Many parents are looking for a good language course for Spanish. Dora may have started the ball and Rosetta Stone may be the catalyst for fluency but what lies between for the average child? Speekee is a new Spanish-language program based on a full immersion approach, with Castillian flare. Scenes are shot in Spain with local children, giving a glympse into Spanish culture as well as real-life usage. Speekee, the purple blonde to the right, is a delightful character that you will grow to love.
Being a European-based company, a new format has been created so that those in other areas may benefit from this engaging program. In Speekee TV 10 episodes can be accessed online, each about 15-20 minutes long and covers a wide variety of subjects.
With a puppet as the main character, I was hesitant to try this program. My daughter just turned 10 a couple of months ago and has long outgrown similar programming. During the first episode she was very pessimistic. She scoffed at the upbeat tunes, the sock puppets, and the orange-sporting children. She rolled her eyes as I read the subtitles to sing along. But . . .
When that episode was over she exclaimed, “Another one! Another one!” Yes, Speekee had won her over.
There are several features to the program that impress me. Activity sheets can be downloaded (pdf) for each episode. These include key points that were covered in the corresponding episode. The activities range from copying words to mazes to drawing and more. I really find them to be wonderful in reinforcing the lesson learned. While I am a bit concerned about the level of simplicity, my daughter does enjoy them and I can foresee future usage as review tools.
I was pleased to see that the children are very polite. They introduce themselves and greet others respectfully and always say ‘thank you’ and ‘you’re welcome’. This is a great feature, especially when other programs overlook this minor but important detail.
As mentioned earlier, Speekee is a very lovable character. The songs are fun and catchy. In fact, when the next segment begins, all of us will sing along even if we are in different rooms. The humor is just right and I love the interaction between Lupi and Dino, the sock puppets, as it is very sweet. My daughter just lights up when Speekee pulls out her little bag. It’s hard to explain the charm these episodes possess.
As your child progresses, they are given awards. The awards look a little ‘sad’ but they do the job. It’s exciting to see new ones being awarded every so many episodes. I would like to see the graphics updated.
The pronunciation is very clear, which makes it easy to repeat. In Spain, they pronounce the ‘s’ sound as ‘th’ and the ‘j’ comes from deeper in the throat than the ‘ha’ sound you may be accustomed to hearing. That being the case, I make sure to remind my daughter when the difference in sound is apparent. We live in an area in which many Hispanic countries are represented so I want her to learn to speak without a Castillian accent.
I highly recommend this program, especially for those teaching their children at home. I am actually surprised at just how beneficial Speekee has been and look forward to seeing how continued use will affect my daughter’s grasp of the language.
You can try Speekee TV for two weeks for free. After that it costs $7.50 a month, but you are able to cancel at any time. Children ages 3-10 will thoroughly enjoy the episodes and it will give them a great foundation in further studies.
With a free trial, you have nothing to lose but so much to gain.