7 Screen-Free Activities to Promote Persian Language
Media can seem like a great choice for learning. It is easy, can be custom tailored and is often engaging-if not captivating. However, in a recommendation of children's media use, the American Academy of Pediatrics reminds parents not to let media displace "physical activity, hands-on exploration and face-to-face social interaction in the real world, which is critical to learning." Furthermore, parents are warned from the Council of Communications and Media that the youngest learners "cannot learn from traditional digital media as they do from interactions with caregivers."
The good news is that there are plenty of screen-free options to promote Persian that will build important skills like listening comprehension, building an attention span and critical thinking. Keep reading to find inspiration and resources that you can start using today!
Why even mention it? Well, given that this post was aimed at everyone - even those who do not speak Persian themselves, there is reason to believe some might not think this one applies to them. The thing is, you don't have to know or even memorize common phrases to use them with your children. You can easily incorporate a few common phrases into your family's daily routine simply by writing them out (in Farsi or in Finglish) and posting them in areas where people can refer to them as needed. What an easy way to start working on simple conversations!
Example: Post phrases like "Good morning!" "How did you sleep?" and "What would you like for breakfast?" in the kitchen.
Check out Linguanaut.com for a list of everyday phrases.
Image via Yekibood.org
2 Listen to Persian Music
Music is a fantastic way to absorb language in an enjoyable and very natural way. The more you listen, the more familiar the music and words will become. There are several Persian CD's/downloads available featuring music for children.
Yekibood - Wonderful songs for children that are fun and catchy
Songs of Pardis - Memorable songs with dynamic musicians and vocals feature children singing as well
Ketty - This beautiful compilation of children's songs is a labor of love and all proceeds benefit charity.
3 Listen to a Podcast
There are so many great podcasts out there aimed at learning Persian. Podcasts are a great way to get in digestible lessons on demand. Listen when you can and take advantage of period of time you might otherwise not use for listening such as in the car, while shopping or cooking. Although these podcasts are geared towards adults, you may be surprised to see you children participating as engaged listeners, repeating and responding to the lesson.
Chai and Conversation - Layla and Mat make relatable hosts to this enjoyable podcast as one is a native speaker and the other is learning Persian. Along with the lessons, you will also get help with pronunciations, background cultural information and a friendly tone that makes this a fun podcast. Chai and Conversation audio lessons are free and there are additional materials that can be purchased to supplement the learning.
Persian Pod 101 - Mohammad and Brandon use a great format for the podcast that help to reiterate the new vocabulary for each lesson, allows the listener to hear it in conversation and then repeats the conversation slowly while pausing to insert special notes to emphasize pronunciation, grammar or just to extend the teaching. There is also a lot of cultural knowledge mixed in which is useful. This is a paid subscription, but includes many resources well worth the money.
Image from PardisForChildren.org
4 Listen to a Story
As a teacher, I can tell you that one of the single best ways to increase vocabulary for children is to read aloud to them. If you ask most children, they really enjoy being read aloud to - even if they can already read themselves. Stories in Persian are no different - they are a calming way to listen to native speakers and the narration is often slower, more intentional and expressive than other listening experiences. Take advantage of quiet times when intentional listening can take place like in the car, before bed or during independent play.
Fairy Tales from Greater Iran - Produced by Pardis for Children, this trilogy boasts high quality production of stories read aloud with music and sound effects that make the stories come alive.
Farsi Speaking Kids - A small collection of simply stories told at a very easy-to-understand pace.
Storytime in Farsi - Classic stories for those who speak or are learning Farsi. These stories are a little longer and may be better for older children.
Photo by UncleGoose.com
Play is a child's work - really! Children learn so much through play and it is often best to resist interrupting it as children gain so much from discovering on their own. There are some high quality learning materials available for learning Persian letters. Build a tower, build a word, build language skills!
Uncle Goose Persian Blocks - Build towers, words and knowledge with these attractive blocks featuring debossed Persian letters and numbers on each block.
Azitoys - These wooden eco-friendly puzzles expose your child to the most common Persian letters. Over 200 words can be built with the letters which can be used independent of the puzzle board.
6 Persian Learning Materials
If you desire to go beyond just language exposure and wish for your child to achieve mastery of basic vocabulary, then learning materials are a good option. Choose materials that match vocabulary goals you have for your child. You will likely be surprised by how quickly your child masters the materials! The materials won't go unused even after mastery if met. Children love creating games, playing school and teaching others, so they will have life for years to come.
Little Persian Learning Sets - Each learning set has been carefully designed by a teacher of young children and includes materials thoughtfully selected to provide visual guides with translations and pronunciations, flashcards for practice and activities as well as a pocket travel guide to take advantage of those little moments of time when on the go.
Image via Amazon
7 Read a Book
Of course reading is one of the first activities that comes to mind when most people think of screen-free time. The less children are using screens, the more likely it is that they will pick up a book - again and again. Time and exposure to high quality reading materials are a combination that will allow your child to get lost in a good book.
My First English-Farsi Picture Dictionary - It might seem strange to read a dictionary but young children absolutely love using the pictures to identify the words on each page. Even the youngest learners can "read" this book by naming the pictures on each page. This dictionary features each word in Persian and English along with a pronunciation.
Alefba Book - This is a very sweet alefba book featuring adorable illustrations of a word for each letter. Each page also has a pronunciation using English letters.
Englisi Farsi - These books feature a range of topics and provide the users the ability to read in Farsi or in Finglish.
Hopefully you have been inspired to try some new activities with your child. You don't need a lot of time or money to implement most of these ideas. With a little creativity, you may be able to find ways to make these work within your family's daily routines. Which will you try first?