By: Sydney Kalnay, Training Manager

Hola, educators!

Whether you’ve got students who are just learning their “le” from their “la” or you’re diving into des études plus avancées (more advanced study), chances are you’re looking for engaging and creative ways to make language come alive for your learners.

You might be considering field trips, cooking lessons, even travel abroad to ensure your students have both a working knowledge and a deeper understanding of your subject. Though exciting and fruitful, those efforts may feel, at times, cost prohibitive or time consuming. Let’s look at some ways to improve student understanding of language using tools you already have on hand.

Ensure your digital collection includes foreign language titles

OverDrive Marketplace, our online shopping and administrative portal, contains titles in 100+ languages, including books from the world’s top foreign language publishers. You can perform an Advanced Search in Sora and refine your results by language to see what digital content you already own.

It’s a great idea to confirm you have both ebooks and audiobooks in that language so your students can get a feel for how the language looks and sounds. Even better, if you have beginning language learners, try our full-color, fully narrated Read-Along titles in your language of choice. This will allow your students to see the words being highlighted as they’re spoken – and you can even slow down the speed of narration* to ensure proper understanding.
(*This feature also works with audiobooks!)

Translate words or phrases with Sora’s built-in dictionary

You may be using Sora’s built-in dictionary feature already. When students read an ebook title and come across a word they don’t recognize, they can tap and hold the word and then choose “Define” from the pop-up box that appears. However, did you know that part of Sora’s Define feature includes direct access to Google Translate? This allows the student to choose the language into which they’d like the word translated, and many Google Translate results even have an embedded audio clip to allow the student to hear proper pronunciation.

The Google Translate function also works on phrases, so if your student is looking to view passages in a different language, this is a great way to see results instantly without having to open a new tab or even put down their device to find a dictionary!

Consider how this feature could be used to build vocabulary in the student’s native language or their language of study.


Switch the Sora browser interface to your language of choice

We’re excited to share that the Sora browser now allows students to change the language they use throughout the experience. Headers, commands and action items are translated seamlessly from either the sign-in page or the Sora main menu. Currently, Sora’s multilingual interface displays in 11 languages which can be quickly toggled back and forth with a series of clicks.

A great tool for beginning and advanced language studies alike, multilingual support for Sora allows your students to navigate their reading and browsing experience like a native speaker. Keep in mind, this functionality will only display on headers and other static areas of Sora. You will still need to add foreign language titles to the collection if you’d like your students to read in that language.

Consider what language lessons could be enhanced or transformed with digital titles, and what impact an ebook, audiobook or Read-Along could have on your students’ learning experience!

Want even more information on how to incorporate a foreign language lesson plan into your classroom using Sora? Be sure to register for our upcoming webinar, Using and Promoting Sora in Your Classroom, held weekly from now through Oct. 18. If you’re new to Sora or would like some help with OverDrive Marketplace, we have weekly, 30-minute webinars on those topics, too. Register today!