One Third Stories is a company that produce a monthly subscription box aimed at 4-9 year old children, so that they can learn a language through naratives. I loved this idea, and was keen to see how it would work.
Not continuing with a language after I finished my GCSEs has always been one of my regrets, and I have always been envious of those that can speak a second language fluently. I can get by with a few words in French and Spanish, but I’m not confident to speak either.
As a result I have been keen to teach my children a second language from a young age. Children are like sponges, and can absorb so much information if it is presented to them in the right way. I know families whose children are bilingual, purely because they have been exposed to two different languages for as long as they could talk.
We have bought language books in the past for our kids, but they haven’t really engaged with them. Other than picking up a word or two (‘Oui’ was particularly popular mainly due to the toilet connotation), the books haven’t ignited their interest, and they remain gathering dust on the bookshelf.
This is why I was keen to see what One Third Stories was all about. I read about how they use Clockwork Methodology™ to introduce the foreign language to the child. Basically this process introduces a few words at a time that are easily recognisable within the context of the story. As the story progresses there is much repetition of these words, and various adjectives added. Over the course of the story more words are added seamlessly, and by the time the child reaches the end they are reading, understanding and saying several words in a second language.
We decided to trial the Spanish box. We received our box that was based on a story called ‘How the Dinosaur got his Shoes’. The box contained not only the beautifully illustrated book, but also flash cards, an activity book and cut outs to make dinosaur models.
It is advised that first you should listen to the audiobook. This can help with pronunciation of the words that appear in the story, but also is beneficial for those children that are not confident in reading.
Isla has just turned 6, and is really interested in reading, so we went straight for the book. Oliver is only just learning to read, but he enjoyed listen to the story (it had Dinosaurs in so was a winner with him), and he also enjoyed finding the flash cards for Isla when the words came up.
The story is long enough so you’re able to break it up into manageable chunks, doing a little each day or each week. First we read the story together, and then Isla also read it to her brother. After our first session she was already confidently counting to 10 in Spanish.
The flash cards were really good. We were finding the words on the flash cards as they came up in the story. Afterward each little mini session both kids would test each other with them and turn it into a game. There was also an activity book which encourages the children to read and write simple words. Isla really enjoyed doing the activities in the book, and became more confident with the words for the different colours.
As the exposure to the language has been gradual over the month, and more importantly fun for the kids, they seem to have retained a lot of the information. Isla in particular, and she told me the other day that she was teaching her friends and introducing herself in Spanish ‘Me llamo Isla’.
The stories are also lovely to keep, and when Oliver is a little older and reading more confidently I will get them out again.
I really loved the box, the book was easy to read, beautifully illustrated with an engaging story. The accompanying flash cards and activity book complemented it nicely, with more of a focus on the language. The Clockwork Methodology™ really seemed to work. The process of effectively drip feeding the language to them really made it stick rather than just learning it parrot fashion. Not only that but my children enjoyed the story and activities which meant they were having fun and didn’t realise they were learning at all.
I would highly recommend One Third Stories and seeing how well Isla in particular took to the book and embraced the learning of the language, I am planning to subscribe to the Spanish one for the year to see how she gets on.
Disclaimer: We were gifted our One Third Stories box in return for this review, but all words and opinions are my own.