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Organize Language Learning With Labels

I wrote this post as part of a paid campaign with Brother and Blueprint Social. The opinions in this post are my own.

Using Labels to teach language

My three older kids are learning French (Emma), Spanish (Lily), and Portuguese (Johnny). It would be more practical for them to learn a single language, but they feel pretty passionate about their chosen languages, and it’s hard to argue with that when I had the opportunity to learn several languages by living in different countries as a child – and since I used to teach two of three languages they have chosen. Blueprint Social asked me this month if I was interested in creating a tutorial using a Brother P-Touch label maker, I knew it would be perfect for creating organized language learning tools for my kids! As a foreign language teacher as well as through my personal experience learning languages, I learned that the best way to improve your vocabulary is by seeing the word over and over. I had planned to go around the house labeling objects for the kids to build their vocabulary, and the label maker makes this easy and neat – it even does all the different letter accents!

creating a print-rich home helps children learn languages

I created labels for items around the house in English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese. I then printed the labels on my label maker, and the kids helped me put them up around the house. They are posted in alphabetical language order: first English, then French, then Portuguese, and then Spanish. This order also conveniently matches the age of the child learning the language – My eight-year-old is learning French, my seven-year-old is learning Portuguese, and my five-year-old is learning Spanish.

teach kids a foreign language with labels

Having the English word there ensures that the kid are matching their foreign language vocabulary with the correct English translation. It is also a nice way to work on  spelling for some of the trickier words – like kitchen. I used Google Translate to find the translation for Portuguese, which I do not speak. You can even hear a pronunciation for most words! Just be careful if you are translating words like chair that have multiple meanings that you translate to the correct word!

using labels is a wonderful way to develop language!

While it is a little more complicated to have my kids learning several languages, this does give us the opportunity for a miniature linguistics lesson – talking about which words are similar across languages and which ones are different, as well as how they are similar and different!

The Brother P-Touch label maker we were sent was super easy to use! The kids plan to make labels for dresser drawers this afternoon, to help them remember where to put freshly laundered and folded clothing. We have a new deal where they earn $1 for every load of laundry they fold and put away (the $1 goes into a joint savings account the kids are using to fund purchases all four kids are interested in). I am very pleased to say that it has now been two weeks since I folded or put away laundry – and we no longer have piles of unfolded laundry accumulating! They remember where their own clothing goes, but not always when they are putting away siblings’ and parents’ clothing.

MaryAnne is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.

19 thoughts on “Organize Language Learning With Labels”

  1. This is great to use for foreign languages too, like Spanish! My kids used printed Post-It notes to put on objects around the house to learn Spanish but I like the idea of making your own labels using the label maker. We also use the fabric labels to print my kids’ names to iron on clothes for sleepaway camp. That is a real timesaver!

  2. Well that is such a great idea. We do have a list on the fridge of numbers, but expanding this throughout the house sounds great!

  3. Elisa | blissfulE

    Absolutely brilliant! And I think it’s crazy and fun that your kids are learning three different languages. Who knows, maybe they’ll each accidentally learn two or three instead of one extra. :) Do you have any problems with the labels coming off too soon and/or damaging your furniture?

    1. I would love for them to accidentally learn three!

      I have only tried taking one label off (due to a typo), and no damage was done there, but it also hadn’t been on for long. I didn’t put these on anything where a little damage would be a disaster. I haven’t had any trouble with them coming off too soon so far.

  4. Natalie PlanetSmartyPants

    I am impressed that your children are learning three different languages, and you are able to support their interest. We can hardly even manage German :) This labeling idea is also excellent for beginner readers.

  5. This is a great idea! (Just like they do in classrooms at school :) My husband speaks Spanish so we have tried to teach some of it to our girls (as well as French), but it’s easy to let it slide. This reminds me to keep at it!

  6. I used to put words all around the house too when I was encouraging my kiddo to recognize letters and words and to speak them! I agree, it’s a great way to tie the actual object to the word, letters and sounds.

  7. Funny story, so Batman is working on learning Chinese, and the other day Princess pipes up “I want to start working on Latin again,” at which point Superman also mentions wanting to learn whatever the Ancient Romans learned.
    Then Princess is all upset because Superman would be learning the same language as her and she wants to be unique, but she also wants to learn Latin.

    All of that to say I’m off to enter the giveaway, thanks for sharing about it.

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