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Lana
Reply with quote  #1 
I tried to talk to my newborn in Spanish from Day One but after 12 years speaking only English, and being married to an American -and living in the USA- it just wasn’t an easy task. I kept slipping back to English!
By the time my son was 3 months old I had bought over 200 books for him, to help with his development, most of them in English though. Spanish books are harder to come by and quite expensive…so I stuck to English.

Then I read somewhere that if you don’t start speaking to them in that second language well before their 9 month of life, you are better off waiting until they have their “language Explosion” around age 2, and then introduce that second language once they have some basic language skills down so you can deal with the “Terrible 2s” -without major meltdowns from child and grown-ups alike! And that’s what I did… more or less. We went to Spain for a visit when he was 21 months. He already had over a hundred English words in his vocabulary by then so I decided to take the leap. As soon as we came back home we started the transition.

I started looking for teaching materials for kids on-line and Amazon.com buyer’s reviews and Google’s search-engine were invaluable for me! By following every possible lead on-line and reading every review about every program, book ,video or audio available on the market I ended up with a pretty complete collection for my son to actually enjoy himself while learning Spanish.

Some of these programs are available in several languages (beware though when you buy overseas: some DVDs and Videos might NOT be compatible with your country’s TV systems!)
Of course, this is my personal opinion on these products, you might be looking for something on a different level or have different tastes. I just want to share what I learned. Also keep in mind that my son is a toddler so I’m only buying products that can be useful for us now or soon enough.

ADRIAN, if you read this, I’d love to have your input on Spanish teaching tools!


* “Professor Parrot speaks Spanish” (Video-tape) (Bilingual)

My son, aged 2, loves the "bird" videotape! This video touches the basics in an entertaining way so it's engaging for kids. The acting and singing isn't top notch but it serves the purpose: my son has been belting out the "colores" song while visiting the supermarket!
I just wished they would make a whole series of it with more advanced vocabulary because this video is quite short and makes you want to see more!
I speak Spanish so I don't need subtitles, but I agree with other reviewers that it would be nice to have them.

Overall: the most engaging teaching material we have found so far. It’s also available in DVD


* Lyric Language, Spanish. (Audio –cassette or DVD + CD) (Bilingual)

I first got the shorter version on Audio-cassette and I personally enjoyed it very much from the moment I listened to it. The songs are catchy and they are repetitive enough so that are easy to remember later on. (It comes with a Lyrics booklet for easy understanding) Maybe 1 or 2 of them are too fast for beginners but the rest are slow enough for you to repeat the words alongside. The vocabulary is useful and up to date, the singing is good and even I -as a Spaniard- am pleased with the artist's Spanish pronunciation, which is not the case with other products in the market.
Overall is great for people that has a degree of exposure to either English or Spanish. It will be tough at first for beginners but with repetition they will eventually learn an incredible amount of words and expressions in both languages.

The DVD is longer and has some interesting scenes of every day life. The newest songs aren’t as catchy but my son is really starting to enjoy it and watch it. He’s no even 2 yet and until recently he did NOT pay attention to TV, except for programs like “Dora” or “Little Bear”.
Good, professional quality. Subtitles in English and Spanish.


* “Colores, Formas y Numeros” a musical CD by Tom Arma (Also available in English)

I was pleasantly surprised by it's great quality in all aspects. I bought it for my toddler to help him learn Spanish and, I must say, it IS much better than most materials out there that are labeled as Spanish teaching programs!
The songs are short, catchy and sang in clear voices. Each tune has a different rhythm and most are slow paced enough to repeat the words after them. They aren’t translated to English, though, so you need to know some Spanish if you’re going to be using it as a teaching tool for your kids. Is perfect for reinforcing beginners Spanish.
Overall, a wonderful CD for an amazing price!

I just bought another 2 of his CDs in Spanish. Can’t wait to get them on the mail!


* “Brainy Baby” DVD

Overall is a good teaching tool if a bit boring. It took several tries to finally get my 2 year old son to look at it for more than 5 minutes. The slow pace seems geared for babies only, as the title suggest. Lots and lots of babies and tots doing every day things on the screen. Colors, numbers and shapes too.
My biggest complaint, though, is that the classical music background is far too loud. It almost drowns the woman's voice in some spots. It's quite distracting!
And that's the other problem: the woman's voice. My son -and most kids- would repeat the words in Spanish more readily if they were spoken by children!
I still consider it a good buy, though. Useful to a degree, at least.
Good, professional quality. Subtitles in Spanish or English.


* “Mi casa es su casa” by Michele Valeri (English mostly)

As a Spanish speaker I do not consider this tape to be bilingual. The singer does NOT consistently translate words to both languages!
The songs and monologues are mostly in English with a few sentences or words in Spanish scattered here and there.
The singer's Spanish pronunciation and accent are barely adequate as is.
This tape can be entertaining for some, maybe, but I doubt it can be used as a teaching tool.


* “Risas Y Sonrisas Program” CD-ROM, Musical CD and book. From spanishforkids.com

The CD-ROM is hard to install on Mac computers but works very well with PCs. I found it to be quite a complete program, from the basics up. Useful for teaching children and teens. Lots of fun images, charts and every day life situations. I just wish they had a video to go along with it!
I think it’s going to be a great program for my son!

I also researched Children’s TV programs on DVD in order to find which of them had Spanish as an alternate language. Well, as it turned out most of them come from Canada, so French was usually the only other option. But I managed to find 3 that had the Spanish language option and that could interest my son:

* “Dora’s Christmas”
* “Franklin and the Green Knight”
* “Bob the Builder –Scoop favorite adventures”

(Before you buy a DVD, check that it mentions other languages in the “Features” section. Most Disney movies and some of Pixar do have that option)

I also ordered “Hearsay, Spanish” which is in back order and “Flip-flop Spanish” which I haven’t received yet. The shoppers’ reviews were quite good for those two. They are supposed to be quite engaging for young people.

I also have “Cantemos en Espanol” from Fisher-Price. My son requests to hear that CD every night as he goes to sleep... but there’s nothing boring about it. Fun, cute Spanish songs sang by real children.
All my other Cds are from Spain and have the traditional kids songs I grew up with.

As for BOOKS goes…my family in Spain has been sending me a few and I brought back an armful with us last May.
I still read mostly in English to him but I’m also “quick-translating” the ones he listens to the most often or the easy ones with short sentences (I re-write the text in Spanish next to the original English so I can use the same words every time)

Well, so far that’s my take on teaching materials for Spanish. I know that “Muzzy” is missing from my collection but I’ll get that one too, eventually. I just need some feedback on it from somebody who has that program.

Hope all this info is useful for somebody having a similar situation!

Lana






Adriana
Reply with quote  #2 
Hola Lana!!

First of all, I want to thank you for taking the time to share the information about the Spanish language materials that you have found. My son is only seven months old so I just started buying material for him but I speak to him exclusively in Spanish. I will give you my opinion of the material we have bought so far.

1. Brainy Baby- I like this video. It is a little slow but my older step children who know very little Spanish seemed to like it. I think that it is best for beginners because of its slow pace and it is very repetitive. Kids that are more advanced will probably get bored quickly.

2. CD's by Jose Luis Orozco- These are fantastic CD's. The songs are catchy and fun to sing along. My favorite is "Diez Deditos" which teaches songs with actions and games. I suggest that parents whose Spanish is not that strong buy the lyric books because they are not included and the CD's are completely in Spanish.

3. Toys- My husband and I decided that we wanted all of his "talking" toys to speak to him in Spanish. The best toys that we have found so far come from Leapfrog. We have bought him "La Descubrimesa", "ABC Toca Tambor", and "Baby Croki." I recommend all three.

Descubrimesa- Teaches colors, numbers, alphabet, up/down, off/on, and open/close.

ABC Toca Tambor- Says numbers and letters as the baby hits the drum.

Baby Croki- (my favorite) This is a stuffed frog that teaches colors and shapes. Also sings shorten versions of popular songs like "Pin Pon" and "Que llueva."

4. I have ordered a few books off of Amazon. My favorites so far are "Asomate y Ve Los Numeros" by Baby Einstein and "Este no es mi perrito" which is a book with textures for the baby to feel.

I am always on the look out for more Spanish language material because I want to surround Diego with as much Spanish as possible so I will keep you posted.

Is your son saying many words in Spanish? I would love to hear more about what works for you. I am very committed to helping my son become bilingual but is it a challenge.

Buena Suerte,
Adriana




ListModerator
Reply with quote  #3 
Hi Lana & Adriana,

thank you incredibly much for sharing!!

/Christina
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Christina Bosemark
Founder & List Moderator
Multilingual Children’s Association


Lana
Reply with quote  #4 
Thanks to you, Christina, for all your good work and effort getting this page going!

I first want to apologize to you and Adriana -and any other readers- for turning my posts into long monologues! I’m just hoping that other parents searching for answers can get some useful input out of them!

Adriana! Definitely I’ll be posting about any teaching treasures I might find in the future. Other parents might not have the time to research extensively like I do so it’s only fair to help them out since, like you say, teaching a child a second language it’s such a challenge!
I’ll check the Jose Luis Orozco’s Cds you suggested. Thank you!

You asked how many words my son speaks in Spanish…..well, the very first one that came out of his mouth, had to do with bodily functions so I won’t repeat that one here! His second word was “agua” Then out of the blue he started counting to 10 in Spanish! In Dora’s TV show they usually only count to 5. So where did he learn all those numbers? I stopped reading the “10 little ladybugs” book -in Spanish- before he turned one year old. Can a child remember that far back?

After only 2 months of slow introduction to Spanish he understands when I talk about colors and can point at about 12 body parts, numbers to 10, house furnishings, a dozen of more of animals and questions that start with “Where is the…” or “Do you want…?”.
And, of course, he understand many household commands like: sit down, eat, come here, give me a kiss, etc
He really started saying words in Spanish 2 weeks ago and he’s on a roll now!. He’s said “Bebe agua” to the dog, and “Vamos, salta! to his Dad. He tries to repeat after me whatever new word I introduce and uses it later on, like this afternoon when he said to his Dad: “Espera!” And then “Adios!”

So, as of today, he has a list of only 15-20 words (+ the numbers to 10) but I bet in a week he’ll have another 20 pat down. I don’t want to force the pace because I wouldn’t want to halt his progress in English. He’s so proud of himself when he says a new word in either language! Today he surprised me by saying clear as water in English “I’m going backwards” and later “Back and forth” and also repeating after me whole sentences of the “I. B.Spider” song and the “Little teapot” song!

They say boys are late bloomers linguistically, compared to girls. In my experience, the statement is right most the time. My son is on target in that area, though –even advanced- but most of his friends are not. Each child is unique and will learn at his own pace. We parents can certainly help to develop those language skills –or at least try to, with lots of reading and repetition- but in the end is the child who will have the last word.
Nicky barely babbled at all and didn’t really start talking until he was almost 16 months. He’s the “Observer” type even though he’s extremely social. Your son might start speaking earlier than that or be a late-bloomer, you never know!

Besides, as a teacher, you must know that close to 70% of the words in Spanish have 3 syllables or more and, consequently, are harder for toddlers to master. His English words will probably come out clearer sooner than the Spanish ones!
Before I started teaching Nicky I kept wondering: Will I be able to understand him and know if the word he’s trying to say is in Spanish or English? Will he get frustrated and refuse to speak if I don’t understand him?
Well, the beauty of my slow-paced teaching is that I can remember which words he’s been learning so they’re easy to identify. Besides, my son is a perfectionist as language is concerned. Out of about 250 words he says in English, he only has problems pronouncing a handful. And the Spanish ones are always in the right context so there’s no doubt of what he wants to say.

I also wanted to tell you that today I found the “ LeapPad, Learning System- bilingual” (2 cartridges included) at the Leap Frog Website. The“Tigger” and the “Nemo” cartridges can also be found in Spanish language.
I’ll give you my input the whole system after I buy it!

Here is the page address for the LeapPad:
http://www.leapfrogstore.com/index.jp?edge=shop.itemDetail&catalogID=259&categoryCode=featuredprods_es&mboxSession=%38%35CF%33B%31C%36%37D%31%32EFF%33%39AA%39C%36B%31DCC%31%35%32%35.papp%32_%31

And of another bilingual toy:
http://www.leapfrogstore.com/index.jp?edge=shop.itemDetail&catalogID=269&categoryCode=featuredprods_es&mboxSession=%38%35CF%33B%31C%36%37D%31%32EFF%33%39AA%39C%36B%31DCC%31%35%32%35.papp%32_%31

Also these 2 pages had nice stuff for young tots:

http://www.babyscholars.com/bilingualtoys.html

http://www.amazon.com/gp/search/ref=pd_sl_aw_tops-1_toys_7556174_1/002-5295862-7797644?search-alias=toys-and-games&keywords=bilingual%20toys

Check at the bottom of the page in this one too:

http://store.babycenter.com/product/toys/award_winners//9265;jsessionid=YOPD4IGMD5FNOCUAQMLSIIQ?intcmp=

Well, this is all for today. Thank you to all of you that made it to the end of my ramblings!

Lana



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