Friday, January 21, 2011

A Solution for Teaching Spanish New TOS Review

Speekee   Spanish for Children

Speekee is also on Facebook and Twitter 

$7.50 a month for Online viewing subscription  The first 2 weeks are free.

Speekee Spanish is also produced in a DVD set, but as the company is based in the United Kingdom, many US DVD players are not compatible.

Recommended for ages 2-10     Older children and adults may learn from it also.

The Speekee homepage features a short clip from the first episode where the children introduce themselves.

Knowing a foreign language is an educational objective which is often considered desirable, but may get put off for a variety of reasons.  The teaching parent  may not know a language,don't feel confident to teach it, or limited time makes it difficult to add yet another subject to study.  If the idea of a Spanish program for preschool and early elementary students sounds good, Speekee may be just right.

Members of the TOS Homeschool Crew recently had the opportunity to review the  Speekee-Spanish for children program. Speekee is an immersion program for teaching Spanish to young children.  This means the entire program is done in Spanish, the only English is in the subtitles along with the Spanish.  There are 10 episodes where each features a different location or theme. The majority of each episode is an actual location and interaction between  the children and an adult.  The children introduce themselves by name in the first episode and appear to be between the ages of 7 and 10. Some segments only have pictures or drawing of items, but these are not cartoonish.  Speekee is filmed in Spain with native Spanish children.
Speekee features engaging and catchy songs which quickly draw in the viewer and keep them watching for more.  Speekee takes their viewers to 10 different locations or settings and teaches them the Spanish name for the place as well as other nouns which are appropriate for that setting. This allows the viewer to transfer what they have seen and heard on Speekee to their normal surroundings and routine.  

The format of each episode is also very similar.  They begin with the host children welcoming their friend, the viewer to come along with them.  Shortly thereafter they ask where they are going that day, naming a couple locations and asking yes or no. We see a clue to the destination through the end of a play tunnel, which the crawl through to reach their destination.  Next, the children are engage in activities appropriate to the location.  Some of the places visited are the store, the beach, home, school, the zoo and they also take a trip.  Then episode continues with children interacting with an adult, Jim, and presenting new words or concepts.  Each of these words or concepts is presented several times to reinforce what they are. Then the episode concludes with a 'good bye' song.  There are also worksheets with each episode to reinforce the concepts learned.

Each video episode presents a lot of the language, but a fair amount of the material is review or words which have been introduced in a previous episode. Each episode uses what has been previously introduced and explained and uses it in a new or different way.  Because words are repeated throughout all the episodes there is a fair amount of repetition.  This aids in learning and retention.

Speekee is also the name of the puppet who is prominent in the videos.  She has many different jobs.  She interacts with the viewer asking questions and praising responses.  She also helps with identifying items, counting, and providing transitions in the episodes.  Speekee has several friends, Lupi and Dino, who appear to be socks puppets.  We see Lupi and Dino during each episode when they remind the viewer how to introduce themselves to each other.  They also make other appearances occasionally.

How we used Speekee

Both my 6 and 9 year olds watched Speekee online,  However, they responded to it very differently. My six year old would attentively sit and watch, singing along with the songs after the first few times.  He  also enjoyed some of the worksheets.  He also sang some of the songs separately from watching the episodes.  He really liked Speekee, Lupi, and Dino.  He was learning, but didn't realize it.

My 9 year old would watch the episodes, but was not very engaged with them.  She particularly liked the  songs.  She did want to role play the opening and closing songs and scenes with her brother.  She even created her own actions to the 'good bye' song and wanted to do it with her brother.   She was not interested in the worksheets when I offered them to her.  Instead she drew her own pictures of locations and activities, labeling them appropriately. She also compared locations and practices she saw in the video to what she knows here in the US.  I believe she picked up some of the language, simply because she heard it, not because she really wanted to.   She was more interested in figuring out how to play the music to the songs!

I learned some Spanish words and phrases by watching and listening to Speekee.  However, after a while I had difficulty sitting through an episode.

One thing I would have liked to have seen available with the program were flashcards with the words or phrases in the episodes.  I saw a reference to flashcards in the teaching material on the website, but no information as to the availability of a ready made set. My children like to play games like go fish, memory and matching with cards and I think this would have helped solidify the vocabulary and phrases even more for them.

Speekee is a unique answer to teaching young children a second language.  It incorporates many situations and nouns that are meaningfully to them and does it in a way that makes it fun and painless.  Speekee is an easy way to introduce Spanish to a young child for the parent who does not speak the language themselves.
A viewer would have a hard time not learning the words and phrases taught by Speekee as many of them are set to such catchy music you can't help but remember them. Speekee makes learning Spanish child's play!

Read what other Crew Members have to say here.

Disclaimer:  As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I was given a free limited time subscription to this product to assist me in writing this review.   I have not been compensated in any other manner.  All opinions expressed here are solely my own.


    1 comment:

    1. ¡Hola Martha y familia! Thank you very much for your extremely well thought-out review of Speekee TV. I have made a note of your comment about how flashcards would be a valuable additional resource. At the moment we do not offer a ready-made set, but that could change precisely because of your feedback. Best wishes to you all from here in Spain! Jim - the one in Speekee