Homeschool families who decide to teach a second or third language should be commended: it is not easy to teach a new language, especially if you do not speak it fluently yourself. There are many books and audio files that can assist a parent/teacher but apps provide a more interactive and immersive experience for children. As any language teacher can attest, being immersed in writing, speaking, and reading a language is the best way to learn. Allowing children to learn at their own pace and play fun games will keep them interested; below are 3 of the top apps for teaching beginning Italian.
- Gus on the Go: Italian for Kids provides young kids exposure to Italian in a fun and stress-free way. Kids travel with Gus the owl as he travels around the globe exploring cultures and vocabulary along the way. The interactive lessons include number, color, shape, animal and other common words followed up with games to reinforce those vocabulary words. The audio component allows children to hear native Italian speakers so they learn to speak the words properly. The app focuses on approximately 90 Italian words so children are not overwhelmed and can memorize the included words; this is a great app for beginning Italian learners.
- Learn Italian was designed in collaboration with a linguist to provide the best educational environment possible. This app focuses on commonly used Italian words and phrases rather than obscure sentences; students can choose from more than 20 topics including Travel, Money and Shopping, Colors and Numbers, and Family and Friends. Visual learners will benefit from Flash cards and memory games while auditory learners gain knowledge from the native speakers embedded in both activities. Each learning session is followed by a quiz to help students retain information and reinforce memory in a fun and interactive format. Highly motivated students can challenge themselves to memorize the list of 1000 Most Frequently Used Words provided in the app. This app is the next step to becoming a fluent Italian speaker.
- Learn Italian by MindSnacks was named “one of the best educational apps of the year” by Apple (iTunes Rewind) and can help your child learn to both speak and read Italian with 9 fun and addictive games. The games focus on conversational skills along with vocabulary, making it a perfect app to build on the words memorized in the Learn Italian app. Lessons are designed to teach word gender, plural versus singular, and verb conjugation. With 50 lessons equaling more than 40 hours of content, beginning and intermediate students will find plenty of challenges and learning opportunities.
Learning to speak Italian can be an entertaining and easy process, especially for children who pick up new languages more naturally than adults. An immersive environment is the ideal way to learn a new language but in the absence of that environment, apps provide a simply and effective tool for children to learn vocabulary and culture and then practice their new Italian reading, writing, and speaking skills.
Mimi Rothschild is a veteran homeschooling mother of 8, writer of a series of books called Cyberspace for Kids, and passionate advocate for children and education that is truly worthy of them. In 2001, Mimi and her late husband founded Learning By Grace, a leading provider of online Christian homeschooling Academies.