1. What is FabuLingua? +
FabuLingua is a second language learning platform for early childhood based on interactive storytelling. Through the use of technology, engaging animation and a unique and effective teaching method, we turn children’s stories into interactive language-learning assets.
2. How do you use it? +
- Download the free app from the App Store or Play Store. Not available yet! But in the meantime you can get free access to our beta version HERE.
- Open the app and select your first free story by clicking on the character.
- Choose one of different modes to interact with the story (initially only one mode will be unlocked, but as you finish each mode it will unlock the next.)
- As new modes unlock, explore more story-related games and activities.
- Sign-up to our monthly subscription and get unlimited access to all stories.
- Enjoy new stories and features each month.
3. What is the recommended age for FabuLingua? +
FabuLingua was created for children 2 to 10.
But it’s never too early to expose your kids to fabulous bilingual stories and train their ears to a new language. And our research has shown that older kids who are interested in learning a new language find these illustrated children’s stories to be a low stress, unintimidating, pleasant way to learn Spanish.
4. What is the Comprehensible Input Hypothesis? +
Our Magical Translations™ method aligns with the model of comprehensible input by Dr Steven Krashen, the pre-eminent academic in second language acquisition. His research shows that new languages are most efficiently acquired not by memorizing grammar rules or vocabulary lists, but when the learner is exposed to ‘maximum comprehensible input’.
5. What is ‘comprehensible input’ and how is it related to FabuLingua? +
It is new-language input into the brain which is ‘comprehensible’, which means that you more or less understand it, even if you don’t understand it perfectly.
When interacting with FabuLingua, your child will see only the Spanish text, but hear the narrator’s rhythmic alternation between Spanish and its English translation. This Magical Translation™, is what makes the new-language input (or the story) ‘comprehensible’. Basically, it will enable your child to understand and follow the story in a relaxed and engaged way, which is the ideal state for language acquisition.
The more stories your child is exposed to in this way, and the more often he’s exposed to them, the more ‘comprehensible input’ he’s exposed to. When you have your child regularly use FabuLingua you are creating a program of ongoing ‘maximum comprehensible input’ for him. And this creates the perfect conditions for acquiring a new language.
6. It seems most of the modes are locked, how does my child unlock them? +
The modes are all the different ways of interacting with the stories (listen and touch, listen in Spanish, games, imitate and record, and record the full story, etc). They get progressively more challenging, and take your child through a specifically designed learning path of understanding, reinforcement, pronunciation practice and reading.
Only the “Escuchar y tocar (listen and touch)” mode is available when you open a story for the first time. Once your child has played the whole way through a story this way, it will unlock the second mode for that story. Play through that mode and you will unlock the next one, and so on.
Tip: If your child is not up for the more difficult modes yet, you could try to model to her how you are brave enough to try them! If this does not work, don’t worry! Your child can always repeat the easier modes many times over and get ample ‘comprehensible input’ to aid their language learning.
Because she will get a new assortment of stickers every time she reads a story through, you’ll find she’s very willing to go back and read the same story again so she can expand her sticker collection and make her own illustrations!
7. I don’t speak Spanish. What happens in each mode? +
Escuchar y Tocar (Listen and Touch)
In this mode your child listens to the story and its Magical Translation™. After the narrator is done speaking the page will become alive with interactions. Encourage him to explore and discover by touching around.
Some of the interactions will allow him to hear the Spanish word for an object or the sounds an animal makes, others will invite him to count objects, and on a few pages there are mini-games to be discovered.
Escuchar en Espanol (Listen in Spanish)
In this mode your child can listen to the story narrated only in Spanish. Given that this mode will only be available once he’s played the story in the previous mode once, he should have a general understanding of what the story is about. If you think he doesn’t understand it at all, encourage him to do the first mode with the Magical Translation a few times before moving onto the second mode of Spanish only.
He can also touch any of the words to hear them sounded out in syllables and translated to English!
All the same interactions from the previous mode become available after each page’s narration. Have your child explore some more, they often discover new interactions on this second read through.
This mode features a collection of games associated to each story that reinforce the learned vocabulary.
The current game (“jugar a emparejar”) is a matching game. Drag the character/object to the correct destination bubble in Spanish. If you can’t remember the English word for a character/object, touch it to hear the word.
If your child is a pre-reader and cannot read the Spanish in the destination bubbles, he can touch those bubbles to hear them read out loud in Spanish.
Each time you play you’ll have a new random selection of words to play in the matching game, so play often!
Imitar y grabar (Imitate & Record)
This is the mode where you and your child get to practice and improve your pronunciation (and giggle at the sound of your own voices!)
Listen to the narrator read a phrase. When she’s finished, a red ‘record’ button will pop up. Press it and have your child repeat the phrase, then press the ‘stop’ button. The narrator will go on to read the next phrase, help him record his imitation once more.
When you get to the end of the page, you will automatically hear the narrator’s playback followed by your child’s version. If you’re satisfied, press on the check mark. If not, choose whether you want to hear it again (triangle) or re-do it (circular arrow).
Note: This is a practice mode, no recordings will be stored in this modality.
Grabar el cuento (Record the story)
This is FabuLingua’s most challenging and rewarding mode, where your child becomes the narrator of the story. In this case, the phrase he is meant to read out loud will be highlighted. Press the record button, allow him to read the corresponding segment, and press stop.
The recording of your child’s voice will play back at the end of the page. You can choose to play it back again (triangle), re-record it (circular arrow) or save it (check mark). The approved recording for each page will be stored locally on your device.
At the end of the story your child will be rewarded with the full story on a single page of text with the sound of his voice reading that text out loud in Spanish! This file can be shared with friends, grandparents or teachers (with your consent).
8. My child is a pre-reader, the last mode seems like something she won’t be able to do. +
For some of the youngest pre-readers, it will be too advanced. In those cases you can model to your child how you do it, so that over time she’ll feel like it’s something she’s seen modeled a lot and can aspire to trying. She may also get a real kick out of hearing you read in Spanish! Over time you can even do it together. It can be a real bonding experience for you two to ‘share’ this last most challenging mode.
For many older pre-readers, however, this mode may be more relevant than you’d think. Many parents have observed the phenomenon (in their native language) that if they read a particular book to their child over and over again, the child will eventually start to mouth the words under their breath as the story is read them. They have memorized the words on each page!
We can make use of this phenomenon in our last mode. If your child has done the previous modes over and over again (more than a couple times per mode), there is a good chance that by the time they get to this last mode, they have memorized the pages and phrases in the story and can have a go at ‘reading’ the story. It doesn’t mean they can read any other stories in Spanish, but they will be able to ‘read’ this one. Watch them beam with pride over their accomplishment!
9. How can my child earn stickers? +
Each time your child reads the story through completely she will earn a pack of 3 stickers, touch it to open it up! Then touch each of the stickers and watch them go into your Magic Sticker Book.
The two first modes award colored sticker packs. The last two modes award silver and gold sticker packs, respectively, and contain 4 stickers instead of 3. This should motivate many children to stretch themselves and try the more challenging modes in order to win the more “special” stickers.
If your child doesn’t want to do the more challenging modes, that’s fine! Remember that learning a language is a long journey. To be successful at it you have to carry on showing up, and that will only happen if she enjoys it. She can still collect plenty of stickers in the easier modes :)
The stickers should keep her excited to go back and hear the same story again days later and get more ‘comprehensible input’ with each pass at the story.
10. What do you do with the stickers? +
Put them in your Magic Sticker Book! This is where your child gets to be totally creative and respond only to his imagination. Basically, it’s our sandbox area for free play.
Inside his personal sticker book he’ll find a roll with all of his collected stickers. The numbers indicate how many versions of any given sticker he has. His book will start growing in size over time, with new pages being added.
Here’s how to play and interact with it:
- Drag the stickers you want off the sticker roll and onto the page (for many of them, you’ll hear the Spanish word!)
- If you want to remove any sticker from the page and put it back onto the sticker roll, just touch it and drag it from the page to the sticker roll.
- Use standard screen expanding and pinching gestures to enlarge them and make them smaller, double tap with two fingers to flip them, drag them to change their position.
- Expand the menu above the sticker roll and find:
- Layers: determine which sticker is in front of or behind which other sticker.
- Background colors: change the color of the page.
- Recycle: move all your stickers from the page back onto the sticker roll so you can make a fresh start!
- Watch your child’s creations unfold! (and maybe take a screenshot of their “sticker art” and share it on social media with the hashtag #FabuLinguaStickerArt).
11. I’ve just created my child’s profile but we cannot find the Magic Sticker Book. +
- When you first open up a new profile for a child, they won’t have played before and therefore will not have collected any stickers yet.
- We did not want to show an empty sticker book to the kids, as it’s not much fun!
- So we decided to only have the Magic Sticker Book reveal itself once you’ve collected your first package of stickers (which happens once the child has read through her first story the whole way through till the end.)
Your child’s Magic Sticker Book will only reveal itself after she collects her first stickers (an empty sticker book is no fun!) This will only happen after your child has read her first story the whole way through till the end.
12. Does my child need to know how to read to play with FabuLingua? +
Not at all! In the default modality, the narrator will read the story alternating languages rhythmically. So your child can relax, enjoy the illustrations and animations and follow along without needing to read the text. He can even practice his pronunciation in the more advanced modes, without being able to read!
13. How is FabuLingua different from other second-language digital products? +
For starters, it’s an affordable and high-quality solution that kids will love; but, at the same time, the experience is created around a thorough methodology that supports consistent language acquisition.
Surprisingly, this is a combination of traits we didn’t find in existing products.
More importantly, instead of using more traditional grammar-first methods, Magical Translations™ focuses on gently and consistently exposing kids to natural storytelling content in a way that renders it ‘comprehensible’; resulting in a more organic wiring of the brain to the new language in what feels like an effortless (and fun!) way.
14. How do I download FabuLingua? +
We haven't officially launched yet. But you can gain access to our beta version for FREE and become a beta tester by clicking HERE.
15. What is the price? +
FabuLingua works through a subscription based model. Right now we are still in beta test mode, so it’s FREE!
We will be adding new material every month, either a new story, a new game, or other enhancements to the overall experience.
From the official launch date through the rest of 2019, we’ll have a reduced monthly price of $3.99 as a special launch promotion. As of Jan 1, 2020, our monthly fee will go up to $5.99, and by the Spring of 2020, when we’ll have a more complete library of content, we’ll be charging the full price of $8.99/month.
16. How much time should my child spend playing? +
We recommend limiting the amount of daily “screen time” to whatever you deem reasonable.
Given that FabuLingua can be an after-school educational experience, a bedtime activity, car / travel entertainment, a game and a bonding ritual; we believe that the more of your set “screen time” you allocate to FabuLingua, the better! The more exposure, the faster the brain will rewire and get used to the target language.
17. What is the ‘bedtime’ toggle in the Settings area? +
When you turn ‘bedtime’ on you are switching off all the stories' interactions so it reads more like a traditional digital story book. We made this for parents who want to use FabuLingua as part of their bedtime routine, but are concerned that the interactions may be too stimulating for that sensitive period when they’re trying to calm their child down.
Tip: use “bedtime” as your default mode if you feel your child gets overstimulated by interactions.
18. What are the benefits of learning a language at an early age?+
- It benefits early brain development; especially executive functioning such as problem solving, the ability to focus, and switching between tasks efficiently.
- Studies by Harvard University suggest that learning languages at an early age has increased advantages over doing it later in life; like enhancing creativity and critical thinking skills.
- It provides academic and professional advantages, cultural awareness, emotional intelligence, empathy and self-confidence.
- Spanish is becoming a tool with exponential value. It’s already the second most spoken and widespread language in the world. An estimate of 140 million people in the USA will speak the language over the next 30 years.
- In the case of Hispanic or Spanish heritage families, it allows children to better understand their background, bond with relatives and connect to their culture and country of origin.
19. What languages can I learn with FabuLingua?+
For the time being, Spanish and English. But we have plans to expand the number of languages you can learn with FabuLingua in the future!
20. If we speak Spanish at home, and my child speaks Spanish, is FabuLingua still useful?+
YES! FabuLingua also works as a reinforcement tool.
Even for intermediate speakers, our method Magical Translations™ method enables a gentle and organic exposure where your child will be entertained by the stories, games and activities and, at the same time, exposed to a method meant to strengthen vocabulary and language skills methodically and organically.
If your child is an advanced or fluent in Spanish and does not need the Magical Translations™ to understand the stories, go into the Settings and turn on the ‘Spanish Only’ toggle. (If there are a couple of words he does not understand, he will still be able to press each word to hear it sounded out in its syllables and hear its meaning in English, so don’t worry).
Even if you speak Spanish at home and your child is a fluent speaker, the benefits of being read to a lot as a young child are well researched and documented. Stories provide a much wider range of vocabulary and use cases than most families typically have in their day to day life, so reading a lot in that language, even if you speak it at home, serves to increase your vocabulary and proficiency in that language. Your child will become a much better Spanish speaker if she has a lot of Spanish only stories read to her.
21. Is FabuLingua available on the web, or only as an app in the App Store or GooglePlay?+
We are working on a web version that we hope to have available shortly after launch!
22. When will FabuLingua be available to the public?+
We plan to launch our first stories in the Fall of 2019 :)