Jillian Rodriguez

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Five Ways to Keep Kids' Language Learning Fresh This Summer

By Jillian Rodriguez |   May 29, 2014 11:02:05 AM

Summer is around the corner, and for kids of all ages, there will be an inevitable beeline to the nearest bonfire to burn the year’s textbooks, papers, and tests. We want to warn you now: save their foreign language textbooks. Not just because cruelty against foreign language materials deeply pains us, but because this summer, continued learning is crucial for your child’s long-term language-learning success. We define success as measurable, ongoing growth in language and culture learning, conversational confidence in their target language, and a true passion and enthusiasm for their chosen language. There's no better time than summer to make language learning your family's next adventure.

The threat of the “summer slide” is real, and we’re not talking about the cool, fun kind at the water park – although we highly encourage your kids to spend plenty of time there, too. We’re talking about the retention backslide that occurs when the three months of summer pass by and little to no language learning occurs, and kids find themselves losing the valuable skills they learned the year prior. Whether your child is aiming to earn college credit or just trying to avoid the wrath of Herr Gärtner next fall, we have five effective ways to enrich your child’s life with language and culture this summer.

1. Use your community.

In today’s global world, your community is ripe with valuable language and cultural connections that can enrich your child’s language-learning experience. Tap into your social network for fun mentoring, volunteering, and cultural opportunities available in your child’s chosen language. Odds are you’re within six degrees of separation from a native speaker, a teacher, or an expert who is excited to share language and culture with your child this summer. It may come in the form of pen pals, mutual mentoring, or local theater – whatever it is, it'll likely come free. Reach out to your child’s teachers, to your neighbors, friends, and local community centers, and find new and exciting learning opportunities to keep language learning going all summer long.

2. Use media.

In a dream world, summer would mean shutting off screens and spending these three months at one with nature: frolicking in meadows, wading in lakes, and camping out in the woods. We’re sure your family will get a healthy dose of nature this summer, but when the screens do light up, we want you to make the most of it. Research popular shows, music, and literature in your child’s chosen language, and introduce those that align most to their interests. Blast music in their target language when you’re driving them around, stock the house with culturally relevant books and magazines, and watch television shows and movies together in a new language (subtitles optional!).

Do you have a smart phone addict in your family? Redirect the obsession and have them download free language-learning apps to their phone (Mango is fully mobile!), or change their phone’s default language to their target language. How do you say Instagram in Spanish? Not your problem.

3. Use your passport (virtual counts).

If you’re like us, you follow the mantra of the Dalai Lama as closely as possible. And when the Dalai Lama says, “Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before,” it’s best to heed his advice. If it’s in the stars for your family to travel abroad this summer, maximize the experience by planning a trip to a locale relevant to your child’s language-learning goals. Immersing your child in a new language and culture is the best crash course out there, and the new experience will create excitement and motivation for continued learning post-trip.

Strapped for cash this summer? Some of the best adventures are unfolding in your own backyard. Around the country, summer cultural festivals and events are taking place, and they are full of native speakers, delicious native foods, and exciting cultural exposure for the whole family. Hop on Google and look up cultural festivals happening in your city, or a major city near you, and let the adventure begin.

4. Use your imagination.

Continued learning is key for maintaining for your child’s language learning between school years. Every effort, big and small, helps build and round out your child’s knowledge and enthusiasm for their new language. Get creative and build language-learning supports based on their interests and passions. If your child is a bookworm, check out fiction in their target language, or books written by the culture’s most famous authors. If you’ve got a hipster on your hands, your child may enjoy immersing themselves in the culture’s fashion, alternative trends, and music. Set their Pandora to a new station, gather up some hip magazines, and watch the language-loving sparks fly.

Summer tends to move quickly, and most families find themselves short on time, money, and even ideas. Save yourself the stress and keep it simple: your local library is a goldmine of resources; including take-home language-learning resources, clubs, books, and community classes for all ages. Take a trip with your child early in the summer and explore the opportunities together.

5. Use Mango.

You knew this was coming. Mango loves company, and we think your summer language-learning endeavors would look great with us by their side. As bright and fun as a summer day, Mango is best served chilled, on the beach with the whole family. We’re suitable for ages six and up, and like a fine wine, we get better with age – meaning the more time your child spends with us, the more they will learn. Our courses use actual conversations to deliver relevant language and culture, increasing retention and comprehension for learners all summer long. For younger learners, we offer Little Pim courses, in which an adorable talking Panda guides your child through kid-friendly language lessons, using repetition and visuals to reinforce vocabulary in a new language.

The moral of the story: language learning can be really fun, especially in the summer. Maximize your child’s three months of freedom by exploring language and culture in new and exciting ways, and even better, do it together. Fingers crossed you'll bring us along for the ride.

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Mango Homeschool: The Results Are In

By Jillian Rodriguez |   May 23, 2014 6:33:28 AM

Every so often, the planets align in a certain way, and magic happens. Mango Languages is a young, growing company (We were born in 2007 – your kids might be older than us!), and for seven years now, we’ve dedicated ourselves to enriching lives with language and culture. Each year, we’re on the hunt for new ways to be bigger and brighter than ever before. We began in public libraries, we branched out to corporate, personal, and K-12 users, and then we met you – homeschooled families, you’re really something special.

What makes Mango Homeschool Edition (yes, we named it just for you) so perfect for your family? Mango’s the one and only trusted resource for building rapid, real-world conversational skills and measurable depth into your child’s chosen language-learning experience. With Mango, language learning is much more than a task – it’s a comprehensive, immersive, and entertaining experience. Better yet, we keep our prices straight-forward and affordable, so that your family can focus more on learning and less on budgeting. Give us a call for a price estimate – we promise we’ll make your jaw drop.

Can you tell we’re excited about Mango Homeschool? We really are. To quote Carly Rae Jepsen (Sorry, we said we were young): Hey, this is crazy, but here’s our free 14-day trial, so call us maybe.

We’re not the only ones talking about Mango’s effective and practical curriculum (although we admit, we started it): the homeschool community is buzzing about the latest and greatest language-learning resource for your curriculum. Here’s the scoop on Mango Homeschool, from users just like you.

1. We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. The good folks at Hopkins Homeschool and the Schoolhouse Review Crew reviewed Mango Homeschool Edition and had this to say:

Does your homeschool curriculum include a foreign language? Just one? Or more than one? Plain old boring books, or a program that teaches you the actual language through speaking? Mango Homeschool Edition is an online program that helps you to add in that foreign language to your homeschool curriculum…over 60 foreign language courses…with your subscription!

We love that the smarty-pants over at Hopkins Homeschool and Schoolhouse Review recognized the unique access Mango Homeschool gives users. With Mango Homeschool, your language-learning journey never has to end. Focus on just one language, broken down into easy-to-learn chapters and journeys, or get acquainted with several languages at once. Our tip: read the blog’s full review and learn more about Mango’s newest superstar, Ray Ray – a five-year-old language guru who proved that our 6 years and older guideline is merely a suggestion. After all, age is just a number.

2. Heather, of A Nurse’s Wildflowers, took to her to blog and composed a perfectly thorough review of Mango Languages Homeschool Edition. A nurse, a wife, a mother of three, and much more, we’re thrilled she found the time to share some thoughts about Mango’s newest program:

The layout throughout the entire course is beautiful and clearly well done. The lessons are clean with no visual distractions. The class moves along with little chunks of language at a time and has review mixed in…the student can click to hear the pronunciation over and over if needed. There is also an option to use a microphone… the student decides when to move on.

Heather, we’re so glad you noticed. Each and every Mango course is developed by a team of experts specific to the language and culture, and we work hard to make sure our content matches our design. In this case, you can judge a book (or a program!) by its cover, and even Heather’s daughter agrees. Heather shared that her 11-year-old daughter, Tee, loved this program, and Heather was able to leave behind her daily routine of nagging Tee to do her work— Tess enjoyed spending time with Mango. We also loved hearing Heather’s suggestions on how Mango Homeschool Edition can better serve her needs and improve our service. We’re only a phone call away, and we can’t wait to hear your ideas.

3. Finally, we were thrilled to read a post from the blog Grace-Filled-Moments, citing her oh-so-positive experiences with Mango Homeschool’s beta version:

The Welcome page greets you and your student each time you log in, and gives you the option to resume the lesson, repeat the lesson, or proceed to the next lesson. I love that the program remembers where you were working each time you re-enter after logging out. If we had completed a lesson, but I felt Caleb needed to review it, I simply chose to repeat the previous day's lesson. I was thrilled to be able to have this option!

That’s right – with Mango Homeschool, parents are always in the driver’s seat. As a teacher, you’re able to control when and how your students move on in their courses, and you can track their progress with the program’s admin portal and usage tools. You can supplement your child’s lesson with our comprehensive, course curriculum outlines, available as printable PDFs to track and reinforce your child’s daily work. We also highly recommend reading Grace-Filled-Moments’ full Mango review – one little Mango-in-training, Caleb, took our coveted Pirate course and the results wildly exceed our expectations. You go, Caleb.

We feel like we just won Parent-Teacher conferences, and we won’t lie – it’s a good feeling. We’re so excited to join the homeschooled community and help enrich students’ lives with language and culture. How can Mango Homeschool Edition prepare your child for success in today’s global world? Call us up, try us out (for free!), or send us a postcard in your favorite language – we can’t wait to hear from you.

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Six Ways to Make the Most of Your Summer Travels

By Jillian Rodriguez |   May 13, 2014 9:40:51 AM

When the weather starts to warm up, we start daydreaming about jet-setting. Predictably, we've been bitten by the travel bug, and we can't wait to start exploring. Summer is the perfect time to hop on a plane, jump into your car, or even travel by sea to new and exciting places around the world. Wherever your travels take you, we know you want to make the most out of your whirlwind trips and spontaneous adventures. But the plight of the tourist is real: navigating, communicating, and exploring in a new place can be a serious challenge, and it's pretty tempting to simply stick to the basic tourist tropes in lieu of venturing out on your own. Upgrade your status from tourist to true explorer with a few simple tips and tricks that'll make the most of your globe-trotting this summer.

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ASTD 2014: 5 Reasons to Love Mango Corporate Edition

By Jillian Rodriguez |   May 1, 2014 10:11:40 AM

Where in the world is Mango headed next? We’re packing our bags (and swag) to spend May 4-7 with the good people of The American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) for their 2014 Conference in Washington D.C. As the premier event for training and development professionals, we’re pretty excited to spend the week connecting with over 9,000 innovators from around the country and the world. We love the corporate world, and they love us. As you gear up for ASTD 2014 (even the acronym sounds epic), you may be wondering if Mango Languages Corporate Edition is right for your organization. Short answer: it is. Wondering why? We're so glad that you asked.

1. Innovative, relevant global training for your employees.

ASTD is all about providing the tools and resources necessary to move your organization forward. When you add Mango’s resources to your staff’s toolkit, you’re opening up a world of possibilities. As your office transforms into a hub for language and cultural literacy, language barriers and cultural blunders become a thing of the past. But we have to warn you: your employees will likely start bringing exotic cuisine to work, hosting fabulous cultural celebrations, and wearing a LOT of bright, fun colors to work – we take full ownership of that last side effect. It’s a small price to pay for the major global upgrade.

2. Limitless access to 50 languages and 15 unique English courses.

Looking to brush up on your Mandarin? Have employees that want to improve their English? Need to learn basic greetings in several different languages? Wherever you want to go, Mango can get you there. We offer limitless access to 50 full language courses, along with courses for English language learners, designed in 15 different native languages. Our courses focus on relevant content for lucrative conversations – our motto is useful stuff, without the fluff. Our straightforward, engaging courses will quickly get your employees communicating with clients and partners – and they’ll be able to help you order take-out from that Thai restaurant with the insanely complicated menu. The benefits know no bounds.

3. Fully mobile, no hassle, on the go learning.

Your employees are on the go, and so are we. Stuck at a hotel and the Wi-Fi is out? No problem, Mango’s free mobile apps don’t require it. Our full course catalog is available on mobile devices and tablets, so that your employees can do their learning by train, plane, and automobile (passengers only!). Mango Corporate Edition also offers Mango On-The-Go, the complete audio from our courses, available as mp3s. Extra bonus: users can share their full Mango account with an unlimited number of family members so that they can learn together in the home or around town. Family vacation to Europe this summer? We think so.

4. Simple, straightforward tools prove your return.

We know you're busy, and we want to help. Mango’s easy administration means that you can track usage, statistics, and prove your return with the click of a button. Sign in to the Mango Admin Portal and check out the top languages studied and employee usage to see just how much your employees love Mango – and to find out who’s going to insist on an in-office Cinco de Mayo party.

5. Direct, personal support from Holli.

Meet, Holli. She's your go-to girl to get you and your employees trained up, help you market Mango to your employees, and get the most out of your subscription.

Think you’re ready to learn more about Mango? Stop by Booth 1009 for a Mango Languages Corporate Edition demo, to learn about our special 30 day free trial, and meet Holli in person (!!). And, of course, try one of our legendary free smoothies. We’ll see you soon, ASTD 2014!

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5 Things Shakespeare Gave to Modern Society

By Jillian Rodriguez |   Apr 23, 2014 11:14:57 AM

Happy Birthday, Shakespeare! You may be turning 450, but to us, you don’t look a day over 300. Your impact on today’s society keeps you young – your plays are reenacted by kids and adults across the globe, your invented words are used in the English language on the daily, and your style is as fresh as ever. You’re a pioneer of English language, literature, and culture – so it’s no surprise that we’re a big fan. And if there’s one thing Shakespeare would love, it’s a list of his top five contributions to modern society, right? Shakespeare, do you know about social media? Either way, we love you in 140 characters and then some. Here’s why.

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Mango Spotlight: Customer Service Masterminds

By Jillian Rodriguez |   Apr 10, 2014 11:03:34 AM

Here at Mango, we had to invest in a spotlight. With all of our rock star customers, clients, and employees, we really had no other choice. As with all things Mango, it’s a bright one – so break out your shades, Customer Service Team, this week’s spotlight is shining bright on you.

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Your School's Secret Superhero: Librarians Revealed

By Jillian Rodriguez |   Apr 7, 2014 5:50:34 AM

Heroes walk among us. Cleverly disguised in civilian clothing, they use their superhuman abilities for the benefit of humanity – specifically, for the littlest humans of all. School librarians, we’re looking at you. We don’t want to blow your cover, but we’re pretty sure the cat’s out of the bag – or Clark Kent is out of the phone booth, or Batman’s mask fell off. Whatever the case, we're still celebrating School Librarian Day.

Mango fans may have noticed that our social media pages double as librarian love-fests. Whether it’s memes hailing their greatness, photos of our most beloved libraries worldwide, or major PDA sessions with our librarian friends on Facebook, we’re pretty open about our infatuation. We’re extra awestruck by school librarians because they grow brighter students in their schools every day. They’re the people handing out free books to kids and sending them on fantastical adventures all over the world. They help them find answers to every question, and give kids free, uninhibited access to the imagination sanctuary that is a library. If that’s not a superhero, then we don’t what is. And we’re ready prove it.

1. Time Travel

The 2010s are cool and everything, but time travel is way cooler. And who can facilitate a quick time travel, say, in the middle of lunch period? Librarians. Want to stop by and say hi to George and Martha Washington? They’ll make it happen. Just finished a unit on dinosaurs and need to explore it for yourself? There are more than 50 books to choose from, and your librarian knows exactly where they all are. As Neil Gaiman said, Google can bring you back 100,000 answers, a librarian can bring you back the right one. And for that, we love them.

2. Endurance

So many of the greats possess the indispensable power of endurance: Batman, Green Goblin, and the School Librarian. Let’s face it: it takes a lot of endurance to manage over 2,000 books, upwards of 100 kids at any given time, and countless questions spanning hundreds (maybe thousands!) of subjects, time periods, and genres. What’s a school librarian to do? Evidence shows these super-humans respond with a warm smile and a freakishly accurate list of books and resources tailored specifically to a child’s interests. All while working the library staff to keep the space functional, organized, and fun. There’s no place like a library.

3. Healing

An apple a day keeps the doctor away, and a library card keeps kids really happy. It takes a village to raise a child, and librarians take center stage. In the chaos of a student’s life, constants are crucial. For most kids, the school library is a free, safe haven where they literally have limitless opportunities to explore and indulge in their interests and passions, all under the watchful eye of the school librarian. The Cheers of the kid world, the library is a place where everybody knows your name. And when you’re young, safe spaces make all the difference. Librarians, add the power of healing to your already rock-solid resumes.

4. Precognition

In layman’s terms (a.k.a. non superheroes), this is the power to predict the future. Walk into any school library, and you’ll see that librarians are doing just that. Keeping inventory fresh and modern, pioneering technology initiatives, and keeping tabs on student needs and interests is all in a day’s work. They use their forces for good and not evil (obviously) by predicting trends and providing challenging, innovating resources to keep the future bright for their students.

This year’s School Librarian Day is the perfect opportunity to buy your librarian the cape they clearly deserve, give them a hug (and maybe some cupcakes), and show them some love. After all, you’re in the presence of a scholastic superhero.

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Mango Meetings: Embracing Innovation

By Jillian Rodriguez |   Mar 27, 2014 12:08:33 PM

What does it mean to work at Mango Languages? If you’re a Mango, you embrace six core values: quality, innovation, entrepreneurial spirit, fundipline, integrity, and a positive attitude. And if you’re a Mango founder and CEO – well, you live it, you breathe it, and you inspire it in others.

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Mango On the Road: TESOL 2014

By Jillian Rodriguez |   Mar 20, 2014 4:10:53 PM

There’s nothing better than a Mango road trip. Bags packed with hilarious mango postcards that we forced our graphic designer to create, we’re the most decked out group of travelers everywhere we go.

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Five Reasons to Love Your Librarians

By Jillian Rodriguez |   Mar 6, 2014 2:21:23 PM

What’s more lovable than a librarian? Koala bears? Free hot dogs? Unassuming photos of corgi puppies? In our opinion, librarians are second to none in lovability – after all, can a koala bear locate the last disk of the show you’ve been binging on all month? Do free hot dogs satisfy your unquenchable thirst for obscure books of modern poetry? Can those corgi puppies host an interactive story time for your preschoolers? Librarians are a rare breed, and with the Public Library Association’s 2014 Conference just around the corner (!!!), there’s no better time for a little librarian loving. We’re kicking off the celebration with five reasons that librarians run the world.

1. They always have the answer. Or if they don't, they know where to find it.

Certified sleuths of the worlds we love most, a librarian never leaves you empty handed. Even when you’ve combed the shelves ten times over, librarians effortlessly laser in on the object of your desire in seconds. Wielding magical powers only granted to creatures of the librarian world, they’re here to help mere mortals (or should we say muggles?) access the wizarding world of libraries.

2. Their wisdom and guidance is free.

The best things in life are free. And according to Mango’s Best Of list, librarians take the cake. In public libraries across North America, there are gurus of all disciplines stocking shelves, taking questions, and creating opportunities for their communities to learn, explore, and grow – all for the low, low price of zero dollars. No smartphone apps, magazines, or television shows could replace the expansive, personalized knowledge dispensed by your local librarian - unless they designed it themselves. Can we make that happen? Moral of the story: befriend your librarian, visit them often, and support your local library. Your brain will thank you.

Photo Credit: Super Furry Librarian

3. They come in all different shapes and sizes.

In movies and books, librarians pop up as a variety of caricatures: hushing noisy children, warily peering out from behind a book, sporting glasses on a chain – there's even the occasional monocle. In reality, there are over 150,000 professional librarians in the United States alone, and each person offers their own lovable take on their profession. Experts in a variety of fields – be it archaeology, children’s literature, or technology – librarians rep a range of identities, interests, and storied histories. Jacks of all trades, they're known to wear a variety of hats – but with style like this, who needs a hat?

4. Librarians encourage us to be rebels.

“Yes, books are dangerous. They should be dangerous – they contain ideas.” Author Pete Hautman, who is clearly one of us, points to the inherent edge of the library world and its keepers. Librarians aren't afraid to live dangerously in the name of promoting access and education in their communities. Case in point: library activists and the ALA are responsible for Banned Books Week, celebrating the freedom to read and write. Rebels with a cause, they keep us on our banned book game year in and year out.

5. They keep us warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

Two words: temperature control. Public libraries belong to the people, and library cards are free to residents. See all those happy Arthur characters? They're free to wear whatever they want, because they're in a library. Layered sweaters, knee high socks, rolled-up shirt sleeves – come as you are. With the community’s best interest at heart, the public library remains a safe haven from the wild weather of the outside world, despite rain, shine, sleet, or snow. Switch off your space heater and head to the library to warm up the old fashioned way: cuddled up with a good book. We’ll see you there!

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