Italian 101: Kickin’ it Old School

In my last post I talked about brining old school methods into my new school learning project. This past week I decided to look into some old school ways to learn online. I was able to find a few things on my own and I was also able to use some resources that have been suggested by others in the class or different places online. I have been working with flashcards, lessons, books, audio and workbooks this past week. I haven’t spent a lot of time focusing on each, but have worked with each resource enough to understand whether or not it would be helpful moving forward. I will be reviewing the following in the blog:

  1. The Italian Experiment (website)
  2. International Children’s Digital Library (website) 
  3. Quizlet (website/app) 
  4. Basic Italian and Grammar Workbook (online PDF) 
  5. News in Slow Italian

The Italian Experiment

I’ve mentioned the Italian Experiment in a previous post and haven’t gotten around to talking much about it. I was introduced to this lesson from a chat that I was part of on Duolingo. The website is made up of lessons, stories (with audio and translation) as well as reviews of online courses. I have spent some time listening to the Three Pigs, Little Red Riding Hood and Goldilocks and the Three Bears on this site. I like that you can listen to the audio, read the Italian text and also see the translation in English. There is a lot of repetition in each of the stories so I was able to pick up on some of the terms and sentences by the end of each story. In terms of the lessons, they are very basic and cover introductory topics. I personally like the lessons because they cover the essentials for learning any language. I like that the lessons provide knowledge that will help you further understand the lessons. I read over the reviews of the Italian Language courses but never looked any further into them as each one requires a purchase and most are quite expensive.

International Children’s Digital Library

After some fellow classmates (Amy & Genna) have read books in another language I decided I would give it a shot. After all if you are trying to learn the language you should be reading it as well. This site was suggested by a classmate (sorry that I can’t recall who mentioned it or where I saw it, but thanks for sharing). This site was created for families who have moved to new countries where it may be difficult to find books in their native language or for families who need to learn a new language upon moving. It is suited for more people than those who have moved to a new country of course. Take me for example…someone who wants to learn a new language to travel or as a hobby. It is free to use and you can access books that are recommended for ages 3-13. You can search books by fiction, non-fiction, characters, age group and language. Many of the books are translated into multiple languages. The text for the book is given in the language you selected to read which is one downside. For someone like me who is just learning it is difficult to understand the books (even at a 3-5 age). I have to translate the book each time I read one which is a good thing because it challenges me to think and pick out words I know, but it is also time consuming. In my video below I took a screen shot of the Italian and English version of the same book. I put each page onto a slide so you can see the translation. The translation doesn’t translate back and forth between Italian and English quite as I thought it would. Here I am reading a story from the International Children’s Digital Library. I’m sure I am mispronouncing some of the words and I know my r’s still don’t sound the way they should so please excuse my rookie mistakes.


Quizlet is an online flashcard maker. You are able to create your own sets as well as find other sets that have been created by users. You can practice the flashcards by using the different features included in the program. I think its a really useful tool, however I have a feeling I would do better making flashcards with pen and paper as opposed to using a keyboard to make them. Check out my quick review below.

Basic Italian and Grammar Workbook

I found this workbook searching for online learning resources. It is developed by lecturers at the University of Turin in Italy and University of St Andrews in Fife, Scotland. I haven’t printed the workbook out because it’s 194 pages, but I have scrolled through it and skimmed it. It is definitely an old school workbook full of information, exercises and answers. From what I can see it is a great resource for providing more than just words. There is a lot of information and a decent amount of practice for each unit. The amount of information isn’t overwhelming however. This is something that I would like to print off one unit at a time to read and practice. I bookmarked this PDF and don’t know how I cam across it. I’m not sure if it is supposed to be printed or even presented as a PDF online. I don’t know if there are any copyright issues with this. I hope not!

News in Slow Italian

This is a great website that I came across a few weeks ago but never explored until the last few days. This is a GREAT resource for anyone looking to learn Italian. There are different pages for beginner, intermediate and advance users. I focused on the beginner level. Each level includes lessons with audio to help you learn Italian. When you are listening to a lesson you can hover your mouse over the Italian text which will display the English translation. The beginners lessons have very little Italian but they progress as you go along. I believe a subscription is needed to have full functionality of all the lessons. The intermediate new shows are great to listen to. I am usually able to piece together enough information using the Italian I have learned with the help of the English translations. There seems to be a lot of features and different ways to interact with the site so it is a great place to explore if you are learning Italian.

I hope that some of my resources help you learn Italian if you are trying to learn the language. I would love to hear your thoughts on some of the resources I have shared.



6 thoughts on “Italian 101: Kickin’ it Old School

    • I guess that’s a pretty important piece I forgot to discuss in my video. Yes you can print them. You can print them in different sizes as well.


  1. Grazie mille! These look fantastico!! I can’t wait to try out News in Slow Italian. That is what I have been struggling with for some time; the speed with which they speak. I can only understand every second or third word, making the whole listening experience a jumbled mess. Thank you for sharing and evaluating these resources; I am looking forward to using them to further my progress with Italian as well!


  2. What a great idea for a post, trying ‘old school’ learning methods using technology! Love the twist. I’ve gone completely old school this week for my learning project – I just signed out a VHS tape from the public library on gardening 🙂


  3. Pingback: Italian 101: il grande finale | Ashley Murray

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