Friday, May 30, 2014

Lightning Fast Language Learning

I received free product to facilitate this honest review.  
All opinions expressed are my own.

Yesterday I wrote about why I don't buy books for my child... and now today I'm going to encourage you to buy books for your child.  Hooray for consistency!

Let's be honest.  I do sometimes buy books.  And thank goodness I do, because last night, after I wrote my blog post about how she doesn't read the books she owns, she asked me to read her own books before bed instead of library books!

Some of the books we own still do collect dust on the bookshelf, but we do have them just the same.  Some books are classics and you just want to own them.  My daughter really loves books that have the Caldecott Medal and Honor seal on them.  She gets all excited to read them.  Thankfully our library has a section reserved just for them so they are easy to find!  Most of those books are amazing, so of course when we spot them in the stores or online, we scoop up our favorites and add them to our collection.  She often doesn't read them again once we own them but we still have them and I know that someday, when she goes to read to her own children, she'll be thankful that we have them!  We also typically give her the option to choose books to purchase when we take family trips to the Used Book Store.  She will typically choose a couple, love on them for a few days, and then move back to her library book pile.

The other type of books we tend to purchase are resource type books.  My daughter really loves maps and map books, so we like to look for those.  It's something she uses often enough and at sometimes random enough times that having them in the house or car forever just makes sense for us.  Another great resource, which I have only recently begun to explore with her, is learning a second language.

I was asked by Carolyn Woods, the author of the Lightning Fast language learning books, to review one of her books, so today I'm reviewing a fantastic little book called Lightning Fast Italian For Kids and Families.  This is the type of book I would buy and I plan to add more of these books to our collection very soon!

I have always heard that children have a natural knack for learning second languages. Their little brains just wrap around that type of learning early in life so getting them started when they are young is really great!  After receiving our book in the mail, I pulled it out after dinner one night, talked for a few minutes about how we are part Italian, and asked her if she would like to learn some Italian.  Her eyes popped out of her head as if to say, "Is that really possible?!" and her words said something like "YES!  YES!  YES!"  So we had a little Italian language learning session on her bed, and it was really, really fun!

We started this little Italian language exploration about a week ago, with no prior knowledge of the language (other than a couple of random words that have been passed down through my family that I'm not even convinced are real Italian but are probably some sort of slang or bad words!).  After a week of owning this book, we are not fluent in Italian.  Now, if we did not all have head colds right now, I think we would be remembering the words a bit more, but regardless, this is a new thing for us that has actually been very eye opening and fun.  But, even though we are not fluent (yet!), we have a new love for language learning.  I have a 3 1/2 year old that, when looking for something to do, asks me if we can learn more Italian!

This book really makes the experience fun because it lets you start from scratch, with no knowledge of the language you are learning.  It includes phonetic pronunciation guides for each word presented. There is no way I could do it without that!

In this book, you will find different vocabulary and conversational ideas centered on different topics which are applicable to day to day activities.  For instance, there are chapters entitled Getting Dressed, My Toys, How Was School Today?, and Time for Dinner!, and the words and phrases included in those chapters are the ones your child would want to learn in those contexts.  During our first session, my daughter was doing what most children probably would... asking me how to say certain words that came to her mind... things like pizza, pajamas, dog, and strawberries... and of course, those words were included in the book!  It's interesting to read in the author's introduction that this is how she actually came to create these books... she thought about what her family discussed on a daily basis, translated those things into the languages they wanted to learn, and voila! (that's French, not Italian, right?)  I'm glad she put these books together the way she did because it seems like her family talks about all the same things our family talks about (and probably yours too!).

The book also includes some game and activity ideas to pull all the information together in a fun way and really help cement the information in your memory.  Even the Hokey Pokey is included!  How fun is that?!

We have had a lot of fun with this book and stretching our brains in a way we haven't done before.  She has asked if we can learn Chinese next and thankfully Carolyn does offer that as well!  The Lightning Fast books are available in Spanish, French, Italian, German, Chinese, and Japanese.

The only thing I would have loved to see in this book are some illustrations or photographs to allow for a little more individual learning for young children who are not yet reading on their own and just love the visual appeal of bright colors and pictures.  Of course, the pictures are not necessary because the information is all there in writing, but I think it would be a nice touch, especially for the younger children like mine (3 1/2 years old).  I can certainly create some colorful flash cards or something on my own to help practice but it would have been nice to have something like this included.  Although, given that the focus is on conversation versus traditional language studying, I can understand why it's not.

Regardless, I definitely recommend this language learning series to you!  And yes, I recommend that you purchase them (see, I'm not totally anti-book-purchasing!) because you'll want to keep them as a resource.

You can find the Lightning Fast books on amazon.  They are available both in kindle form and paperback!


Have you explored a second language with your children?

I received free product to facilitate this honest review.  
All opinions expressed are my own.


  1. This is such a great idea. Children can pick up an additional language easily so why not explore this with a book. Such an informative post. Pinned to pinterest as well.

  2. This is great, i think it's awesome to teach our children our maiden language...


  3. Would love to learn a language... tried unsuccessfully in school, maybe if I plan a trip to say Italy I will be inspired!

  4. Ah, takes me back to my high school trip to Italy. I can taste the food right now. =)

    I speak Korean, Spanish and English to my 1 yr old... not fluently, but expressively. Whatever feels right or accessible at the moment I use. I wish I were fluent so I could have taught my daughter to be fluent in Korean. There's still time. =) I used to have a love of learning languages, but then I gave up because no one else around me had the same interest and it's very hard to learn a language without practice. I will keep this series in mind. Thank you for exposing me to this resource!

  5. Awesome! I bookmarked this to look into for later. My son is 3.5, so it is nice to know that your child is as well and loves the books.

  6. Wow that seems like an awesome book. Thank you for sharing.


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