Learn Spanish With Foreign Language Friends!

by multilingualmania on September 27, 2010

in Bilingual Language Development, bilingual parenting, Language Learning, Literacy and Biliteracy, Web Resources

Children At School

This week the website Foreign Language Friends offered us a trial pass to view and check out the resources that they have on their website, so we wanted to let you know all about what they have to offer!  The website is for children at the early education level, but would also be appropriate for students in kindergarten and first grade as well as some slightly older students who are learning Spanish. The website currently has the following “learning modules” in the following themes:

  • Shapes
  • Body parts
  • Colors
  • Transportation
  • Zoo Animals
  • Family
  • Food
  • Farm Animals
  • At the Beach
  • Emotions
  • Sea Animals
  • Sports

Foreign Language Friends is based on the full immersion methodology of language learning and on their website students are exposed to the Spanish language in authentic and meaning ways through the use of animation, songs, graphics, pictures and other multimedia experiences. The multimedia learning modules are structured in a predictable way where children are able to learn Spanish vocabulary through the use of the following components:

  1. Children view a screen with thematic content, such an ocean with fish in the shape of various shapes (i.e., circle, triangle, etc). The pictures are blown up to a larger size and students can hear the word being pronounced.
  2. Children can play a matching or “memory” type game with the vocabulary that they learned about.
  3. Children watch an animated cartoon where all of the vocabulary that was learned is authentically used throughout the animation.
  4. After each animation children participate in a game that is unique to each story and set of vocabulary words learned.
  5. Students are exposed to a song with the vocabulary words, and are also able to follow along with many of the words that are in the song.
  6. A spelling activity is provided with each of the vocabulary words that have been learned.
  7. Printable blackline masters with graphics are also available.

I think that the site has a lot of potential, especially considering that new thematic content will be added every two weeks. The cost of the site is $9.95 a month, which I think is a reasonable price if additional content is to be added every two weeks. Luckily there is a free seven day trial to feel out the site to see if it would be a right fit for your child. If your child is older than kinder or first grade, you might also want to use the trial to see if the content is engaging to them. I imagine that it would be interesting to some older students, but I know that each child is different so I recommend trying it out on a trial basis first.

Not only is the site helpful to children who are learning Spanish through the use of the multimedia experiences, but I also think that it would be an excellent tool for parents who would also like to learn Spanish along with their children as well as English speaking parents who have their children enrolled in English-Spanish Dual Immersion programs. By watching their children engage in the activities, parents will also pick up thematic vocabulary as well as hear the words pronounced.

It’s important to note that the site is geared more towards English-speaking children who are learning Spanish and need to develop vocabulary as opposed to the native Spanish-speaking child. However, I think that many Spanish-speaking children might like the stories and games that are in the program, and would also benefit from vocabulary enrichment and spelling. So, on second thought, it might also be useful for native Spanish speaking students as well as they are building literacy!

On a final note, if I could rule the world I would suggest that in the future the program have a printable pdf “predictable book” so that literate and older students can also read stories with the vocabulary words after they have seen the animated cartoon and participated in the other stories!

I think that the site is very promising, and I think that you should check it out. If you do, let us know what you think about it and how your child responded to it!

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Children Spanish September 30, 2010 at 1:10 am

I’ve been exclusively using Brainy Baby at the moment. Though when my children get older I obviously want a good set of resources I can use to continue their instruction. I’m also using children music that is based only in French.

I like the fact that this website has ‘modules’. It’s almost like a progress report. You want to be able to see how much of the foreign language your child has retained. Thanks for the review and link!

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