Chicago Public Library launches free online language-learning programs



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Chicago Public Library's Little Pim online language-learning program for kids ages 3–6.

Chicago Public Library's Little Pim online language-learning program for kids ages 3–6. Image: Courtesy of Chicago Public Library


The Chicago Public Library's new, free Mango Languages and Little Pim online second-language programs let you mold your kids into international linguistic masters—or at least give them a head start in learning one of 37 foreign languages while their brains are still in what some researchers call the "critical period" of acquisition.

The free programs—which cover, among other languages, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Chinese, Japanese and English as a Second Language—can be accessed by visiting the Chicago Pubic Library's site, clicking the A-Z Research Databases link, and then scrolling down to the Mango Languages or Little Pim links. A valid Chicago Public Library card is required.  

While Mango is geared toward adults and kids in 5th grade and older, Little Pim engages kids ages 3–6 with an animated panda who teaches little ones simple words and phrases for everyday activities. The Little Pim program is the result of research conducted by neuroscientist Dr. April Benasich, as well as award-winning documentary filmmaker and language teacher Julia Pimsleur Levine. Our suggestion: Moms and Dads sign up for the same language as kids so everyone can practice, practice, practice. Capisce?

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Laura Baginski, Editor (@TimeOutChicago)