Kotoboo is a place where caregivers and educators (and everyone else!) can get science-based information about language learning in childhood, in the form of comics. The information is brought to you directly by a stellar team of scientists who study how children learn language. Our scientists work across the globe, on all sorts of topics. Each Thursday, they get together to create a comic about what they know, to share with you, our readers.
Kotoboo was born out of three words, from three languages.
‘Kotob’ means ‘books’ in Arabic
‘Kotoba’ means ‘language’ or ‘words’ in Japanese.
‘Peek-a-boo’ is the English word for a game often played with children. In this game, an adult hides her face with her hands, and as she opens her hands to reveal her face, she says “Peek-a-boo”.
These three words –language, books, and a game– represent the cornerstone of the Kotoboo mission:
Share scientific information about language learning in a fun way.
How do children the world over learn language? From the urban jungle to the Amazonian rainforest, discover the different ways children learn they mother tongue.
What home moments are best for learning language? Take in all those little things you were doing right along but didn’t realize, and some more to add to your daily repertoire.
How does a baby learn two (or more) languages without mixing them up? Dive into the minds of little polyglots, and learn some tips and tricks for raising your own.
How do we raise the next Shakespeare? Learn more about the giant leap a child needs to get to written language.
What do babies see in screens? Uncover language learning opportunities, the 21st century way.
Are sign languages processed by the brain like spoken languages? Explore the stunning complexity of visual languages and the incredible flexibility of little minds.
Are all the things your friends share about children’s language development true? Hand picked direct from paediatricians’ waiting room chitchat and parenting websites, see which facts are backed by science and which are just myths in disguise.
Do all children learn language the same way? From dyslexia to autism spectrum disorder, tour the many roads children take to learn language, and admire their many strengths and hidden powers.
The idea for Kotoboo emerged from the questions we would get, your questions. When you came to one of our labs. When you met us at a science museum. We would answer each question, to each person. But, the same questions would keep coming back, the very same concerns caregivers and educators had about their child’s language development.
There had to be a way to reach a broader public, to spread our research beyond the scientific community and beyond the handfuls of caregivers and educators we crossed paths with. And, most importantly, it had to be fun.
“What better way to illustrate scientific results to all than with short comics!” we thought.
This idea lingered in the backs of our minds, as we went about our busy days. We would have to organise it. Yes, next week. Or the week after. After that upcoming holiday or the other one.
And then one day, our worlds were turned upside down by Covid-19. It was this topsy-turvy new world that brought us together and that marked the beginning of an adventure that almost made confinement fun.
We created Kotoboo to help caregivers and educators, during the pandemic but also beyond.
We are supporters of barrier-free science. Our goal is to go beyond making scientific information simply available for all, out there somewhere. We want the scientific information to reach you.
We therefore work hard to make our content accessible. We have first started by making it multilingual, in three languages: English, French, Japanese, Arabic and Spanish. We plan to add other languages as we go along. We are also actively working on making the website accessible to the visually- and hearing-impaired.