09
Jul

Do You Speak This Language? The Mantra Lingua L1 Key Terms & Letters Library

It’s here. We can smell it in the air and feel it tingling on our hands and arms and faces. The long summer holiday, that is…

You can also tell by the “Back to School” signs everywhere you look, of course; and while we’re hoping everyone has a fabulous and well-deserved break from routine over the summer, we’re also very aware that the start of term will bring huge amounts of change, as always.

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05
Jul

The Latest British Council report reveals struggle of language learners in the UK. Can bilingual books help?

This week the British Council released their 2019 report on the state of language learning in schools. Judging by the results, there’s never been more of a need for bilingual books.

What does the British Council report say?

Every year since 2002 the British Council have published annual overviews of the state of language teaching and learning in primary and secondary schools in the UK. Between January and March 2019, over 1,600 schools took part in the survey - 776 primary schools and 845 secondary schools. The UK government currently wants 90% of pupils to sit a GCSE in a foreign language by 2025.
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28
Jun

Once upon a time – why dual language folk tales are (still) relevant in our global village

Most of us will have a favourite folk tale - often more than one. Every country and every culture has its own way of telling, retelling, adapting and updating folk tales. Dual language folk tales can be a particularly magical way to gain insight into cultures other than our own, and to build authentic vocabulary in our own and other languages. 

What is ‘once upon a time’ in other languages?

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Gill Aitchison and Karolina Lewandowska, author and teacher/translator
27
Jun

Writers, Illustrators and Critics of the Future - Mungo Makes New Friends at Dundee Polish School

It’s always fabulous to hear about how the next generation is discovering the range of stories we make available as dual language books. This blog post has kindly been contributed by Gill Aitchison, author of the charming ‘Mungo Makes New Friends’ which is available in 20 dual language editions. Gill and Polish teacher/translator Karolina Lewandowska read the story in both English and Polish to eager listeners at Dundee Polish School. Thank you also to Gill for the lovely photographs; there’s a long, proud history of Dundee bringing stories to eager readers, and it’s great to see the good work continuing. Here is Gill’s account.

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20
Jun

Silence in the library? How wordless books are helping to heal Lampedusa

“Ssssh! Fingers on lips!”

While the traditional idea of a library is a silent, dusty temple full of books, modern libraries are so much more than that. And the “Silent Books” project, which was launched in August 2012 at the 33rd IBBY Conference in London, has brought a very different kind of silence to the library on Lampedusa.

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20
Jun

The benefits of bilingual books - six pertinent questions (and answers)

To be brought up bilingual is a rare gift, but like most gifts in life, it isn’t always plain sailing. And when it comes to reading, it’s double the trouble, and double the fun, but also, sometimes, double the work.
You may find that your bilingual child or pupil has a preference for one language over the other; you may find that they often mix the two. You may find that the learner speaks one language with one caregiver, and a different language with another.

Bilingual books offer a way to bridge that gulf, and to reassure readers that it’s all right to speak two (or more) languages; it’s all right to mingle them; and knowing more than one language is an enriching experience.

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18
Jun

You, me and those who came before - Refugee Week 2019

For most of us, if we look at our family history, there will have been refugees. Some of them may be so far back in history it isn't taught much in most schools - like the French Huguenots of the 17th century. Others are more recent; many families in England, the USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia are likely to have ancestors who fled the Irish Famine, or the Scottish Clearances, or World War Two. Many of us are likely to have family members or friends or colleagues who came to our country in more recent displacements, due to war in Syria, or economics in Europe, or the early stages of climate change.

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18
Jun

‘Brain breaks’ for new arrivals – art activities to help transitions to a new school

The first few weeks at a new school are crucial, for educators as well as for pupils. All those rules you thought you knew are suddenly overturned, and you have to learn new ones: new names, new faces, new ways of doing things. Every June, Refugee Week celebrates contributions in the arts made by those who have made it to a safe country. One of the ways in which routine can gradually be restored is when children are in a position to attend school in their new host country. 

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16
Jun

Dual Language Books - A Whistle Stop Tour

No matter what you encounter in life, there are six questions that are invaluable: what, when, where, who, how, and why.

And dual language books are no exception. Anyone who’s ever had to learn more than one language knows how much easier it is to remember new words, phrases and syntax when you can relate them to something you already know. So if you already know your own version of, say, Cinderella or The Very Hungry Caterpillar, it makes a lot of sense that a dual language edition can help you acquire new vocabulary in your new target language.

And while everyone has their own language learning style, and some people may prefer hearing a story to reading it, dual language books are an essential tool in our bilingual language learning virtual cabinet.
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12
Jun

June bugs and barbecues or raining cats and dogs? What's the June weather like where you are?

After a warm and sunny Easter, we had high hopes for a similar kind of summer - but so far it's been a bit of a washout, as they say. I know it's a cliché that we talk about the weather such a lot in Britain and many other countries, but to be fair, it's because we have such a lot of it. The fact that I have had to dig out wellies and waterproofs (and a sturdy umbrella or two) in the last few days really got me thinking about how we talk about the weather, in general. While we all know that climate change is now a reality, the daily weather remains a popular topic of conversation.
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