Have you ever wondered how to make learning vocabulary more engaging? Our proposition is to use the multisensory approach. We present you our new project: Sound of Stories, in which we use sounds to create unique learning materials that stimulate students’ imagination.
Can vocabulary be exciting?
Learning vocabulary is widely considered to be boring and ineffective, probably because it often takes the form of reading the same words over and over again. That is why so many educators avoid teaching it explicitly. They see no engaging way of presenting new words, so they hope that the pupils will acquire them automatically from texts and conversations.
Sadly, there are many students who cannot do it. They need to learn the vocabulary explicitly in a wide range of contexts and settings. This is the case, especially for dyslexic pupils. Specific Learning Disorders can cause serious struggles with acquiring new words from the text. Not to mention the fact that learning difficulties can take the whole joy out of reading, which certainly does not help to learn vocabulary this way.
In addition, learning the formal language in a spontaneous way is something specific for children whose parents are both highly educated and non-immigrant. It is much harder for people from less-educated families or different cultures. That is why assuming learning new words will happen on its own leads to leaving some kids behind.
The consequences can be grave because a wide vocabulary is needed to develop high literacy skills, especially reading comprehension, which further affects performance in practically each school subject.
What do we want to do?
Our response to this problem is to teach the vocabulary explicitly, through a multisensory approach, rather than reading the word lists. In this project, we focus on sounds as a tool to make a lesson more exciting and foster pupils’ imagination. This way, we hope to turn learning vocabulary into a pleasant experience and improve students’ literacy.
We are planning to create a guide on the benefit of sound usage in early education. It will act as a reference for teachers and trainers to discover the method. If they decide they want to put it into practice, the teachers will be able to use our collection of Soundscapes and models to create multisensory lessons. But that is not all. We will also create several audio stories and their pedagogical sequences to make using the method we promote even easier.
If this sounds interesting to you, we invite you to stay in touch by signing up for the newsletter or following our social media. More information on the project is going to come out soon.
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Catrina Liu, Kevin Kien Hoa Chung, Effects of fathers’ and mothers’ expectations and home literacy involvement on their children’s cognitive–linguistic skills, vocabulary, and word reading, Early Childhood Research Quarterly, Volume 60, 2022, Pages 1-12.