About Us

Lelu was founded at Stanford University and our mission is our dream: to make bilingualism a vibrant part of every child's life. 

Learn more about our founding story on the Media page and get the details on our approach below.

Team

Ana Leyva 

Official Title: Co-founder and CEO
Unofficial Title: Mompreneur

Favorite thing about being bilingual: Sooooo many, but one of the tops is being able to understand amazing cumbia and salsa songs (and all of Selena’s music)!

Schools: 

  • Crystal Springs Uplands School (HS)
  • Princeton University (AB)
  • Stanford University (M.Ed and MBA)

Fun Fact: I studied French and Arabic in HS/college and I love both languages. Especially love that in Arabic to say "I'm Ana" it is "Ana Ana" 😆



Grace Kin

 Official Title: Co-founder and COO
Unofficial Title: Connoisseur of cute things

Favorite thing about being bilingual:

Being able to read all the menus in the best Taiwanese/Chinese restaurants!

Schools:

  • High School of National Taiwan Normal University (HS)
  • National Taiwan University (BA)
  • Stanford University (MBA)

Fun Fact:
Most dumplings eaten in one sitting: 33 pieces 😋😋😋🤩

 

Our Approach

The Truth About How Languages Are Acquired  

Many people believe you can teach a language the same way you teach any other number of skills. The reality is that studies show us that language can’t be “taught” and “learned” the way we typically teach and learn-- languages need to be lived and, in living them, they are acquired.  

Acquisition of language happens when “we are exposed to samples of the second language which we understand.” (Pinter, list of references below) Studies show that bilinguals who experience the cognitive benefits attributed to bilingualism use the second language in their daily lives: "their lives [include] two languages, and their cognitive systems therefore [evolve] differently than those of monolingual[s].” (Bialystok

Ordinary experiences can accumulate to have significant impacts on cognitive networks. Thus, Lelu products and programming are designed to create conditions for individuals where life (our ordinary experiences) requires use of Spanish. Lelu Spanish + STEAM activities make natural encounters with the language a daily reality for families. We also provide a community network that encourages use and retention for the best long-term results. 

We define bilingualism as life with two languages. Bilingualism is not a skill, but rather a lived experience and we help to make that lived experience happen fluidly. 

A Parent’s Role

The research is clear-- parents play an important role in their children's relationship with language acquisition. One important thing parents can do is to create shared-attention opportunities for their children to engage with the target language. That’s where we come in-- we create meaningful topics of conversation and activities to draw your children into wanting to listen intently, engage with, and reply back to what they're hearing. Here are our top tips for parents:

  1. Make it fun. If you're having fun with it, they will have fun with it! Lucky for you, Lelu makes it easy to have fun with bilingualism! 
  2. Value Bilingualism and Be Intentional. Be mindful that people’s attitudes and intentions are often at odds with their actions. (Guardado)  Embrace the target language as the asset it is and stop considering it cumbersome baggage. (Lee and Wright; Shin; He) Studies have repeatedly shown that kids have no problem with confusing languages-- bilingualism is only ever a value add. (Bialystok and Krolls)
  3. Embrace Bilingualism Daily! Make sure to live the values you’re hoping to imbue in your children by enjoying and embracing bilingualism yourself daily! 

 

References:
Langdon, H. W. (n.d.). Raising children bilingually. (2015) Retrieved April 4, 2017, from http://www.termedia.pl/Journal/-74/pdf-25008-10?filename=for%20parents.pdf
Tomasello, Michael. Constructing a Language: A Usage-Based Theory of Language Acquisition. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003.
Pinter, Annamaria. “Children Learning Second Languages,” Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2011. 
Lee, Jin Sook and Wright, Wayne E. The Rediscovery of Heritage and Community Language Education in the United States, Review of Research in Education. 38:137-165, 2014. 
Shin, S. J..Developing in Two Languages : Korean Children in America. Chapter 7: Developing and Maintaining Heritage Languages, 2005. 
He, Agnes Weiyun. Chinese as a Heritage Language, The Oxford Handbook of Chinese Linguistics, 2015.  
Guardado, Martin. Speaking Spanish Like a Boy Scout: Language Socialization, Resistance, and Reproduction in a Heritage Language Scout Troop. Canadian Modern Language Review-revue Canadienne Des Langues Vivantes - CAN MOD LANG REV. 66. 10.1353/cml.0.0085, 2009.  
Bialystok, Ellen. “Reshaping the mind: the benefits of bilingualism.” Canadian journal of experimental psychology = Revue canadienne de psychologie experimentale vol. 65,4 (2011): 229-35. doi:10.1037/a0025406