Friday, January 21, 2011
TOS Review ~ Speekee
Have you always wanted your children to be able to learn Spanish? Have you heard it is easier to learn another language as a young child? Studies have shown that the best way to learn a foreign language is the same way you learn your native language, like a baby. You hear words and see people around you referring to certain things when they use those words. Welcome to Speekee TV.
Speekee is a British program filmed in Spain with real Spainish children. Available online or on DVDs it is a total immersion product. I used the online product which consists of 10 episodes, close captioned in both Spanish and English. Each episode has downloads to reinforce the newly learned vocabulary. A spiral learning approach is used so all previously learned words are integrated into the newest lessons for review and to maximize exposure to the language.
Each episode features Speekee, a puppet person, Jim, resident adult, and the same children each time. Songs, interaction with the viewer, puppets and animation draw the student into the world of Spanish language and culture. Geared toward ages 2-10 Speekee is a wonderful first introduction to the Spanish language.
My 8 and 2 year olds were singing along and repeating (and retaining) words like a pro, my 15 year old watched but refused to really participate and even he was able to retain much just by watching the videos. I thought the videos were very well done and cute. Catchy songs even had me singing along and using certain phrases throughout the day.
I really only have one complaint. It concerns the closed captioning and users with pre-readers will not need to worry about this but I found some of the CC to flash off the screen almost immediately. I would say less than 10% of the time there would be a phrase spoken and the CC was not timed correctly to allow me (or an older child needing to see the words) to read the Spanish phrase or word and the English translation. Now this is an immersion so the words are not so important except for the extension activities and learning how the language is written. Additionally it is a part of the program and I felt should be consistent.
Speekee can be found at http://www.speekee.co.uk/ and while the monthly online cost is $7.50 the first two weeks are free. The DVD’s which are PAL formatted for play in Europe cost £95.00 so if you are in the US and have a PAL formatted player that would be about $151.36 (exchange rate as of 01-20-2011 per http://www.xe.com/ucc/).
While we enjoyed this and my younger children will continue to do so you may want to see how it worked for other families. Go on by the TOS Crew page and check out their reviews too! Be informed before you buy.
Disclosure: I was given this product free in return for my honest opinion. No other compensation was received.