The Soundsgood Talkingpen is a special pen and book set. It’s the same idea as a LeapFrog Tag Reader, but it has Chinese books. The books are good once your children or you can pronounce and read pin yin. I have not had the opportunity to try the talking pen, but we have a couple of the books and they’re useful for us because my two older children can read and pronounce pin yin well enough. It’s pricey at around $129.99 for the pen and the set of 8 books, or $99.99 for just the pen by itself. Yet another of these pens is called the Easy Read pen. At the time of this writing the pen alone is priced at $159.99, and there is a set of the pen plus 39 books for $342.34
Another YouTube channel that reads Chinese stories aloud and has simplified Chinese subtitles. Each story is only 1-2 minutes long, but there are parts. As the character is read, it turns from black to red, making it easier to follow along.
This is an app that is indispensable for Chinese language learners. You can use the camera on your device to scan a character, and the app will translate it for you. The app description says, “Pleco is the ultimate Chinese learning companion – an integrated dictionary / document reader / flashcard system with fullscreen handwriting input and live OCR, from a company that’s been making the world’s best mobile Chinese learning apps since 2001.”
The Vatican Websiteis available in multiple languages, and is interesting even if you are not Catholic because you can see the Vatican Museum, Villas and Gardens, explore multiple collections, view archeological studies, see many famous churches, and see online documents in the Vatican Library. Available in French, Italian, Portuguese, German, Latin, Arabic, and Chinese.
Bookboxinc is a YouTube channel that reads many children’s stories aloud and has subtitles to make it easier to read along. There are a limited number of stories for each language, but many languages available, including some rarer ones.
Gus on the Go is an iPad app game. They describe the app as such: “Learn Spanish, French, Greek and Hebrew by diving into a classic story with a silly twist. Meet new characters, make them move and explore a new language with a fun and familiar story.” Their website has free printable games in more languages, Arabic, Armenian, Cantonese, Croation, Chinese, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Ingush, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Taiwanese, Taiwanese Mandarin, Vietnamese. Their print shop has some very cute nursery room style alphabet posters for many languages.
Readlang’s website says that you can learn a language by reading whatever you like. Translates words and phrases live on any web page. Use these words to make practice flashcards. This lists many languages.
This website has many short reading passages and videos. You can click the word you don’t know and it will give a translation for it. The website tracks the words you know and tries to give you those words, then put new words in context. Until the website has an idea of what you know, there could be a lot of words that would be confusing, which could be discouraging for a student if they didn’t understand. The input comes from websites, so it’s actually text that you find in real life. It gives goals and achievements and keeps track of how many words you know. There are different modes. There is audio and video by native speakers, but in the reading texts there are some pronunciations that were recorded by non-native speakers. This could work very well for boosting vocabulary after you get beyond the basic level. It is in many languages. Bliu Bliu
Word Brewery is a website that pulls reading passages from newspapers. The website tracks what you know and tries to give you those words, plus new words in context. There is a limited free subscription, plus paid subscriptions with more content and customized language courses. This could work very well for boosting vocabulary after you get beyond the most basic level. It is in many languages.
Clozemaster. Free. Their website says “Clozemaster is a game to learn language in context. It shows you a sentence missing the most difficult word, and the challenge is to fill in the correct word from context.’ Cloze is usually used as a fill-in-the-blank kind of test. It is in many languages.
Make flash cards and post them around the house.
There are many videos that have subtitles. If you read along with the subtitles as the characters speak, you can count that time for both video and reading.
Amazon Kindle has many inexpensive books in foreign languages, for many levels.
Check your local library for books you can check out.