Learn Spanish with babbel.com
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Learn Spanish with babbel.com passes basic muster for language learning but isn't particularly inspiring or motivating overall. British English spellings and Castilian Spanish (which is, in gross terms, Spanish with a lisp) might confuse kids with American roots. A lot of the content relies heavily on images to illustrate words; this is good for kids who are visual learners, but otherwise the images won't be very appealing to the younger set.
What kids can learn
Language & Reading
- letter or word recognition
Thinking & Reasoning
- applying information
- part-whole relationships
- academic development
Engagement, Approach, Support
There are vivid images, but the low-energy presentation and lack of progress tracking fail to impress.
While learning activities are quite varied, the fill-in-the-blank sentences are too difficult, verbs are conjugated automatically, and grammar lessons are absent.
The lack of pronunciation tips may leave some kids frustrated. Though the device vibrates on wrong answers, no rewards are given for success.
What's it about?
After email registration, kids choose from a list of thematic vocabulary lessons in the main menu. Choosing any theme leads to a second level of topics. Within each topic kids can choose one of three options: Learn and Remember, Deepen Your Knowledge, or Vocabulary. Learning activities allow kids to hear, see, and pronounce words. Kids are asked to match pronunciations with English words (including image clues), select initial letters, spell whole words, and use words to complete sentences. Kids also can browse a complete list of vocabulary words.
Is it any good?
LEARN SPANISH WITH BABBEL.COM has some strengths, like scored pronunciation (Android only) and an extensive set of images, but in the end it fails to captivate. Repetition is definitely put to use, but there aren't any rewards or statistics with the Android version; neither version -- iOS or Android -- tracks progress. Also, the app conjugates verbs automatically, and the fill-in-the-blank sentences are often strange, complex, and loaded with advanced grammar and vocabulary.
On the plus side, the amount of content in the app is relatively extensive. There are 30 themes with about 10 sets of 12 vocabulary items in each, offering about 3,000 total words. Also, the pronunciation tool works well; kids will really have to use their uvulas to get high scores. However, if your goal is to help your kids really internalize a new language, Learn Spanish with babbel.com doesn't provide a truly immersive experience.
Families can talk about...
Research different Spanish dialects and discuss why they exist.
Encourage kids to initiate conversations in Spanish with neighbors or friends.
Get your teen into second-language courses to fulfill college requirements.