With that being said, sometimes I do get a little wistful. And Speekee, a Spanish program for younger kids, is definitely a wistfulness instigator.
When Dragonette was 2, she was already a master of the English language. She could talk your ear off and if that got old, was not beyond reading your other ear off. So I, her earless mother, was always on the look out for something to pour into that head of hers. I tried to interest her in French, after all, I had taken four years of it in high school and her father had taken two, so I figured we could handle the basics. But that stubborn streak (I won't mention where she got that) was a mile long and dear little Dragonette insisted upon Spanish.
Now let me just begin that a decade ago in a small town NE town in Ohio, Spanish was not in abundance. Not in the stores, nor the population, and definitely not the library. The few videos available were, to a 2 year old, insipid. Needless to say, other than what Dora the Explorer taught, Dragonette did not learn Spanish.
What I would have done if SpeekeeTV had been available to us like it was these last few months! Imagine a Sesame Street that teaches Spanish instead of English. Complete with puppets, kids, colors, numbers, subtitles in English and Spanish, and catchy songs.
|Speekee, Dino, and Lupi|
Speekee is program that currently has 10 episodes that are 15-20 minutes long. There is a host puppet, Speekee, along with sock puppets Lupi and Dino, a human man named Jim, and a cast of human kids. There is a loose format to each episode, where opening and closing songs are sung, along with visiting a new place each episode (the store, the playground, the zoo, the school, etc.) Vocabulary is covered for each place, as is a review of numbers, colors, and vocabulary from earlier episodes. Common phrases (like "Where are we going") are used repetitively and everything is captioned on your computer screen in English and Spanish. That is very convenient for visual learners who need to see what is being said, and for parents who don't have a clue about Spanish.
|10 episodes available|
|Activities to download/print|
Now the suggested ages for this program is 2-10 years old. I don't have any little littles around anymore, but I signed up for this program because Dragonette has finally got her wish and is enrolled in Spanish 1 and I was intrigued about what she would think about the songs.
We started watch on the computer, but four of us crowded around the monitor is not a pretty sight. We were thrilled when the Wii option was added, as watching on our TV was much more comfortable. On the Wii, Speekee was more challenging, as there were no subtitles. This would be true immersion for first time viewing, or a good way to test if you really are picking up the Spanish. If I had young children, I would have definitely let this run often during the day, but as a family with older kids, we often found ourself waiting for Dad to get home so we could watch as a family. What other puppets do you know that inspire a whole family to sit down and watch?
|Speekee and Jim|
So if I had a time machine, I would definitely take Speekee back to that small NE Ohio town's library and deal with the consequences.
Speekee is available in 2 formats, DVD and streaming (SpeekeeTV).
- The Speekee DVDs are produced in Europe and use the PAL format for colour encoding. US / Canadian systems use the NTSC format as standard. Many, but not all, North American DVD players are capable of playing PAL media. If you are based in North America, please check your equipment before purchase. Alternatively, subscribe for Speekee TV.
- 4 DVD video discs, 34-track audio CD plus 70 page guide
- 30 money-back guarantee
- The price is in British pounds (95.00) so your price will depend on the current exchange rate
- All 10 episodes plus the activities
- can be streamed on your computer with the subtitles or through your Wii's Internet channel without the subtitles (great for practicing to see if you really know what is going on)
- can subscribe monthly for $7.50 and yearly for $75.00