Elementary students looking at teacher, over shoulder view

One of the most effective ways to facilitate language learning is by providing Comprehensible Input (CI).  CI is an instructional approach in which teachers provide input that allows language learners to understand most, but not necessarily all of the language input. 

In this blog post, we will explore the importance of CI in language learning for young children.

1) CI Improves Comprehension and Retention

One of the significant benefits of CI is that it helps children comprehend and retain the language they are learning. Because the input is presented in a way that is meaningful and relevant to the child’s experiences, they are more likely to remember and use the language in real-life situations. CI helps children develop a deep understanding of the language by making the input comprehensible and meaningful.

"Providing learners with ample opportunities for comprehensible input is essential for effective language acquisition. This input should be engaging, relevant, and presented in a variety of contexts to support learners' understanding of the language they are learning."

2) CI Makes Language Learning Fun and Engaging

Young children learn best when they are actively engaged and interested in the subject matter. CI makes language learning an enjoyable and exciting experience for young learners. By using CI, teachers can introduce new vocabulary and grammar structures in a way that is meaningful and relevant to children. The input is contextualized and presented in a way that is interesting, so children are more likely to engage with the content.

"Comprehensible input is the most important factor in second language acquisition"

3) CI Helps Develop Listening and Speaking Skills

CI is particularly effective for developing listening and speaking skills in young children. Young children learn to speak by hearing and mimicking the sounds and patterns of the language they are exposed to. CI provides children with a rich language input that they can hear and practice in a fun and engaging way. As children listen to and repeat the language input they receive, they develop their listening and speaking skills naturally.

Prioritizing Comprehensible Input Over Output Activities in Language Learning

Before learners are able to produce language themselves, they must first receive ample opportunities to understand the language they are learning. Providing output activities too early in the learning process can be overwhelming and frustrating for learners who have not yet received enough input to develop their linguistic knowledge. However, some language programs prioritize output activities over input, asking learners to produce language before they have had a chance to understand the language they are expected to use. This approach can lead to learners memorizing and producing language without fully understanding it, which can impede their overall language development. Therefore, it is important to prioritize comprehensible input before output activities to support effective language acquisition.

"Without a foundation of comprehensible input, output activities may be frustrating and ineffective for language learners. Prioritizing input activities can help learners to develop a strong foundation of linguistic knowledge, which will support their ability to produce language accurately and fluently."

How does Little Sponges facilitate comprehensible input?

Little Sponges program puts Comprehensible Input at the core of every language course. We believe that language learning should be engaging, comprehensible and accessible for young children. That’s why we use CI to help children develop their language skills naturally and intuitively.

  • Little Sponges provides a multi-sensory learning experience, which helps children make connections between words, images, and sounds.
  • The program uses storytelling and interactive games to engage learners and make language learning fun and meaningful.
  • Little Sponges incorporates vocabulary and content in context, allowing children to learn language in a way that is relevant and meaningful to them.
  • The program includes a range of learning materials, including video stories, games, and printable resources, to cater to different learning styles and preferences.
  • Little Sponges provides scaffolds in every learning experience, gradually increasing the complexity and difficulty of the language input as learners progress through the program.
  • The program uses natural language and emphasizes the use of high-frequency words and phrases to ensure that learners are exposed to the language they are most likely to encounter in real-world contexts.
  • Little Sponges provides ample opportunities for listening and comprehension, allowing learners to develop their ability to understand the language they are learning before they are asked to produce it themselves.
  • Little Sponges program provides opportunities for bridging and cross-linguistic transfer which helps emergent bilinguals learn faster and feel empowered in their journey to biliteracy!

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