Monday, March 10, 2008

Vamos a Jugar con Whistlefritz

In our area, there's no denying that Spanish has claimed the #2 spot for most spoken language. And if you travel just four blocks from our neighborhood, Spanish is easily heard more than English.

My knowledge of Spanish is limited. I had three years of it in high school, and one semester in college. So I can still remember basic words and phrases, but unless someone speaks to me in Spanish like they would to a two year old, I'm lost. I wish I would have learned a second language earlier, but languages were not offered any earlier than high school in my town.

Knowing that a second language should be introduced as soon as possible, I was excited to try the new Whistlefritz Spanish DVDs offered by the Parent Bloggers Network. Cordy knows some Spanish from Dora and Diego and other DVD series, but the words taught on these shows are very limited and surrounded by English. How can she learn more when Dora rarely speaks in complete sentences in Spanish and is limited to the same words used over and over?

The Whistlefritz series fills this gap. Like so many innovative products, Whistlefritz was started by a mom who was unhappy with the Spanish educational programming available, so she made her own. She knew from her own experience that full immersion Spanish teaching is the best - just like the way we learn our first language. And she also knew it is important to start when children are young - so this DVD series is aimed at 2-5 year olds.

We received two DVDs: Vamos a Jugar and Los Animales. These DVDs are a mix of bright, fun animation, puppets, and lots of kids, all led by one adult teacher. There are songs, learning games, and cute skits, all designed to teach new Spanish words in a fun environment. Not one word of English is spoken on the entire DVD. At first, I thought, how will Cordy know what in the world they're talking about without any instruction in English? And even with my knowledge of the language, the first time we played one, I felt a little lost at first.

But even though I didn't know what they were saying word for word, I soon began to understand what was being taught. The DVDs do a great job of using visual and audio cues to clue you in as to what's being said. For example, when they're doing a song like Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes in Spanish, it's hard to not know what they're talking about.

On just the second time through, Cordy was beginning to repeat back some of the animal names, along with telling me what they were in English, too. She may not know everything being said, but she's picking up more each time she watches it. While she's not speaking in full Spanish sentences yet (and I didn't think she would be), she is expanding her Spanish vocabulary far beyond what Dora and Diego can teach her.

And while these DVDs aren't intended for Mira's age, she is absolutely enamored with the animation, puppets and songs. I'm sure once she starts talking she'll be learning Spanish right along with English thanks to the Whistefritz series.

If you're serious about wanting your child to know a second language, the Whistlefritz Spanish DVD series is one you should strongly consider. The full immersion method is effective, and the colorful animation, songs and games make learning Spanish anything but passive. Kids are encouraged to join in, repeat back words, sing along with songs, and take an active role in their learning.

Win the series! Sign up for the Parent Bloggers Network mailing list in March and be entered to win your own set of the Whistlefritz series.

1 comment:

Rachel said...

That sounds perfect! Down here in South Texas it's almost like Spanish is the main language and English is the foreign language :-)
These sound perfect!!
Great review, I'll definitely look into these!