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Topic: Need recommendations for teaching Spanish to Prek-2nd grade

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Subject: Need recommendations for teaching Spanish to Prek-2nd grade
Date Posted: 6/16/2010 11:43 AM ET
Member Since: 8/8/2008
Posts: 108
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I am fluent in Spanish and my 6 yr old has done the first 2 units in Rosetta Stone Spanish level 1 since my teen was doing it too.

I am researching La Clase Divertida, Learnables, Power Glide Children's Spanish, Let's Learn Spanish, Abeka Spanish, etc.

Are there any of you who have used these or something else that your kids enjoyed. My little ones are boys - if that makes a difference. :)

Thanks for any suggestions.



Date Posted: 6/16/2010 2:23 PM ET
Member Since: 3/20/2007
Posts: 931
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No, no no to PowerGlide and its online companion, powerspeaK12.  We tried it and it's highly annoying and I can't stand the immersion method.  (I don't like RS either)  Muzzy is good for that age and your library may have it.

Here's a new one (still in beta) that I'm considering using - InstaSpanish:


Date Posted: 6/17/2010 2:57 PM ET
Member Since: 3/21/2009
Posts: 4,836
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I haven't settled on a curriculum yet either. Unfortunately, I don't have the advantage of knowing the language. I do speak & read a little, though. I envy your you & your daughter. One thing we've been doing is using living books like "Danny The Dinosaur" in Spanish and using the English books along with them. When he knows the English book by heart, it's so much easier to learn the Spanish version. I use a little vocabulary test program for learning the vocabulary words. And then we pick apart the spanish book and formulate questions and answers. It makes what could be a dry and repetitious subject more fun, by far. Good luck in your search. Let me know what you decide.


Last Edited on: 6/17/10 10:16 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/19/2010 12:06 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 422
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A lady I know wrote Spanish Curr specifically for this age group. Here's her website to check out: http://flipfloplearning.com/

Date Posted: 6/21/2010 7:42 AM ET
Member Since: 8/8/2008
Posts: 108
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Thank you to all responses. Please keep them coming. 

Date Posted: 6/22/2010 2:06 PM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2010
Posts: 262
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You might want to look at http://www.tprstorytelling.com/index.php?option=com_virtuemart&page=shop.browse&category_id=1&Itemid=6 , since you're fluent.  I taught Spanish before my kids were born, and I thought teaching my own to speak Spanish would be a breeze. It hasn't been that way. But the books on this website have really helped me to develop new approaches to my teaching, both with my own kids and with the other kids that I work with. I'm sorry that the version for the youngest kids is so expensive, but you might find that it was worthwhile. An alternative would be to buy some of the products from the next level up (the TM and the student reader might be enough, though I haven't seen these so am not sure).

I am not crazy about Power Glide. Despite its claims, it relies very highly on list-learning (at least in the version for older kids), and it is often inaccurate, in my experience. Rosetta Stone is much better and can be quite valuable, but it should NOT stand alone. Muzzy is nice but very expensive for what your kids are likely to learn from it; using the library is a good idea here.

I do not care for Abeka Spanish. I've looked it over and found very little that would be of help.

Learnables has a decent concept, but again, it really can't stand on its own. It would, also, be very easy to use it without ever engaging your brain, since you're just listening and looking at pictures the whole time. I did not find it to be of much use. It might be helpful to a motivated child who wanted to learn, but you would have trouble handing it to a kid and assigning a lesson.

Basically, I'd say to collect all the resources you can, and combine them all into your own custom program, as Elona says. You don't have to be very systematic about it; just spend some time every day working through some of your resources. You'll quickly realize which ones are most helpful to you, although this will change with time.

What I do now, though, doesn't really depend on a curriculum. I sit down with my student, and choose something to talk about. For example, my newest student knew how to talk about names. My name is Katie, what is your name? So we worked with that. Here are some of the things I said by the end of the session:

What is your name? Your name is Katie? Oh, that's right, my name is Katie. (NO!) Oh, no, you're right, YOUR name is Katie. What is my name? Beth? Yes, your name is Beth. No? MY name is Beth? Oh, you're right. What's my name? What's your name? Your name is Katie, right? My name is Katie too, right? No? Then what is my name? Is your mother's name Beth? No, MY name is Beth. HER name is John, right?...

And the dog - her name is Katie too, right? No? Her name is Comet? That's right, your dog's name is Comet. No? MY dog's name is Comet? Oh, okay, that's right, your name is Angel. No? Your name isn't Angel? Your DOG'S name is Angel! That's right. My dog's name is Angel. No - you're right - my dog's name is Comet! No, my dog's name is Sadie! Oh, my dog has two names! Sometimes her name is Comet, and sometimes it's Sadie! What's your dog's name? Do you have a dog? Does your dog have two names? Do you have a cat? Do you have a mouse? What's your mouses' name? Oh, you don't have a mouse? Laura has a mouse! Does Will have a mouse? Does your father have a mouse? What's your mouse's name? Oh, that's right, Laura has a mouse, not you! Who has a cat? Who has a mouse? What is the name of Will's mouse? Oh, Will doesn't have a mouse? Who has a mouse?

And so forth. I speak slowly enough that the student can understand everything. I'm dealing with someone old enough to read here, so I write down what I say at first (with a translation) and point to it while I say it, slowly. Every time I say a word, I point to the word I'm saying. When I say a new word, I write it down. I keep pointing to the words until I'm pretty sure that the student understands. If I want to give an explanation for something, I do that, in English, but very quickly, and then go back to what we're talking about. ("Quiero is I want, quieres is you want. See how the ending changes to show who's doing the wanting?") We have lots of laughing, lots of thoughtful looks, and I help out a lot. How much I expect the student to say depends on how quickly the student is picking things up. Just listening and understanding is enough at this point, but some kids get ready for speaking before others do.

In this way, you can cover a LOT of basic grammar and vocabulary without effort and with lots of fun! The next session, you can review these things some and then add a new twist. Probably you're tired of talking so much about names (although you shouldn't abandon it entirely), and you might start talking about the different animals that each person wants or has.

You can incorporate the vocabulary that the student has learned in other ways. In the case, my student has completed the first Rosetta Stone, so she has a fair amount of vocabulary on tap, but she doesn't have a clue about how to actually say anything (a major weakness with RS). So we have a lot to go on (though I didn't make much use of that, in the lesson I'm quoting from above). In other cases it would be different.

For change of pace, do practices of the sorts of things that beginning lessons normally focus on: numbers (count, you say the number and the student points, you point and the student says the number, (for kids old enough) you say "three plus two are six" and the student tells whether you're right, or you say "eight minus four" and the student answers). You can do colors and such as well - the sort of thing that beginning programs usually focus on, but without giving the students any way to actually use them.

For kids old enough that this won't confuse their phonics, practice the vowel sounds (point to them - first in order and then out). Read simple words, focusing on the vowel sounds.

The deal, here, is to give the student LOTS of chances to actually hear sentences with simple vocabulary in context. You don't need to master one grammar idea before moving to another, but you should introduce vocabulary carefully and slowly. You can speak mostly Spanish, but use English for the explanations when you think it would be helpful. Use real Spanish - it's okay to use a "more advanced" grammatical structure (like the subjunctive or comparisons); actually, comparisons come really easily to kids when they're presented this way. But watch your vocabulary, trying to keep it within their level of understanding, and don't hesitate to point to the words you've written. Don't be afraid to repeat sentences, because they need the practice. Speak slowly!

Okay, this is ridiculous. Hope this helps someone.

Date Posted: 6/23/2010 11:29 AM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2009
Posts: 227
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Try looking at http://www.teachspanish.com/lessonideas.htm .  We tried Learnables and I re-sold it.  We didn't like it.  It sounds like your kids have a great head start.  We just use song CD's (Teach Me Spanish, Boca Beth, etc.). 

Date Posted: 6/23/2010 3:27 PM ET
Member Since: 8/8/2008
Posts: 108
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Thank you Elizabeth for all that information- very valuable!!! I think others will find is very useful as well. And thank you for the tips from anyone else.

I am going to look into all of them.

I found out about El Espanol Facil (The Easy Spanish)...has anyone tried this one? It is Charlotte Mason style so the Old Schoolhouse Magazine reviewer says.

Date Posted: 7/3/2010 11:13 PM ET
Member Since: 8/8/2008
Posts: 108
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I have found El Espanol Facil (The Easy Spanish)  to be a Charlotte Mason approach to learning Spanish and that Wycliffe uses this to teach the language to their missionaries. 

I have not used it yet but did purchase it so I am eager to begin. There is a message/forum on their site to get advice I think so that would be a good place to start for anyone 

who is looking into it. 

I did end up buying also Powerglide Children's just to check it out since I got it at such a low price. So I will try both out and see which one my boys like better and of course we are

still doing Rosetta Stone which they like- I like the immersion method.

Hope this helps anyone who is still investigating...