Our Family

Our Family

Monday, September 10, 2012

Schoolhouse Review Crew: Speekee


 I cannot imagine a better, easier, more fun way for young children children to learn Spanish!   We loved Speekee when we reviewed it before and with the addition of the Fast Track Lesson Plans I couldn't wait to have an opportunity to review the program again.  I didn't tell the children we were reviewing it again.  Instead, I logged in to our account and started playing the first video one afternoon and everyone stopped what they were doing and yelled, "Speekee is back!"  They were so excited!  So what exactly is Speekee?

Speekee is a Spanish learning course for young children (ages 2-10.)  The videos use real Spanish children in real locations and teaches essential vocabulary.  The main character is an adorable puppet named Speekee (pictured above.)  The videos are spoken entirely in Spanish, but there is captioning in English.  Each episode has cute puppets, fun songs, and an interesting location to visit.  Speekee was created by specialist linguists and musicians and uses a spiral learning method with lots of word repetition built in to each video.

There are 10 different episodes of Speekee that range from 16-20 minutes each.  It is recommended that you start out watching the videos in order.  The 10 different videos are:

El parque
El cafe
La casa
El zoo
La clase
El mercado
La estacion
La playa
El jardin
La fiesta

Here is a short montage of clips from El zoo

Speekee is more than just videos.  With a subscription to Speekee, there is a full 40 weeks of lesson plans to go along with the episodes of Speekee.  Each week Speekee FastTrack gives you 4 activities with corresponding video clips, worksheets, and other downloads including flashcards.  Taking just minutes a day to complete, these fun activities will help your child with a greater understanding of the Spanish language.  You can access FastTrack with your Speekee subscription via the website, or sign up for weekly emails.

To give you an idea of how the FastTrack lesson plans work,  I thought I would give  brief description of the first week's lesson plans here.  Day one, you would watch the video of El parque.  Day 2's activity is to make a sock puppet of Dino and Lupi.  Day 3 your child draws happy and sad faces using green, yellow, and red.  Your children practice the phrases Muy Bien and Que tal by holding up the appropriate faces.  On Day 4 they sing the How Are You song with their puppets.

You can try Speekee for 2 weeks for free.  A monthly subscription to Speekee TV is $7.50 with no minimum to buy or you can pay $60 for a full year.   Subscribe by clicking here.  Speekee is also available on DVD.

Young children have an amazing capacity for learning languages, and when it is in a way that they enjoy, it is natural and easy for them to do so.  Speekee is a fun immersion into the Spanish language.  We love the puppets and the catchy songs that yes I find myself singing at the oddest times during the day.  I love that it uses real children doing real life fun kid activities.  The videos are long enough to teach their subject, but not too long that the children get bored watching them.  My children love El zoo and La playa the most and will watch the videos over and over again.  It is so sweet to hear Emelia (18 months) asking for Speekee and watching my 5 year old and 3 year old pretending to be Dino and Lupi.  They are learning Spanish and having a great time doing it!  I confess I have even used Speekee as a "baby sitter" one rainy day while I needed to fix supper and keep the children occupied.  I let them choose their favorite episode and I didn't hear a peep out of them!

I am very impressed with the FastTrack curriculum to go along with the videos.  It is a great mix of worksheets and hands on activities perfect for that pre-k to age 8 or 9 (depending on the child) age group.  The hands on activities do not require a lot of planning from mom and use easy to find supplies that you probably already have around the house.  Each activity only takes a few minutes and they are fun!

One thing you may be interested in knowing about Speekee is that it does not teach Latin American Spanish, but Spanish from Spain so a few phrases may be different if you are used to Latin American Spanish.  At this time, there are only 10 episodes of Speekee but we are definitely hoping they will make more.

To see what other crew mates had to say click here.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary subscription to Speekee in order to write a fair and honest reviewI received no other compensation.

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