Jan 21, 2011

TOS Review: Speekee

When I was in college, taking courses in human development, one of the things that stuck out to me was how we learn language. As a baby, no one sits us down and says, "Memorize this list of vocabulary words. Decline these verbs. Write these sentences from dictation." No, we learn to speak by listening, watching, and speaking in real life situations. Therefore, I have always been a fan of the immersion method of learning a second language.
When the TOS Review Crew was first told we were getting a Spanish program, I was a little nervous, but then I discovered it was an immersion program and I got excited!
Speekee is basically a short (13 to 20 minutes) tv show for kids that is totally in Spanish. It reminded me, honestly, of Sesame Street, with real kids, real adults, and real puppets :) talking and singing their way through real life places like the zoo, the market, the beach, the park and so on. There are 10 episodes available, and each comes with downloadable, printable worksheets to reinforce, if you like, the lessons. These are totally optional. We did the worksheets on some of the lessons, and not on others, just to see if it helped them. Mostly, we just enjoyed watching the show. Review is built into the episodes, so it is best to watch them in order, although we also enjoyed going back and re-watching our favorites.
We gathered around my computer to watch Speekee, although some of the Crew were able to get it to stream through their Wii. We sang along, answered Speekee's questions, and then I sat back and watched to see what the kids would do next. After every viewing, Spanish words and phrases started spilling from their mouths. I can ask them, "Que tal?" and they know to respond, "Muy bien!" Kaytie and I have enjoyed several conversations entirely in Spanish!
I was also intrigued by Daniel, who doesn't read well. The older kids were able to read the subtitles to know what was being said, but Daniel didn't have that help. However, at least once every episode, he would exclaim something like, "Mom! Hola means hello!" He was able to pick up vocabulary just by context clues.

I was very happy to get to review Speekee, and the kids enjoyed it as well. The only drawbacks to this program were minor ones.
I wish there were more than 10 episodes. :)
This program is based and created in Spain, so the pronunciation is Spain Spanish, not Mexico Spanish. This is not a huge deal, but is something to be aware of. My best guess, based on the little Spanish I have picked up from people I know, is that the difference is not enough to be concerned about being misunderstood, but is enough to be concerned about being teased.
Because this is made in Spain, the DVDs are not automatically compatible with U.S. DVD players.  There is a note on the website you should read before you order a DVD. However, a monthly subscription is available for you to watch online here. And there is a two week free trial available if you are unsure.
And finally, the songs are catchy and get stuck in your head! I find myself singing them all the time, which can be embarrassing if you are out grocery shopping by yourself. :)

We have thoroughly loved and enjoyed Speekee, and really, really, wish there were more episodes for us to watch, because this is a fun and painless way to learn a foreign language.

If you would like to read what other Crew Members thought about Speekee, click here.

This product was available to us free of charge for the purposes of this review. All opinions expressed here are honest, true, and totally mine and my kids'.


Laurie said...

Having fun looking over your blog! Nominated you for the stylish blogger award!

Lisa said...

Two of my kids loved Speekee. Stopping by on the blog walk.

Jim said...

¡Fant├ístico! I love the relaxed way in which you have approached Speekee... "We sang along, answered Speekee's questions, and then I sat back and watched to see what the kids would do next." Please say 'Hola' to the kids from me, Jim - the one in Speekee


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