Little Linguists' Library® - make story-time more rewarding for BOTH of you.
UPDATE 10/04/18 - As we've made our funding target with over a week to go we've added a stretch target of an additional £250 (bringing the total to £1,750). If we reach this target we will use the extra money to produce an activity pack of exercises which complement the language learning in the picture books. Everyone who has already pledged or pledges before the campaign deadline to receive a copy of the paperback (or for a higher tier of reward) will receive the activity pack if we reach this extra target.
Do you remember learning a foreign language at school? Did it go something like this? You turn up, bright-eyed, enthusiastic and a little daunted, for your first day of secondary school. You go with trepidation to your very first modern languages lesson. "What is this strange subject they've saved for secondary school?" you ask yourself. "What are these odd words the teacher is spouting at the front of the class?", "Am I going to be any good at this?" After a few weeks of vocabulary lists and grammar tables, you are asked to say something in the foreign language. It doesn't go well. You lose heart, you decide you're not a natural linguist and then you stick your head down and wait for the day you can give the language up.
Now, do you remember learning English? Probably not and you certainly didn't learn it in the way described above. You learned it from your earliest childhood, long before self-consciousness began to get in the way. You learned it by hearing it, giving it a go yourself, playing with the language, making mistakes and having fun with it. And you almost certainly learned it through stories with your loved ones. This is the approach to language learning taken by Little Linguists' Library.
What is it?
Little Linguists' Library picture books allow you and your child to learn a language together as part of your normal story-time. The books teach the language in the same way you and your child learned your native language - through stories and by repetition of key vocabulary. Each book will be around 20 beautifully illustrated pages of fun and engaging story. This will be complemented by pronunciation guides, a glossary of translations and an audio file of native speakers reading the story. All of this will help you and your little linguist immerse yourselves in the story and the language learning experience effortlessly.
This means you need never have learned the foreign language yourself - you can just pick up a story and start learning a language together. Vocabulary is targeted at non-native speakers and is based on the UK's national curriculum. This means the books also provide a strong basis for children who will be learning a foreign language in primary school. The books are aimed at very young learners aged 3 to 6 as research has shown that this is the best time to start.
Why are you doing this?
As a languages tutor and children's writer (see here for my books written under my pen name 'Barford Fitzgerald'), I have been frustrated by the lack of resources to teach young children languages in a natural and engaging way. Having tried to use picture books written for native speakers of the language, I found they just didn't fit the purposes of a foreign language learner, as the vocabulary was often beyond their level. Dual-language picture books also didn't work for me as they do not immerse the reader fully in the foreign language - it's too tempting just to rely on the English translation. So, Little Linguists' Library is my answer to this problem.
I am passionate about the benefits of children learning a foreign language as this helps with the development of empathy and cultural awareness and boosts cognitive development. In today's political climate it has never been more important to teach children the value of other people and their cultures. Learning a language together is a great place to start.
How much have you already done?
The first three titles in the series are planned and the first title has been written in French and Spanish. I have started working with an illustrator and around 20% of the illustrations are now complete, with a further 30% currently being worked on. I am seeking support to pay for the remaining 50% of the illustrations, recording of an audio version of the French and Spanish language versions and to cover costs of formatting, printing and distribution of the books.
My Kickstarter budget of £1,500 will cover the following cost areas:
- Illustrations - I already have the funds for 75% of the illustrations and so am seeking the remaining 25% to complete the illustrations.
- Audiobook recording - A file of native speakers reading and voice-acting the story will be recorded for both the French and Spanish language version of the book. This will also be rendered so it can be provided as an MP3 download. This will provide parents with fun extra pronunciation support.
- Book Formatting - Two versions of the book will need to be formatted - a Spanish and a French one. This will entail the setting of each page professionally and converting the copy into the relevant file type so it is ready for the printers.
- Printing - The books will be printed by a professional print company experienced in printing full colour books of this type.
- Postage and packaging - The books will be sent via Royal Mail in the UK and from our EU, US and Australia-based printers for other destinations.
The Kickstarter is due to end in late-April 2018. If it is successful, then delivery of rewards is estimated for September 2018.
Risks and challenges
This is a relatively low-risk project as considerable work has already been done and I have experience of similar projects.
I am an author and have already self-published three other children's books under my pen name 'Barford Fitzgerald'. As a result, I am experienced in the process of self-publishing a book and aware of the challenges and potential sources of delay. My experience will minimise risk to the project.
The other key risks to timely completion are around the illustrations and then production of the finished article.
To minimise the risks around illustrations I have already selected my illustrator and have commissioned the first half of the illustrations. Completed illustrations can be seen all across this page. The illustrator is paid a set fee per illustration and so will not be out of pocket if I do not meet my Kickstarter target.
As for production, I will be working with the formatter I have used for my previous works and I will be using printers I have previously used. I also have contact details for alternative printers and formatters if required.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)