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Hooked on English Research Basis Article May2007


									                                 The Research Basis for
                                  Hooked on English™
It is well documented not only that learning a second language can enhance academic
performance and cognitive development, 1 but also that young children learn foreign
languages more easily than adults or older children. 2 Additionally, it has been shown that
introducing children to a second language program for just a few hours a week enhances
their cultural exposure and appreciation and builds a foundation for complete foreign
language acquisition. 3 In response to research supporting the benefits of second language
acquisition—as well as reports that English is fast becoming the world’s lingua franca4 —
the makers of Hooked on Phonics® developed Hooked on English, a program that
teaches kids ages four and older to speak beginning English. It uses an English-only
structure, focuses on oral and aural comprehension and fluency, and follows a scope and
sequence designed to teach basic vocabulary and high-utility conversational phrases.
The methodology of Hooked on English is based on current and established principles of
second language acquisition in young children, including the use of highly focused
lessons, real-world context, repetition and generation, multisensory learning, and music.
Hooked on English also features the Hooked on Phonics learn-practice-play approach.

Focused, Contextualized Lessons

Studies show that children learn foreign language vocabulary most efficiently when
lessons are focused—that is, when only a few words are taught at a time, those words all
center on the same topic, and the words are reviewed after just a few are taught. 5 It has
also been shown that children learn and retain language more easily when vocabulary is
taught in context and used in a variety of sentences, so the words hold deeper meaning
and are not just isolated expressions. 6

In the Hooked on English program, children learn between three and seven new words
or phrases per lesson, and lessons are grouped into focused themes, such as clothing,

  BBC NEWS 2004; Mechelli, Crinion, Noppeney, O’Doherty, Ashburner, Frackowiak, and Price 2004;
  Marcos n.d.; National Standards in Foreign Language Education Project 1996; Summerville 2006; Diaz
  1983; Cummins 1981; Clark 2000
  Pufahl, Rhodes, and Christian 2001; Anderson 1998; DeKeyser and Larson Hall 2005; Johnson and
  Newport 1989; Omari 2001; Marcos 1998; Harley 1986; Patkowski 1990; Ford-Guerrera 1997
  AERA 2006
  Coughlin 2004, Kelly 2004, Walters n.d.
  Alberta Department of Education 1984, Medlin 1979
  Medlin 1979, Morgan 1990, Williamson 1991, Gilette 1994

© 2007 Educate Products. All Rights Reserved.                                                          1
family members, or food. English vocabulary is taught in concrete, real-world contexts in
the program’s workbooks, storybooks, and DVD lessons and activities.

Repetition and Generation

Listening and speaking are vital components of any foreign language instruction
program. Because not all of the sounds in the English language exist in other languages,
children often have to hear English words repeated several times before they can
distinguish and reproduce those sounds. 7 But through continuous repetition, “kids can
learn a language—any language—naturally and intuitively.” 8

Developing oral (speaking) skills is as important as developing aural (listening) skills
when communicating. Language learners must practice saying words to hone
pronunciation. 9 According to one study, “Learners with good pronunciation in English
are more likely to be understood even if they make errors in other areas, whereas learners
whose pronunciation is difficult to understand will not be understood, even if their
grammar is perfect!” 10

Hooked on English emphasizes repetition and generation. Kids hear each new element—
spoken by several different native speakers—more than ten times per lesson, and they are
prompted to repeat the language they hear for pronunciation practice.

Multisensory, Multimedia Learning, and Technology

In English instruction, as in many other subjects, learning is enhanced when multiple
senses are engaged by multiple media in the learning process. 11 According to one study,
“Physical experience and tangible objects should accompany vocabulary instruction” 12 ;
another reports, “Beginning students especially need images to connect the world they
know with the language code we use.” 13

Technology, which is increasingly cited as useful for foreign language learning, offers
opportunities for multisensory learning by providing simultaneous audio, visual, and
tactile stimuli. According to the “anchored instruction” paradigm, videos are especially
effective for learning because

         they provide rich sources of information with opportunities to notice sensory
         images, dynamic features, relevant issues, and inherent problems. Second, they
         give students the ability to perceive dynamic moving events and to more easily

  Gilette 1994, Medlin 1979, Stonybrook State University of New York 2007, Omari 2001, Williamson
8 1999
  Gilette 1994, Yates 2002
   Yates 2002
   Morgan 1990, Chamot et al. 1987, Kodjak and Hayser 1982, Hickey 1993
   Kodjak and Hayser 1982
   Hickey 1993

© 2007 Educate Products. All Rights Reserved.                                                       2
         form rich mental models. . . . Third, video allows students to develop skills of
         pattern recognition which are related to visual and auditory cues. 14

Another source notes,

         Currently, computer technology can provide a lot of fun games and
         communicative activities, reduce the learning stresses and anxieties, and provide
         repeated lessons as often as necessary. Those abilities will promote second
         language learners’ learning motivation. Through various communicative and
         interactive activities, computer technology can help second language learners
         strengthen their linguistic skills, affect their learning attitude, and build their self-
         instruction strategies and self-confidence. 15

The Hooked on English program engages multiple senses and makes use of various
learning materials. Children listen to CDs while following along with workbook lessons
and flash cards, participate in interactive DVD activities, listen to and sing songs, watch
videos on the DVDs, follow along with storybooks, and track their development with
stickers on progress posters.

The Hooked on English DVDs incorporate several forms of technology, such as videos
and interactive software. The software provides immediate feedback so learners hear
their answers corrected or confirmed right away, which enforces vocabulary and long-
term retention. And when using the software, children control the pacing of the lessons,
bolstering independent learning and reducing anxiety.


Listening to and singing songs—activities that help children learn vocabulary as well as
the foreign vocal patterns, stresses, intonations, and rhythms essential for
communicating—are recognized as sound techniques for language learning. 16 This is true
for young learners in particular, to whom singing is especially appealing. Research shows
that “young children have advantages of second language learning, such as better
pronunciation, less [sic] inhibitions, and a love for mimicking, through . . . songs and
rhythm.” 17

The Hooked on English program includes an audio CD of age-appropriate songs, which
help reinforce lesson content through review. The songs on the CD are linked to each
unit, so the lyrics in each song progress cumulatively, using vocabulary that children
have just learned. Each song also includes review words and a small percentage of
words that haven’t been introduced. The music CD can be listened to separately from the
rest of the program materials to maintain and support learning outside of the formal

   Barron 1989
   Lai and Kritsonis 2006
   Omari 2001, Stephens 1989, Gilette 1994, Hickey 1993, Lipton 1994, Finney 1996
   Finney 1996

© 2007 Educate Products. All Rights Reserved.                                                        3
Age-Appropriate Methodology

Studies indicate that reading should receive little to no emphasis in early language
programs, 18 and that young language learners should “first master the aural and oral
recognition of vocabulary before learning the written words.” 19 Instead, it is
recommended that pictures are used to convey meaning, so children don’t have to rely on
the translation “crutch.” 20

In Hooked on English, no reading is required; all instructions are conveyed through
iconography and sound effects. The program is entirely in English, except for an
instructional, kid-friendly video on the unit 1 DVD, which explains the program’s system,
iconography, sound effects, and components through animation and age-appropriate
narration in the child’s native language.

Learn-Practice-Play Approach

In general, children learn by having interactive, meaningful experiences, and then
practicing what they’ve learned. 21 Young children learn English most efficiently if they
participate in hands-on, multisensory lessons and stay motivated to continuously practice
what they’ve learned, and this motivation can be bolstered with games and frequent
opportunities for success. 22

Hooked on English follows the Hooked on Phonics unique learn-practice-play
methodology: Children first learn new vocabulary and phrases by watching the animated
segments on the DVDs. They then practice saying the new words and phrases out loud by
using workbooks and flash cards with the audio CDs. Finally, young learners play
interactive quiz games on the DVDs and read storybooks to have fun with their new
English skills. This method (1) provides a bite-sized skill kids can master in one session,
(2) progresses cumulatively, and (3) ensures success and measurable progress with each


This paper presents the research basis for Hooked on English, including studies and
articles supporting the advantages of foreign language learning for young children in
general and the usefulness of English specifically. The research cited here confirms the
program’s approaches to second language instruction for young learners: beginning
instruction when children are young; using focused, contextualized lessons; ensuring
sufficient repetition and generation; incorporating multimedia, multisensory learning

   Alberta Department of Education 1984
   Medlin 1979
   Burt 1981, Morgan 1990
   Jensen 2005.
   Stonybrook State University of New York 2007.
Omari 2001, Alberta Department of Education 1984, Hickey 1993

© 2007 Educate Products. All Rights Reserved.                                              4
materials; teaching songs in the new language; deemphasizing reading; and following a
learn-practice-play approach.

© 2007 Educate Products. All Rights Reserved.                                           5

Alberta Department of Education. 1984. French as a Second Language in the Primary
       Grades (1 to 3). Edmonton: Language Services Branch. Cited in Williamson
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© 2007 Educate Products. All Rights Reserved.                                                7
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© 2007 Educate Products. All Rights Reserved.                                        8

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