Learn a language the right way

A decade ago, before moving to Italy, I attempted to learn the language. I used a myriad of popular products available at the time – compact discs or books; compact discs that came with books. The results were mixed. While I gleaned some language, my knowledge was riddled with weaknesses, mostly with regard to comprehension, a problem that persisted throughout my year-long stay in Italy and has continued ever since. My conclusion is that I just didn’t learn the language the right way.

Years later, when my children enrolled in a French Dual Language Program back in the States, I decided – once again – to try my hand at a foreign language. I did the French version of the familiar books and familiar CDs on the market. And then I discovered Rosetta Stone.

The difference is drastic. Rosetta Stone approaches language instruction in a way that resembles immersion. As a student using Rosetta Stone, you practice a myriad of exercises, keeping things interesting, but also effective. From simple matching exercises to increase vocabulary, to speaking exercises where proper accent is required, the process is simply more active than anything I’ve encountered. I was also really appreciative of the opportunity to write in another language, something I never had the opportunity to do when learning Italian through other programs. There is simply nothing better for retain knowledge than putting said knowledge into practice through the written word since it requires an intimacy and specificity one can gloss over when speaking. That said, having a live person to access for conversation is another huge benefit of Rosetta Stone, and I was leery about doing so, but grateful I did since conversing with a native speaker propels knowledge beyond comfort zones. I also enjoyed the games and other activities included in the program. It truly is the range of approaches expertly presented by Rosetta Stone which differentiates it from any other language program.

I can honestly say that in six months of fairly regular use of Rosetta Stone, I had achieved what took me years to accomplish using other products and living abroad. I am able to help my children with their French homework, and converse with native French speakers. Can’t wait for our family vacation to Paris!

Rosetta Stone is simply the most accessible and effective way to learn a second language. I will continue through the end of the French program and then move on to another language. The only questions is whether it should be Spanish or Arabic. There’s no question that Rosetta Stone will be my guide.

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Andrew Cotto is a writer and teacher who lives in Brooklyn, NY. He is the author of THE DOMINO EFFECT and OUTERBOROUGH BLUES: A BROOKLYN MYSTERY. Andrew’s articles have appeared in many national journals, including the New York Times, The Huffington Post, Men’s Journal, Salon.com, the Good Men Project and Teachers & Writers Magazine. He has an MFA in Creative Writing from The New School. More about Andrew can be found at his website.

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