Friday, January 21, 2011

Speekee - Spanish for Children - A Review

Meet Speekee!

Product: Speekee - Spanish for Children

Price: $7.50/monthly for online access (1st 2 weeks are free)

Company: Lingua4 Ltd, United Kingdom

Age Range: 2-10 years

Other Options: On DVD with 30-day return policy

Brief Intro: Here are the top 10 reasons to choose Speekee, straight from their website.
  • Great fun and extremely effective
  • Created by specialist linguists and musicians
  • Accelerated learning methodology for natural success
  • 100% in Spanish (English and Spanish subtitles available)
  • Simple presentation style
  • Lively, engaging characters
  • Real Spanish children in real Spanish locations
  • Concise, essential Spanish vocabulary, with lots of repetition
  • Catchy songs
  • Highly acclaimed by our customers!
In-Depth Look:
My 12 year old daughter is currently using a total immersion program for older children and adults. It was too overwhelming for my 8 year old to use. So when I learned that I would be reviewing an immersion program geared to younger children, I was very happy to hear it.

For anyone not familiar with the total immersion teaching method, it means that all speaking is done in the foreign language. This is the same way that a newborn learns to speak . . . by hearing it spoken over and over. That is the same concept used in this program. The idea is that if your child hears the Spanish conversations over and over, with no interpretation, your child will begin to learn the words.

To make the experience more authentic, the lessons were filmed in Spain using Spanish children. If you are used to Latin American Spanish, you will notice some differences. But at such a basic level, it would cause no problems in understanding or communication. I have never taken Spanish instruction, nor has my daughter. So we didn't notice.

Speekee is geared towards young children. Their site mentions 2-10 years of age. It uses puppets and lots of songs. Also lots of repetition and predictability, such as the same intro and closing song each lesson and the children coming out of a crawling tunnel to reach their destination each episode. Young children usually love this sort of predictability. My 8 year old did seem to feel that the program was a little young for her, because of the puppets.

You can watch a 30 second clip of a video.

The lessons are easy to use. Login and click the appropriate video; there are 10 in all. The videos average just under 20 minutes. You will join Speekee, Jim, and the children on their adventure of the day, such as a zoo or a classroom. You choose if you want the subtitles on or off. My opinion is to keep them on. Or else you will have very little clue as to what they are saying in the longer dialogues. My daughter was frustrated without the captioning on, saying that she didn't know what they were saying. I preferred it on as well. But with a non-reader, they would just gradually gain understanding as the lessons progressed. Reading the subtitles does tend to be distracting, since you are looking down at the words instead of up at the video. But my daughter said it wasn't a problem for her. She liked it much better with the captioning on. With some of the more repetitive things like the Hello and Goodbye songs, you will have a feel for it without the subtitles and can just watch and enjoy the video. After several viewings, you should have a much better feel for the episode and may be able to enjoy the whole thing without subtitles. Again, watch the sample video and get a feel for it.

After the lesson, print out some or all of the worksheets. You will find the instructions and printables to the right of the video presentation. I found them to be a valuable asset, encouraging my daughter to read, write, and say the words she was learning.

I think Speekee is a very nice introduction to the Spanish language for younger children. It is cute and the songs are catchy. The lessons are user-friendly and educational. The worksheets are nice supplements. With frequent use, your child will learn some very useful Spanish words and phrases.

The program has a 2 week free trial. So give it a try and see what your child thinks about it. If they like it, the $7.50/month is a very reasonable fee for foreign language classes.

Read more reviews from other TOS crew members.

Disclaimer: I received the Speekee program free of charge, as part of the TOS Homeschool Crew. The above is just my opinion. Please remember that opinions may, and do, vary.

1 comment:

  1. Good morning to you, Kimberly and family! Thank you so much for your kind review of Speekee TV. Your comments about how you used the closed captioning are very interesting to me. Have a lovely day!! ¡Muchas gracias! Jim, Speekee's friend in the videos