Have you ever thought about teaching a second language to your child during storytime? There are many bilingual books out there you can use for this purpose. You just have to read the same story twice and prays your kid will understand and get the new words quickly. So far, nothing new, right?
How about if, for every new reading time, parts of the sentence gradually popped out in a second language? And not just that: how about choosing the percentage of each language you want to read to your kids? That sounds – and is! – more fun and effective in the learning process, as some studies show. That’s the whole concept behind this new technology we are developing with your help: BLoSSoM.
“BLoSSoM is an interactive e-book reader that helps parents and teachers turn story time into a fun activity for learning a new language … on the pages of storybooks they love”, explains Bill Tan, the man behind the whole concept of this fantastic new tool.
How does BLoSSoM work?
BLoSSoM is a research-validated technology that blends new words and phrases into the storytime readings. The process is called Code-Switching. Books like Alice In Wonderland pop up on the e-reader screen. Grownups choose the level of language blending. Today it might be 95% English and 5% Mandarin. Repeat the story often, as children love to do while adjusting the blend. Eventually, a child is reading 50% English and 50% Mandarin.
How was BLoSSom created then?
BLoSSoM grew out of a father’s desire to read bilingual bedtime stories to his daughter in a fun and authentic way. Our founder, Bill Tan, couldn’t find any good bilingual book options out there and discovered that it was a common frustration for many families. Parents who want to help their kids learn another language either have to translate on the fly while they’re reading or, if the book has side-by-side translations, read the same story twice in both languages. Neither is an effective nor enjoyable option. As a strong advocate for linguistically diverse communities, Bill has worked on several children’s bilingual education projects with the likes of Sesame Workshop and built a successful language e-learning platform for healthcare professionals. So he set out to develop a better way for parents to bond with their children over bedtime stories and embark on the imaginative journeys they inspire.