Tag Archives: Books

The phrases and vocabulary your child is learning in class each unit are now weaved into stories you can read with them and enjoy! We will use these stories in class to facilitate language learning by an audience that typically loves storytime.

The Sponge Young Language Learner Series is now available for purchase at the Sponge Store in Spanish, Mandarin, French, German and Japanese.

  • Features Quick Response (QR) Code you can scan using your phone or another device to listen to the story in language – a great feature for pronunciation review for you and your little one!
  • Contains romanized text for languages like Mandarin and Japanese.
  • With colorful illustrations and dedicated coloring pages.

Sponge families enrolled this summer can email us at info@spongeschool.com to get your 40% off discount code.

We are exploring more ways to make it easier for kids to practice language outside of class in fun contexts. Look out for our educational videos on our new online portal for students, on FB and Youtube. And of course, send us feedback and ideas!



I am very excited that Marnie will be writing for us on a regular basis.  She’s not only a mom to 2 young boys in our program, she’s also passionate about education, kids, and the world!  She has lots of great ideas to share about extending the language learning from class to home. Welcome Marnie!


As we all gear up for the sometimes overwhelming start of a new school year and our fall language classes at Sponge, I thought I’d introduce an easy and simple way to bring culture and language into your home: A Language and Culture Basket. Making time outside weekly language classes is tough in all our busy lives. Finding ways to bring the learning into the home is important. As much as we would like to attend ten hours of Sponge classes each week, that won’t happen for most of us for a lot of reasons. So, supplementing the classes in your home and community is a good idea.

My parenting approach, generally, is to create an environment for my children (ages 3 and 1.5) that fosters independence and self directed learning. So we have lots of learning around our home from maps on the wall to kitchen utensils within our boys’ reach to a dressing basket to help with day time and night tome dressing. A Language and Culture Basket is one way to peak your child’s interest and curiosity in the world and language without overwhelming them. If you build it, they will come, right? Have faith, parents, the learning will happen.

In our home, we have a Reading Corner in our Play & Learning space. Within that space we created the Language and Culture Basket to bring in global perspective and exposure to second language, in our case, specifically, Mandarin. By presenting a variety of fictional and non-fictional children’s books in this basket we hope to introduce tradition and culture from all over the world.


  • Mix it up – We focus on Mandarin but bring in other languages and culture, especially when a big holiday within that culture, like Cinco de Mayo in Mexico, for example, is within that month.
  • Rotate – I visit the library often and rotate books to keep it interesting for my children.
  • Less is More – Choose a medium sized basket and fill it. Don’t pile in the books, add a few at a time, all visible to the child at first glance on the basket.



Our basket is situated in the play area, next to a bookshelf, rocking chair and another small sitting chair not too far from our maps. The basket includes several books geared towards teaching kids Mandarin, a Chinese nursery rhyme book, National Geographic World Atlas for Kids, Toot & Puddle’s Top of the World book, Gordon & Lili’s sweet Mandarin books, a guide book that accompanied an education Mandarin DVD and an extensive Chinese vocabulary book.

Amazon and our local libraries have excellent resources and search for children’s books from all around and about the world. I will be sharing a few of our favorites along the way. Here area few to get you started on your language and culture basket. So simple. You have to do it.

The Pet Dragon: A Story about Adventure, Friendship, and Chinese Characters

Chinese and English Nursery Rhymes: Share and Sing in Two Languages

Un Deux Trois: First French Rhymes

The Cat in the Hat in French

La Oruga Muy Hambireienta

Crumbs on the Stairs – Migas en las escaleras: A Mystery in English & Spanish

A Pair of Red Clogs

Grandfather’s Journey

Thanks for choosing to read this post today.

More soon…

Please note: This post contains affiliate links.

Marnie writes Carrots Are Orange, a blog she started in 2010 after the birth of her first son. She hails from Maine, a wonderfully down to earth place to grow up. Marnie moved to the west coast in 1999, currently living in Seattle with her husband and two young boys. She is pursuing Montessori certification. Marnie can be found on Facebook, Twitter @orangercarrots, Pinterest and Google +.