get dressed and take a walk.”

2. Read, read, read. It’s never too early to read to your baby. One good predictor of future reading success is the amount of time parents spend reading with their child. Parents can start with simple board books and graduate to picture books and longer stories as their child gets older. Story times at the local library or bookstore can also help a preschooler develop a love of books.

3. Enjoy music together. Young children love music and movement. When they listen to lively songs, like “Old McDonald Had a Farm,” they learn about the world around them and the rhythm of language.

4. Tell stories. Make up elaborate stories with characters, conflict, adventure, and a happy ending. Be sure that the stories fit your child’s interests and aren’t too scary for her liking.

5. Follow your child’s lead. If your little one seems interested in a particular picture in a book, keep talking about it. If she seems intrigued by a boat, show her more boats and talk about them, too. Repeat her babbles back to her, ask questions, and interact with her. You can even try recording your child on a tape recorder and playing it back.

6. Never criticize your child’s articulation or speech patterns. Instead, repeat his statements back to him with the correct pronunciation or word usage. Give your child lots of praise for his efforts.

7. Use television and computers sparingly. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children younger than 2 not watch television at all, and that children 2 and older view no more than two hours of quality programming a day. While some educational programs can be beneficial to kids, TV shows don’t interact with or respond to children, which are the two catalysts kids need to learn language. Computer games are interactive, but they aren’t responsive to a child’s ideas.

8. Treat ear infections thoroughly. Children in group child-care situations are more prone to ear infections, which can put them at risk for hearing loss and, consequently, language delays. If your pediatrician prescribes an antibiotic to treat an infection, make sure your child takes the correct dosage each day and uses it for the full prescribed time. When your child finishes the prescription, schedule a follow-up visit with your pediatrician to make sure the infection has cleared.

9. Go on field trips. A trip to the zoo, the aquarium, or a children’s museum will open up a whole new world for your child. As an added bonus, she’ll want to learn the names of all those fascinating creatures and fun activities she experienced.