Back to blog listing

Next article

One Third Stories: combining language, learning and reading

Babies and children have a remarkable ability to soak up enormous amounts of information and new experiences almost seamlessly. After all, who can remember learning how to speak? What we consider everyday actions, like walking down the street or listening to the radio, function as necessary learning experiences for children - which is why we have a heightened ability to pick up the grammar and sounds of another language up until around age 10. We started One Third Stories to combine our passion for languages & stories with this amazing time in a child’s developmental growth.

Get 15% off your first subscription with One Third Stories by entering the code PACEYONETHIRDSTORIES at checkout.

Why should your child learn another language?

Learning another language is known to have several benefits: cognitively, academically, and culturally.

1. Improving their mental agility

As children start to learn a new language, they begin to form connections between the new language and its meaning, eventually learning to segment the two languages into their different contexts. This has been shown to improve both a child’s concentration and multi-tasking capabilities. The hypothesis is that the effort to choose the right language at the right time constantly exercises bilingual children’s brains, which trains it into developing more focus. Research has also shown that different skills gained from learning another language improve test scores across the board, including in maths and science.

2. Improving their mother tongue

While the myth persists that learning more than one language at a young age is confusing, research has found that, on the contrary, learning a second language can also improve understanding of our own mother tongue. The ability to communicate in a second language improves our ability to communicate in our first, through an extended vocabulary and a greater understanding of grammatical constructs.

3. New experiences, cultures & friends

Being able to speak a second language when travelling not only helps with checking into a hotel and ordering in a restaurant, but also with improving our experiences while we’re both at home and abroad. Chatting with the locals, trying new foods, and discovering local secrets are all on the cards when we can communicate with those in the country we’re travelling to. Introduction to a second language at a young age also opens children’s eyes to other cultures and encourages a more empathetic, global and celebratory outlook towards those from different cultural backgrounds.

How can we encourage a love for learning new languages?

The benefits of learning a second language are all well and good, but it’s not often easy to put learning into practice - especially as we get older. Full immersion in another language is the fastest and most successful route to fluency, but this option is not accessible to many parents. For those of us that don’t already speak a second language, and for those who do but aren’t confident in speaking it, immersion just isn’t feasible.

Fortunately, there are other options out there. We can take our kids to language classes or clubs where they can make new friends, and learn through games and songs. Experiencing languages through travel is also a great to get our kids using more vocabulary, but again, frequent holidays to countries that speak your target language just aren’t possible for most of us! An easier (and cheaper) option is to introduce languages through cultural experiences such a museums, foods, songs, apps and books. These all place an emphasis on having fun while picking up a language almost incidentally.

For us at One Third Stories, sparking a love for learning languages by having fun while doing so is our main focus. We want to inspire a generation of little language-learners to love speaking, reading and listening to new languages and cultures. Described by one of our subscribers as ‘the hidden vegetables approach to language-learning’, we do this by creating original stories that children love. We use the Clockwork MethodologyTM to gradually introduce language to our readers, where the meaning is made immediately clear through context. Our stories start in English and progress into the target language throughout, repeating and building upon French or Spanish words from book to book. Each month, a new box is delivered with a story, activities and flashcards, all designed to keep language-learning super fun, engaging, accessible, and low-pressure. There’s also a digital audiobook narrated by a native speaker to help with pronunciation, so every parent, and not just those who are bilingual, can get their kids involved with a new language.

Our little language-learners are already using their new language skills every day, chatting away without the self-consciousness that adults often experience when trying to strike up a conversation in French or Spanish. We love hearing stories of our young subscribers playing with classmates who don’t speak English, speaking to locals on holiday, and being curious and asking parents ‘What’s the French/Spanish word for that?’ Learning a second language at a young age is more than just an educational move - beyond cognitive development and improvement in academic achievement across the board, it also inspires open-mindedness, curiosity, and communication in children. By creating illustrated stories which introduce a new language in an engaging and incidental way, we’re doing our best to help children begin their journey into this wonderful adventure of speaking more than just their mother tongue.

About the authors

Alex (loves languages) and Jonny (loves stories) have been friends for almost 10 years. Ever since they met, they’ve been thinking of ways to combine their two passions into a business. The first time they tried they were just 17 years old and ended up dressing as penguins and sleeping on boxes full of books.

One Third Stories is the culmination of all that experience, a lot of coffee and the belief that every child should grow up with the chance to be bilingual. We’re out to start a language learning revolution through stories that start in English and progress into a different language…

Get 15% off your first subscription with One Third Stories by entering the code PACEYONETHIRDSTORIES at checkout.

Blog post currently doesn't have any comments.
 Security code