What is Immersion?
"Language immersion" means children learn a second language by hearing and speaking only that language without translation. No English is spoken. Immersion is how we all learned our native language and it’s the most effective method for teaching children a second language. Whistlefritz's award-winning French and Spanish DVDs and CDs teach children languages using this immersion method.
Lost in translation
Switching back and forth between English and a new language slows a child's natural ability to learn the new language. Translation adds an extra – and unnecessary – step to the process. Through immersion, children learn words by seeing images and hearing the words at the same time, e.g. they see a dog and hear "el perro." They associate the words directly with the images. They see a dog and think "perro." Here's the crucial part: they skip the step of translating: "That's a dog. The word for 'dog' in Spanish is 'perro.' That is a 'perro.'"
Immersion is the key to fluency.
If you immerse children in a second language, they will learn more than just a word here or there – they will learn the "feel", sound, and structure of the language. Try it yourself by listening to a Spanish-language radio station. Even if you don't speak Spanish, you'll start to get a feel for the "sound" of Spanish – the cadence, accents, typical word endings. When my son was learning Spanish, he would put "el" and "la" before English words, then end them with "a" or "o." "El monkey-o, la lamp-a, mi blanket-o." He was learning how the language worked and sounded even before he knew many words. Over time, children put more pieces of the language puzzle together. This is how children all over the world learn their first language and it's the best way to learn any other language!
Can children learn a new language from DVDs without translation?
Sí! Oui! Absolutely! Whistlefrittz Spanish or French DVDs make learning a new language "exhilarating and alive" (Parents' Choice Foundation). Watch the video “What’s Immersion?” to learn more.
Why start so young?
Early childhood is the best time to learn Spanish, French, or any other language. According to the National Network for Early Language Learning (NNELL), studies show that babies can hear all the sounds in the world. However, from birth on, brain paths start to develop only for the language or languages that they hear on a regular basis. All others are trimmed out. The ability to detect sounds that have not yet been "registered" in the brain diminishes with age, and after puberty this ability is extremely difficult to develop (NNELL, 2007)