What is Realia?

When it comes to learning language, traditional, one-dimensional activities like writing and reading are what typically come to mind. However, when teachers engage students with unique lessons and language carefully embedded in Action Activities, Chants, Songs, Stories and Poems that are peppered with realia, lessons are elevated from ‘good’ to ‘great’. So what is realia? It is the use of authentic, everyday items that aid in teaching and acquiring language!

For many years, linguists and educational researchers have investigated teaching strategies that are effective. Meeting the needs of various styles of learning, including the interaction with physical, concrete objects that come from real life and that are related to the target language and culture is breathes new life into language lessons.

So why take the time to include realia in your lessons? Because it reinforces unique vocabulary, builds background, connects the concrete to the abstract, creates memorable language experiences, lowers the affective filter and triggers the use of language outside of the lesson itself.

To look a bit more deeply at research, see examples of realia in action across a wide variety of settings and to learn the steps that you should take to incorporate realia into your own lessons, check out our webinar “Inspire Interaction with REALIA!” presented by Jodie Shell.

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