And be sure to come and take a look at our website too!
Hello! We’re Alex and Jonny, the co-founders of One Third Stories. We're on a mission to inspire more children to love and learn foreign languages. But we can't do that without your help.
We want to make learning a language as simple as reading a story. That means creating a beautiful hardback book that starts in English and ends in a different language by gradually introducing foreign words in easy-to-understand contexts.
You can make that dream a reality by pledging your support. There's a whole load of rewards you can get in return, from a copy of the finished book to voting on your favourite story ideas and helping to shape what we're creating. Even just taking a moment to tell your friends about the campaign would be amazing!
It's no secret that languages are pretty amazing. They can improve our minds, give us better career prospects, and help us see the world. Imagine getting all those benefits in childhood!
But lots of kids just aren’t getting a good start when it comes to learning languages. Remember the verb tables, the textbooks stuffed full of grammar and the ‘label everything in your pencil case’ activities? They're still out there and they're still making kids dread their French lessons.
The trouble is that lots of our fantastic teachers are expected to teach foreign languages when they haven’t been trained to do so. Some parents try and help out at home but that can be tricky because they don't speak another language themselves.
The result of all this is that 58% of adults in the UK regret not learning another language when they were younger. That number is only set to get bigger as a whole generation miss out on the gift of another language.
We want to change all of this by combining language education with entertainment. That's why we're making a beautiful hardback book for kids, illustrated by the incredibly talented Hannah Hutchings.
It's designed to help parents and teachers who don't speak another language themselves support their children. It also makes learning a language so enjoyable that the kids will be excited to learn more!
Initially, we were only planning to make three versions of the book; one to teach French, one for Spanish, and one for Italian. Thanks to the support of the Goethe-Instiut, the organisation responsible for promoting the German culture and language worldwide, we're delighted to announce that we're going to be making a German version too! If you're interested in purchasing this version, just pledge at the reward tier you fancy and we'll send you a survey at the end of the campaign asking which language version you'd like.
We're also creating an accompanying app - a digital version of the story with narration from a native speaker of each language.
The story itself is all about a little girl who goes outside in a storm to rescue a cat and has all of her words blown away. On her adventure to get them all back, she learns all sorts of new words in a different language.
We know children are going to love this story because over 1500 of them have helped to write it! We took their brilliant ideas and turned them into characters in the book.
Throughout the story, we use The Clockwork Methodology®, which we created to make learning a language as easy and enjoyable as possible for kids. Here's how it works...
The Clockwork Methodology® works because it helps children learn a new language in the same way that they expand their vocabulary in their native tongue.
Mixing languages like this might seem strange, but it's not uncommon amongst bilingual people. It's called code switching and studies have shown that exposing children to it can actually have cognitive benefits as they develop strategies to process all that input.
We’re Alex and Jonny, the co-founders of One Third Stories. We’ve been friends for over 8 years now, and a big chunk of that time has been spent trying to revolutionise the way children learn languages.
That journey started when we were still at school. We set up a Young Enterprise company with some other friends and made a book about a penguin and a little girl who travelled the world learning languages. Parents and kids loved it but we stopped to focus on our A-levels.
Fast-forward a few years, and Alex was busy learning his fourth language, whilst Jonny was studying how children acquire languages at university. It suddenly occurred to us that we had the skills to reinvent our project with The Clockwork Methodology® and make a brand new story!
Why is this project so important to us? Because languages are absolutely amazing and all children deserve the chance to learn them! Alex found this out first hand growing up bilingual in Paraguay. Languages have given him the chance to see the world, make friends all over the place, and resulted in some really exciting career opportunities.
For Jonny, it was a bit different. Neither of his parents could speak another language and he hated the lessons at school. It was only when he grew up and got the chance to travel that he felt he’d missed out on all the benefits of languages and started learning French again.
We’re on Kickstarter because we want to make sure that children get a great start in language learning so that they don’t end up regretting missed opportunities like Jonny does. We want them to grow up learning about other cultures and making international friends and discovering all the other benefits that a second (or third or fourth or even fifth!) language can bring.
Here are a few of the things we're offering as rewards to people who pledge their support in this Kickstarter campaign. Don't forget to keep an eye out for EARLY BIRD OFFERS to get a great discount on the book!
Here's an example of the sort of thing you can expect from one of our puppet shows...
...and a sneak peak at some of the postcards on offer...
"Mini me loves this book and he didn’t even notice that I was saying some words in Spanish. It’s definitely a fun and easy way to introduce a new language."
Lyndsey Edwards - parent, blogger & home educator
"This is such a fab idea, and feels like a very natural way of learning new vocabulary...It's so much better than endlessly reciting the same thing over and over again, the way so many forays into language learning begin."
Jessica Powell - parent & blogger
"We all know how much our children love stories. By combining stories and languages, they will inspire more children to love languages too."
Nathalie Paris - Languages teacher at St Mary's RCVA in Durham
"As the story went on and more Spanish words crept in he did question it but was still able to follow what was happening in the story. He’s been repeating his new Spanish words ever since!"
Emma Easton - parent & blogger
“Their stories are amazing! The kids and myself have enjoyed trying them out in lessons, and I think parents and kids will love them as bedtime stories.”
Benjamin Currier- Languages teacher at Mayfield School in Portsmouth
And then, of course, there's our favourite bit of feedback so far...
Here's a quick look at how we'll be spending the money and our timeline for completing the project.
Risks and challenges
We’ve been working towards this project for over a year and have done everything possible to minimise the risks involved.
- We’ve found a printer who will produce the books to a high standard and make sure they get delivered all over the world promptly.
- We’ve given ourselves plenty of time to send out the books and fulfil the other rewards by Christmas.
- We’re working with Hannah Hutchings, a ridiculously talented illustrator with heaps of experience, so we know the book is going to look amazing.
- We’re getting advice from senior people in the publishing industry to make sure we can tackle any issues before they even arise.
- We’re using a special piece of software for the app design which allows us to produce it much faster than a normal app.
Thank you so much for your support!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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