An Insider’s Story of our Kids App Development

cartoon characters kite lettersThere’s a story behind every product that we develop here at Rosetta Stone. Our Webby-nominated Rosetta Stone® Kids Lingo Letter Sounds is no exception. We asked our lead game designer Chrissie Denniston to share the story of how the Lingos came to life!

Blog Post by Chrissie Denniston

Learning a foreign language comes naturally to little kids. But memorizing a stack of flashcards isn’t a natural way of learning a foreign language—speaking is! Anyone who knows little kids knows that they love to talk and love to be heard. So when we set out to design Rosetta Stone’s first foray into the kids’ language-learning realm, we wanted to create fun apps that give kids lots of opportunities to speak Spanish and hear it spoken naturally, in contexts they care about.

We also discovered research showing that when kids learn a foreign language, they improve literacy skills in their native tongue too! New readers start their journey by learning to pay attention to and listen for the beginning letter sounds in simple, three-letter words, such as cat. Teachers call these listening skills “phonemic awareness.” As an educator, mom, and game designer, I wanted to marry these concepts: create playful games that promote strong listening skills in English, paired with games that encourage lots of speaking in Spanish. So my team and I here at Rosetta Stone decided to create a reality with cute characters who understand and speak both languages—the Lingos!

These cute little critters not only host the games, but are also the gameplay elements in the games. Kids match letters to their sounds to give toys to the Lingos. The Lingos react only when the child makes an effort to say the target Spanish phrase. The better the pronunciation, the bigger the reaction and reward from the Lingos.

Language is power!

The Lingos were born from our desire to create an emotional connection between the characters and three- to six-year-olds, boys and girls alike. We made them small enough to feel like they could be pets and flexible enough to be able to do anything. In the Rosetta Stone Kids Lingo Letter Sounds app, they are bilingual in both English and Spanish, and they reside in a child-constructed world of found objects and arts and crafts. But coming soon, the Lingos’s world is expanding! Their curiosity about the world will take them—and kids—on worldwide adventures together. Stay tuned!


You won’t have to wait to get our second kids app, which is already making a splash with kids! Download both apps for free and get your kiddos playing—and learning—today!

Rosetta Stone® Kids Lingo Word Builder: From the App Store, and for your Android device.

Rosetta Stone® Kids Lingo Letter Sounds: From the App Store, and for your Android device.

About Chrissie

Chrissie Denniston is an educator, children’s game designer, avid consumer of kids’ media, and mom of 2 little ones. After receiving her Masters in Educational Technology from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, she spent the last 14 years designing and producing award-winning games, apps, and toys, all with a commitment to engage little learners. Growing up in a bilingual household, she is constantly looking for better ways to teach her own kids a second language. She is the lead game designer of Rosetta Stone Kids language learning games.

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