Here is a list of 8 free online language learning resources that will help you and your family really enjoy learning a new language together. Each website contains options for audiobooks, streaming books, downloads for on the go reading, bath time, airplane rides, etc. There are no worksheets or dry, repetitive vocabulary drills. Experts claim that learning a language while you hear the reading of it in context in the form of books will accelerate your language mastery.
I also included a bonus language resource you might not be using but is already in your home!
This website gives you access to some of the best children’s literature from all over the world. Moreover, it also gives library news and notes so that you can read about special events near you.
Here you will find online books and translations indexed by languages and reading levels. This website is run by volunteers who are passionate and committed to giving the gift of literacy to young children all over the world.
This website has 250 free e-books for you to share with your child, as well as simple ideas, top tips, activities and games to help your child with their reading at home.
This website allows you to write your own book to match the illustrations; a fantastic tool for vocabulary development in your mother tongue or using your new language vocabulary, which is why it is used in the US Peace Corps curriculum worldwide.
An incredible resource for jump starting your child’s language acquisition in English, French, Spanish, and Chinese by offering books that instill confidence in young readers with books about first experiences such as a first plane ride or first haircut.
Free Language Learning Resources for Military Families
A free and amazing resource for hundreds of lessons in your language of choice; for you very fortunate military (retired, active duty, dependents), click HERE.
You need to sign up at your closest Base library, and when you log in, they give you a code for the google/android/apple app. After your initial sign up, you can access Transparent Languages on all your mobile devices.
Free Language Learning Resources Already in Your Home
On most of your DVD/Blue Ray discs, you have the option for turning on common languages instead of English. Every disc we have, there is a French option for FREE. I started with a movie that my daughter has seen a million times (Frozen!!). I switched the language to French. Now she basically has it memorized and it no longer frustrates her.
You could even do this for children just beginning to read in English to increase their familiarity with the English language in written form.I highly recommend subtitles or close captioning ANYTIME you turn on a screen. The same concept works for Netflix as well.
This philosophy is popular in Finland, and they consistently score the highest in the world in reading around the world. Visit your local library to add to your DVD/Blu-Ray library (and pick up a few books for the family while you are there!)
Bonus Tip: It Takes a Village to Raise a Reader
The general rule of thumb is that your child needs 25 hours of meaningful language practice per week, so we’ve got to use the resources around us. Find a playgroup in your desired language, and pay attention to people in your everyday local surroundings. Our Walmart checker was from Ghana and was able to have a whole conversation with my daughter in French while I was buying house supplies. We asked him for his work schedule and will definitely try to make our Walmart run when he is working.
There are so many hidden ways to incorporate language learning into your lifestyle. You can sign up online through the US State Department to be a host family for international visitors. There are frequent foreign nationals or families that come to various cities around the United States and are in need of a home cooked meal. It’s a win-win for both parties; they need to see something other than the inside of a conference or hotel room and your family needs conversation lessons. If you can accommodate a long-term house guest, you can go the extra mile and host a teacher or student in your home for an extended period.
Click HERE for volunteer hosting opportunities.
Whether you’re learning a new language for fun or out of necessity, these resources will help your whole family enjoy the process together. If you have any recommendations to add to the list, be sure to let us know!
Teaching Kids to Read Ages 0-5
Unlock your child's reading ability from the day you bring them home from the hospital!
The reading magic starts with you! Guarantee your child an advantage in school by surrounding them with a rich learning environment at home.
Subscribe here for your FREE eBook The Importance of Reading Aloud: A Parent's Guide.