7 Reading Resources to Inspire Language Learning for Young Children


When I was about 8 years old, I started going to French Club at primary school. I went because my mum signed me up, but I stayed (and asked her to re-enroll me every term) for the croissants.

One thing I did outside of French Club was read. A lot. And then I began to read in French. I definitely didn’t understand everything but I just liked looking at the words in a different language. And it was something I could do alone at home. I didn’t need to be at school with my teacher and her resources.

Reading proved to play a key role in my early language learning.

With that in mind, I want to share some reading resources to inspire language learning in young children. Enjoy!

Do you want your child to learn a language? Probably. But do you want to force the process on them so they end up hating it? Probably not. Here's my 7 best reading resources for inspiring language learning for children. Click through for a bonus video and game!

Your downloadable gameboard

If you’re looking for something to do right now with your little ones to get them language learning, you can download this blank customisable gameboard straight away. Woohoo!

To find out more about how to use it, click right here to read more and to download it, click the image below.

To keep things consistent, we’ll be focusing on Spanish for this post, but most of these things are relevant for all languages.

classics

Some stuff never ages. This works well because there’s often plenty of translations or bilingual versions of books that your child will already be familiar with.

To get you started, try The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Guess How Much I Love You and The Day The Crayons Quit.

first thousand words

My mum always reminds me that when I was young (too young to really remember) I loved finding the duck in Usbourne books.

These First 1000 Words books from Usbourne are so cute! The relevance of some of the words may be questionable but one of the most important things at this stage is to expose children to other languages and inspire curiosity about language in them.

These books are a great place to start for that.

A language specific book

As well as these general recommendations, it’s worth hunting down something made just in the language you want your child to learn.

Why? Something made only in the language will likely be made by a specialist or include additional support.

A great example of this for Spanish is Hola! Let’s Learn Spanish by Judy Martialay.

As well as a Kindle and paperback version of the book, Judy provides parents with audio online. Yay!

The Spanish Experiment

Seeing as we’ve just moved online with that last one, this is a good place to mention one of my favourites, The Spanish Experiment.

There’s also a French and Italian equivalent of this amazing site featuring familiar short stories with easy to read translations.

It’s small, but it’s functional, beautiful, and free.

Specific language book shops

There’s three places I’ve discovered online that are real treasure troves of language books and other resources for your children.

You’ve got Little Linguist, Alien Languages, and Language Lizard to choose from.

You could get lost down the rabbit hole searching on any one of these sites. I take no responsibility!

Gus On The Go

Wow wow wow. I LOVE Gus On The Go!

These apps are just too good when it comes to inspiring reading and language learning. It’s got great imagery and style, good quality audio that’s not robotic, and simple stories with surrounding activities to support learning.

I tested the Stories App for Spanish for this post and it’s great. You start with some basic vocabulary that is then put into simple sentences that are used directly in the story and an activity to check your knowledge on that, then after the story itself, you get a fun little game to reinforce what you’ve just learnt.

Very well-structured and available in a good range of languages. This post by one of the creators of the app is a great further introduction.

tapStory

If your children are feeling inspired by reading, chances are they might just be feeling inspired to make their own books. tapStory makes this easy and gives you flexibility to add images and text and then even record your child reading the story and also record additional video after reading the story.

It’s a great support tool to build on their inspiration for reading in foreign languages!

How to Inspire Language Learning for Children

To support this blog I created this video and want to discuss further with you the ways that I’ve found useful to engage and inspire language learning with my younger students.

I don’t have children but I do hope these tips are useful for both parents and tutors alike. Yay!

Do you have any great reading resources or tools for inspiring language learning with young children? Share in the comments!

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About Lindsay Williams

Why hello there! I'm Lindsay and I do Languages. I blog, vlog and teach all things language. I blog about languages right here at Lindsay Does Languages, and about travel over at Mundo Trundle. If you're looking for language learning inspiration then stay a while. You might find just what you're looking for. :)
  • ยกQuรฉ buenas ideas!
    I think my daughters are going to love tapStory.
    Thank you, Lindsay!

  • Thanks for sharing Artie! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Julia Reed

    Hi Lindsay!

    Thanks for such excellent reading resources, it’s just on time, ’cause I wasn’t quite sure about a birthday gift for my little niece! I bet she’s going to like it as I’m a grown-up and still love to look through those colorful and funny books for kids ๐Ÿ˜€

    I guess it’s one of the most productive ways to learn a language. And by saying this, I mean for both children and adults. The only difference is proficiency levels. If the chosen level suits the best, reading turns into not only a pleasure but also a process of efficient language mastering.

    Thanks again for sharing, Lindsay!