The Multilingual Reading Countdown

If you are interested in multiple languages, the Multilingual Reading Countdown is for you. This straightforward technique both increases the comprehensibility of a text and improves your understanding and memory of the content. Simply select a text that exists in multiple languages and read it in successive languages. For maximum comprehensibility and, therefore, maximum language acquisition, […]

Reading websites in multiple languages

As you may know from research or experience, the best thing you can do for your fluency in a language is to consume large quantities of content that you can understand. (If you are a teacher, the best thing you can do for your students’ fluency is to provide compelling content that your students can […]

Relearning a Language

My French is not what it once was. This makes me sad. Here is the story of what I’m doing about it, with some encouragement in case you, too, want to revisit a once known language. My first regular contact with French was in third grade, with a Swiss teacher in an Austrian classroom, in […]

Your Language-Learning Happy Place

Your Happy Place is a mental state or a physical setting in which you are most at ease or most energized. You may have a general Happy Place, or you may have a host of Happy Places for different activities or purposes. Do you have a language-learning Happy Place? Mine are (a) just after breakfast, in […]

Pre-Reading and Three-Reading

The last post celebrated the benefits of rereading texts. This post delivers the promised rereading activity that you can use on your own or with a small group if you are an autodidact, or, if you are a teacher, can conduct in class or assign to students. If you’ve tried adding a bunch of different sounds […]

Don’t Read, Reread

It wouldn’t be unfair of you to ask why I read a letter this morning written to someone other than me, or why I did so twice, once silently and once aloud, or why these were the fifth and sixth times this week that I had read this same letter. “Curiously enough, one cannot read a […]

What You Can Do, I Can Talk About: Using students’ quirky skills to generate language

In the last post we talked about using party tricks as something to talk about in a target language. In a classroom setting, students’ special skills, including party tricks, are a compelling, useful source of content. Just like with a picture, movie, or story, the teacher can use students’ non-linguistic skills either to target specific linguistic […]

Spare No Tupperware: Erasmus on living in the language

Like most people, I read some Erasmus this morning.  A friend had asked for a particular passage in Erasmus’s booklet De Ratione Studii (roughly, “On Study Habits”); after finding the passage, I was intrigued enough to read the book from the beginning.  Several pages in, I found a delightful, Indwelling-Language-evoking passage in which Erasmus discusses internalizing […]

Essentials For Language Learners, Part 2: Essentials 6-10

Yesterday we posted about Essentials 1-5, Communication, Comprehension, Joy, Variety, and Trust. Today we complete the list with Essentials 6-10.  (In case you missed it, see the original article, “What Makes ‘Whatever’ Work: Essentials For Any Language Program,” on which these learner-specific articles are based.) 6. Personalization Do your approach and materials take into account your own life, interests, […]