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Best Websites for Mastering a Language

websitesAs parents, it used to be hard to support young language learning kids as they work to expand their communication skills.

Often time parents are not confident in their own knowledge of the language students are pursuing at school. Other times, parents have had no exposure to it at all and are unable to support their children at home.

The good news is that, at most innovative schools, objectives in the language acquisition field have morphed and changed in recent years. Although we continue to hone in on refining reading, listening, speaking and writing skills, our ultimate goal is to foster communication first. Accuracy will follow as your student becomes developmentally ready.

So, in order to support your child’s language acquisition endeavors, I offer you three free online sites that will help students review, practice, and refine their language skills.

  1. Duolingo – https://www.duolingo.com/ – This site offers vocabulary building and grammatical review activities based on your student’s proficiency level. Users can build a free profile and either choose a Basic level or take a short placement test. Results are used to generate leveled activities for your child.
  2. Babbel – https://www.babbel.com/ – Similar to Duolingo, Babbel offers language acquisition activities that can enhance your child’s learning. You can create a free profile, and like with Duolingo, you will be encouraged to complete a preliminary placement test so the program can generate an appropriate program for you. You can also choose to download the Babbel app, which you can access from any of your mobile devices!
  3. Conjuguemos – https://conjuguemos.com/ – Conjuguemos.com is a great resource for vocabulary building, verb conjugation and grammar review. It offers activities in Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Latin. Highlights include flashcards, crosswords, and worksheets for all levels of language learners.

True language acquisition is a life-long learning endeavor. Nothing can replace face-to-face communication and instruction. Ultimately, knowing how, when, and why to say what to whom is something you can only truly acquire with interactive, real-life, authentic engagement with speakers of other languages. Nonetheless, in the era of technological advancement, these are some resources you have at our fingertips to help your student and/or brush-up your own language skills.

Remember language acquisition is attainable for all. Have fun discovering what the web has to offer your budding linguist!

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Dr. Mónica Ruiz-Meléndez is Chair of the World Languages Department at Westtown School. Her responsibilities include teaching upper level Spanish classes, supervision of language acquisition and cultural immersion programs, oversight of The Global Leadership Certificate Program, and curricular innovation and review. Originally from Puerto Rico, she has lived and worked at Westtown since 2005. She received her Ph.D. and a Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies from The University of Georgia, and her greatest joy as a teacher is seeing her students discover new worlds of understanding through language acquisition. She is the mother of three bilingual and bicultural daughters.