Some time ago, I listened to a podcast on the Radical Personal Finance podcast.
The title of the episode is: How I Taught My Children French in 1 Year By Reading.
Naturally, I was intrigued.
To hit the goal, the podcaster, Mr. Sheets used “comprehensible input”.
I know that phrase. I’m a teacher. Comprehensible Input is a teacher phrase.
Teachers like to make up important sounding phrases. Makes us feel more important, I suppose.
So, what is Comprehensible Input?
Simple. Comprehensible Input is simply a fancy teacher term for reading.
Yep. That’s right.
If you want to teach your kids a new language, reading is the way to go.
In particular, reading stories is the way to go.
Mr. Sheets ordered some of the Magic Treehouse books in Spanish, and in French and handed the books to his kids.
This is a really good idea.
We learn through stories. We certainly learn more via stories than we do via textbooks.
There’s a reason Jesus used stories to teach theology.
Imagine what would have happened if Jesus sat the 5,000 down on a hill and had started reading to them from the Westminster Confession.
He wouldn’t have needed to feed 5,000 that day.
I am not making a statement about the Westminster Confession, by the way. It’s an important document. But, it’s not a story. It would not have kept 5,000 hungry people around.
Mr. Sheets has it right. If you are trying to learn another language, you should read stories.
Learn the grammar. That’s fine. I am not saying you shouldn’t learn the grammar.
But, as soon as possible, start reading stories.
This is why I prefer to teach Latin with Lingua Latina. Lingua Latina is a story-book. It has characters. Masters, runaway slaves, bad students and an exasperated school teacher, Roman soldiers, and pirates.
95% of the Latin books out there are simply grammar books in disguise. They are the Westminster Confession. They are not bad. But, if you are trying to learn Latin, the are not that good. The problem is, they just aren’t interesting.
If you want the language to stick, You need stories.