Thursday, May 10, 2007

Que? Habla Espanol?

In our area, it's useful to know a little Spanish. There are a lot of Mexican immigrants in this neighborhood, some of which speak very little English. All of the research shows that the earlier you start a second language, the easier it is to pick up, so I've been making a serious effort to teach Cordy what little rusty Spanish I remember from high school.

Luckily, Cordy is a huge fan of Dora and Diego, and she's picking up Spanish words quickly. She can count to ten, knows a few phrases, etc. We'll forget the fact that it also can work against me, like when we're in the post office and she's having a tantrum and shouting "Ayudame!" (help me)

As many parents know, Dora can be a little...shall we say...grating on the nerves. I have been looking for other ways to introduce Spanish to Cordy that don't involve that little football head girl with no volume control. Thankfully, Parent Bloggers came to the rescue with a copy of Boca Beth's DVD "I Like Animals/Me Gustan los Animals" as well as a Boca Beth puppet, mini-maraca, CD and coloring book.

The Boca Beth DVD is a well-produced program (not a fancy production, but expensive production values weren't needed) that introduces each animal in English, then in Spanish, and then uses the name of the animal in an English and Spanish sentence. So while a child is learning animal names, they're also picking up some other basic words and grammar at the same time.

Cordy enjoyed watching the animals, and I think she liked that they were real animals and not animated ones. She would often shout out the English names of the animals, even before the DVD said them in English, and then once she heard the Spanish names, repeat those as well. She also enjoyed the songs, many of which are familiar tunes with some changes to the words.

I appreciated the fact that the program was slow paced, without flashy animation or quick cuts that so often distract toddlers. And I was happy to get a refresher course in Spanish as well.

Also included on the DVD is an interactive class session. Cordy wasn't as excited about this, and eventually lost interest. Then again, she really has never been interested in structured group sessions, so even seeing it on TV is apparently a no-go for her.

The CD is also a nice reinforcement that works well with the DVD, although it's not as easy to sing along with the Spanish unless you know the words. The puppet was also a big hit, often sending Cordy into fits of laughter and exclamations of, "That's silly!"

Overall, Boca Beth is a well-designed system, involving several different tools that work together to introduce Spanish to young children. I really like that it is not just a passive DVD, but an interactive system with puppets, coloring books, CDs, and musical instruments. If you've ever found yourself muttering insults at Dora while your toddler is enraptured, give Boca Beth a try.

Win it! Leave a comment over at Parent Bloggers to win your own copy of Boca Beth!


Keri said...

A quick question, does the DVD have subtitles or closed captions? You can email me at: kiwibrooks@gmail. Many thanks!

P.S. Good luck with your baby, whenever she decides to arrive! =D

Beth Butler said...

Hola/Hi -

Beth Butler here, founder of the Boca Beth Program. The subtitles are used at the bottom of most frames in fonts easy to recognize by children learning to read in both languages.

Enjoy the second language journey.

Boca Beth

AnimalEnthusiast said...

This program sounds like a great way to introduce a second language to a child. I'm having a baby in a few months, and I want to introduce a second language to her eventually, so it is great to be aware of programs such as this. Thanks for the information!