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Why Colibro is Special

by Ken Bond

I am proud to be affiliated with Colibro, a publishing and media company for language learners for the 21st century. These are some of the reasons that I believe that Colibro is so special.

Building Bridges of Understanding

Language learning builds bridges of understanding between countries, cultures, and people.   Colibro is a publishing and media company for language learners that creates a safe space for learners to build these bridges regardless of their age or language proficiency.  The content from the bilingual E-books found in the Colibro library helps learners acquire new language skills while reading fiction and non-fiction texts.  Rather than focusing heavily on vocabulary lists and grammar drills, Colibro presents language in the way it is spoken and written in everyday life.  Learners can engage with a new language supported by their own native language, pictures, and the option to read along with a native speaker.  A new culture will become accessible as learners engage more complex language inside and outside Colibro.  This app will help learners develop skills for navigating in-person conversations, online communications, written publications, and media sources.

Customizing the Learning Experience

Whether learners are studying English as an additional language or they are English-speakers learning a foreign language, Colibro will be an engaging experience for them.  It is built as a language learning library that provides on demand titles listed by genre.  The library is built so that learners have access to materials geared for their age and proficiency level.  The Colibro Level Framework is a tool that ensures the text difficulty is right at their ability level.  Colibro allows learners to read texts that will challenge them without frustrating them.

Promoting Self-Efficacy

Colibro empowers language learners to have total freedom to choose.  With Colibro, learners select content that they find engaging.  The Colibro library is stocked with books in every genre, so learners can direct their exploration of new topics.  If learners lose interest in a specific title, they can select a new story in the on demand library.  When choosing accessibility features, learners can also decide what supports they want for every line of text.  The functionality offered by Colibro allows learners to decide when they want to be able to hear a native speaker read aloud the text, what native language support they receive, and how fast they progress through text.

Learner-Centered Technology

Colibro is an intuitive app that makes navigation easy.  Because of the intuitive computer app and mobile app, learners can spend more time exploring language.  The 9 Colibro levels give learners the ability to expand their proficiency as they gain confidence by reading books in the Colibro library.  It enables cross-linguistic transfer of knowledge between learners’ native language and the language they are acquiring.  Colibro is uniquely positioned for 21st century learning.  Teachers can use it as a school and home learning tool, professionals can practice language using its on-the-go features, and families can connect new and old language traditions using its bilingual text.


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Receptive Language Domains

Colibro’s value as a supplemental curriculum is that it enhances students’ receptive language domains gradually shorten the sentences and the space between words as well, ending up at a normal reading speed for kids by levels 5 and 6, listening and reading.  Since the receptive domains usually develop more quickly than the productive domains (speaking and writing), students are able to engage with Colibro’s library, at levels of proficiency that may be out of reach in their core language proficiency curriculum.  Students will gain a sense of accomplishment as they comprehend higher level texts.   As a result, students’ affective filters will be lowered in speaking and writing, which in turn will allow them to gain proficiency in the productive domains.
As students experience incremental growth, Colibro’s library has content for exactly where they are.  Instead of static books that cannot account for student growth, the books in the Colibro library are fit for all levels of language proficiency.  Core English learner and language arts curricula can be modified to some degree for varying levels of proficiency, but Colibro provides on-demand stories that contain the appropriate amount of linguistic complexity for each individual student.  Teachers have the flexibility to custom design level- and interest-appropriate virtual bookshelves for students with the swipe of their finger.

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Mobile, Synchronized Multimedia for Language Learning

Synchronization of read-aloud audio and text in language learning is a powerful reinforcement for language learners at all levels and stages of second language acquisition.  Language learning is entering a new phase of its evolution.  Never before have tools that provide such rich language instruction and experiential learning been so widely available, especially in the developing world.

Many people continue to study foreign languages in traditional classrooms.  But more and more, electronic, digital and browser-based tools are becoming widely available. Further, traditional classroom learning options are often limited by the inability to find a teacher for the language of interest, or by restrictions on taking a class due to work or family commitments. In these cases, e-learning is sometimes the best option. Of course, e-learning can also augment classroom instruction as well.

Digital, bilingual texts open up a very exciting opportunity to add multimedia to the reading and language learning experience. In the case of Colibro Publishing, content and technology are married to create apps that allow students to read and listen to fun, engaging narratives presented in bite-size stories read aloud by a native speaker.

instructional overlayColibro employs leveled text that is structured to fit best with a second language learner at his or her current stage of second language acquisition. Instead of focusing on grammar and vocabulary like more traditional language learning solutions, students using Colibro engage in ‘open learning,’ so that mastering a new language can happen any time, anywhere.  Colibro meets language learners where they are – at their level and when they want it–in a fast-paced, global, mobile world.

In a Colibro story, a user can not only see and compare the text in both languages, but he or she can also hear it, spoken by a native speaker without an accent.  It is particularly helpful that in a Colibro story, the native-speaker audio is synchronized with corresponding, highlighted sentence text.  In this way the text and human speech continually reinforce each other as the learner moves through a story.

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