Friday, January 21, 2011

Speekee- Spanish for Children


It seems that today, everyone feels the crunch to have their children learn a foreign language.  Given the number of Spanish-speaking people in the United States, Spanish is one of the most popular languages to be taught (after all, there's signs all over the place with both English and Spanish on them)

Speekee logo

Hailing from the United Kingdom, Speekee TV is a Spanish immersion program for children.  By "immersion" I mean that when you turn on the first video, there is no English spoken.  EVERYTHING is in Spanish.  This is an ideal method for teaching children.  Afterall, they learned English (or whatever their native tongue may be) by hearing it all of the time.

Speekee is 10 episodes with Spanish speakers talking.  One thing to note, is that if you are wanting to use this with another Spanish curriculum (which is not necessary, I might add), this is a different dialect than is usually taught in the United States.  The phrases and vocabulary used are not always going to match what other curricula teach.

When we used this, we didn't have any concerns regarding different dialects, since Thing 1 (and by default, Thing 2) has never studied Spanish.  However, due to the music segments and the fact that he had to rely on the subtitles that stated what Speekee (the cute purple puppet pictured below) and the other speakers were saying, Thing 1 was not at all interested after a couple minutes.  He's not like his mother, who prefers to watch everything possible with subtitles.


Thing 2, on the other hand, was scrambling to get on my lap when I started watching this.  He LOVES music, and while he can't read, he doesn't really speak much understandable English himself (he's speaks Thing 2-ese) so he didn't particularly care that the people and puppets on screen weren't speaking the same language as Mom and Dad.

Each episode goes to a different location.  Afterall, you're going to want different vocabulary to discuss your trip to el parque (the park) than you would in la casa (the house).  This is a major part of the immersion technique: you learn words used in context through normal usage (rather than just showing pictures or even the word and then repeating the translation numerous times)

If you are interested in using this program (and yes, 10 episodes is enough to keep your children busy for a while, considering each is PACKED with vocabulary to become familiar with), then you can subscribe for the online version for £4.95 a month if you are in the UK, or $7.50 a month if you are in the US.  There is also a 2 week free trial available so you can take a look before actually committing.

If you would rather have the episodes on DVD, so you could watch them, say, 5 years from now, you can also purchase the DVDs for £95.00.  The DVDs come with the episodes, plus an audio CD, aaaaand a 70 page guide.  Keep in mind, if you are in North America, these DVDs are in the PAL format (although formatted for all regions within the PAL format).  This is NOT the standard for North American DVD players (rather, that's NTSC) so you will need to see if you have a PAL-compatible DVD player.  This has to do with the color encoding, and if you try to run these DVDs in a non-PAL DVD player, it just won't work.  The DVDs have a 30-day money back guarantee (although with the time it takes to ship to the US sometimes from the UK, I suggest doing the online 2 week trial to see if you like the program first).

Still not sure?  Take a look at what other Crew members have to say about this!

Disclaimer: I received access to the online version of this program free of charge for the purpose of this review.  All opinions in this review are my own, and I received no other compensation for this review.

1 comment:

Jim said...

Hola Stephanie, Thank you so much for taking the time to review Speekee TV with Things 1 and 2! All the best to you and your family - Jim, the one in Speekee