Usually we start learning a language with a textbook or an app. Exercises and repetition support memory.
Yet to learn a new language means more than acquiring only vocabulary and grammar. Soon we start reading longer texts and create our own sentences and at the same time we collect experiences and knowledge.
The step from the standardized language in a textbook to everyday spoken and written language could seems enormous. Easy to Read books can however bridge the gap between learning and using a language.
Reading supports learning
The brain builds on previous knowledge and experiences to create a new “language channel” for each new language. Textbooks aim at providing basic knowledge and develop certain skills. Very soon more is needed to develop and expand the language knowledge.
This long process can be shortened with Easy language books. Words are easy to understand and lines and chapters are short. When Easy books are used parallel in language teaching several things might happen:
- the language becomes more interesting to learn
- the learner creates an emotional bond to the story and picks up language without studying especially
- everyday language from the book can be used immediately in and outside the learning situation
- the language learning process has more continuity, when a whole book is read over a longer period of time (in contrast to fragmented dialogues and texts in textbooks)
- the feeling of success with the language increases; increased motivation to learn
- language levels enable choosing the right book according to current need
- in groups reading and book discussions create more togetherness
- all are included, no matter what reading ability or language knowledge the learners have
Translation is an effective way to learn languages. Multilingual persons and those who have already created routines to learn languages often learn the next language quickly by translating. Translation connects to previous information and stimulates the brain to build further on already existing structures.
During translation of Easy to Read texts, words, expressions and structures are discovered. We reflect on how different languages function, how we express ourselves and why, where words and expressions come from… and many more aspects, which make learning more exciting.
Working with two or more languages parallel, we provide our brain with the possibility to compare the languages. Comparisons are important to stabilise and deepen language knowledge. They support both memory and language consciousness.
Further, to translate together in a group offers possibilities for discussions and a better understanding of each other’s languages and concepts of the surrounding world.
Author, researcher and trainer Sabira Stahlberg has written over twenty Easy to Read books, teaches several languages andresearches and educates internationally about multilingualism and the use of Easy to Read literature.
Pedagogical Easy to Read books in several languages: Villa Bokpil
Materials and tasks: Edu Bokpil
The project LäsLätt (‘ReadEasy’) 2020 for increasing and distributing information about Easy to Read is realised by Bokpil and Colorit ry.rf. and supported by The Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland.