The Beth and Jim Conversations – 4

[Jim] Hi Beth! Last time around you filled me in about Piggyback songs: taking the tune of a known song and remoulding it with words of your own to create a new and powerful language learning tool. ¡Muy interesante! And you’ve been away on vacation recently, right? How was your trip?!

[Beth]  We took a family vacation to Toronto and found the city to be very Cosmopolitan, very diverse and very clean.  I had never been to Canada and loved it.  I took 2 years of French in college yet never retained the language because I never have an opportunity to speak French as I do daily with my Spanish.  No worries though!  I heard not one word of French during our 3 day stay.

[Jim] Oh, no French! I’m glad you had a lovely time.

I’d like to pick up from where I left off last week. I was talking about how we got started with Speekee; about how quality Spanish language content was absolutely fundamental as the product began to take shape.

We also realised it was going to be a great idea to include real life Spanish children because we knew from our extensive research how young learners love to watch other children, especially those a little older than themselves. Besides, what better way to learn Spanish than to watch and listen to those who know it best – the Spanish themselves!

[Beth]  Did you hold a contest or advertise for these children to perform in Speekee segments?

[Jim] Not a contest or competition, no. We hand picked a lovely bunch of kids from Arcos de la Frontera, the pretty white village in southern Spain where much of Speekee was filmed. These kids were not actors, and nor did we want them to be. We wanted utterly authentic local children – no experience necessary!

We supplied them with simple lines to say in their native language, and we were delighted with the results! The children are Nieve, Antonio, Marina, Lucía, Antonio, Victoriano, Ana Belén and Victoriano – plus my own two Joe and Maggie (all pictured below).

Next week, I’ll explain Joe and Maggie’s unique role in the Speekee series.

[Beth]  As I had mentioned, I started writing these piggyback / bilingual songs in a local preschool and found the children learned and retained so much that I had to keep writing new songs for each visit!  I had lived in Chile and Mexico as an exchange student and also married into a Latino family so throughout the past 30 years of my life I have maintained my fluency with family and friends.  Spanish is a wonderful part of my life, my family’s life and my community.  I feel so blessed to share with so many my simple approach to learning with music.

[Jim] That’s great Beth. Maybe you can share more about your Latino family connections next week (-;

Until then, ¡Adiós!

[Beth] Happy Educating!  ¡Sea feliz educando!

Speekee TV is available at – the first two weeks are absolutely free. Subscriptions are $7.50 per month thereafter, and you can cancel any time (-;

Boca Beth Bilingual Products are sold online at – we offer award-winning CDs, DVDs, coloring/activity books that are presented in both Spanish and English with FREE shipping available.

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