Monday, April 22, 2013

Spanish For You! Review

Spanish For You  is an affordable foreign language curriculum that is taught with a specific theme.  Presently, choices are Fiestas or Estaciones.

From their website:
"Students learn HOW the language works. They learn key language components (i.e. vocabulary, pronunciation, syntax, verb conjugation, and grammar) as building blocks to be put together in different ways to communicate. They begin thinking in Spanish to develop fluency. They build knowledge of grammar so they excel in higher level classes.

Spanish for You! has a unique design where students learn to speak, read, and write Spanish through interesting themes. The books are designed to be done in any order rather than having to finish them in levels. As students complete books they become more skilled."

All Spanish for You! packages come with a paperback book or e-book, lesson guides (24 weeks worth for Grades 5-6 and 7-8.  30 weeks for Grades 3-4), worksheets, and audio files.

Lessons in Estaciones include:  Calendar & Weather, Fall & School, Winter, Spring and Summer.

Also included is a nice reference section highlighting:
The alphabet
Basic Pronunciation Guide
Common Words and Phrases
Ideas for making flashcards

Pricing is as follows:
Grades 3-8 Pkg $64.95
Grades 3-4 Pkg $39.95
Grades 5-6 Pkg $39.95
Grades 7-8 Pkg $39.95

Our Experience:

I've noticed that foreign language curriculum can be very pricey.  This curriculum doesn't have all the fancy drawings and doo-dads, but, what counts most is the format in which the lessons are presented AND the audio files.  For $64.95 you can teach a wide range of children all together.  That's a deal!

This program is easy to implement.  Just follow the lesson guide which has easy step by step instructions cueing you to do a worksheet or play an audio file.  Play the included games and HAVE FUN!

Our family tried Estaciones with our 4th and 6th graders.  The program was well paced and the kids were able to keep up without either being overwhelmed or bored.  The nice thing about this program is if your student if struggling OR needs a challenge you have the flexibility to choose the next grade level up or down.

I admit that since I'm a closet Spanish speaker, I had a leg up in working with my kids and this curriculum.  I can't comment on how easy this program would be to use if I had no prior knowledge of the language.  But I would think that a pre-lesson audio session with the general pronunciation of the alphabet would be very helpful.

As with learning any foreign language, a parent needs to be present while the child is going through the audio files in order to check pronounciation.  Otherwise, it's so easy to pick up bad pronunciation habits that will be harder to break later.

In the directions, the author Debbie Annett points out that:

*To build listening and pronunciation skills use the audio as instructed.
*To build speaking, repeat vocabulary words when listening to the audio.
*To build reading, look at vocabulary words and say them aloud.
*To build writing make flashcards as instructed for new vocabulary and phrases.

For us, this program was a nice fit.  It helped that I had prior Spanish experience as well.  The only bad thing about it is timing.  Adding this into our already busy day was a bit of trick.  This would best be done over summer break or planning it into your school year at its' beginning.

Check out a sample HERE

AND, check out what other Mosaic Reviewers are saying about Spanish for You!

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