Spiral learning in Speekee
Young children enjoy and appreciate familiarity.
As a parent, have you ever noticed how you can read the same book over and over again to your child without them becoming bored? Okay, so you may get bored yourself (!) with these repeated readings, but don’t underestimate the positive effect for your child. Children take comfort in things they recognise – and that goes for their language learning too.
Familiarity can act as a solid foundation for children, something on which they can build. Once they know the basis they are working with, they can extend their knowledge.
This is largely how Spiral learning works. It’s a learning process that combines progression with revision. So, you learn something new and you revisit something you’ve seen before, such as language which has been presented already. This language, which is being recycled for a second (or third or fourth) time, can often be presented in a new way.
How does Speekee use Spiral learning?
Here’s an example: We first learn how to say Hello in Spanish (Hola) – then we add a name on the end (Hola Speekee).
It’s simple, effective and easy to build on. For instance, changing the name: Hola Antonio; Hola Lucía. Or adding a key phrase afterwards: Hola Antonio, ¿qué tal? (Hello Antonio, how are you?)
The Speekee language learning system provides a structure that children very quickly get to know.
Take the original songs as an example. In addition to the new song for each episode, there are three repeated songs which always feature. ‘Hablo español’ (I speak Spanish) comes first and and is exactly the same every time – in pictures and in words. Then there’s ¿Donde vamos? (Where are we going?), in which the lyrics change only slightly depending on the episode content. The Adiós (Goodbye) song keeps its lyrics but the pictures change each time because it serves as a review of each individual episode.
Just as the structure is crucial, equally so is the language within that structure. There are 273 Spanish words in Speekee, which may not seem many for a language course. However, Speekee is all about repetition (as we have alreday seen, children love this) and using different combinations of the key words to create new Spanish sentences.
So children who enjoy Speekee can enjoy experimenting with Spanish, as well as learning important words and phrases off by heart. All of this is achieved by regular exposure (watching Speekee) and continous reinforcement of the language, as each new episode builds on the one that went before it.
Jim Porter is a co-founder of Speekee®, the most comprehensive Spanish for kids learning program ever to appear online. Jim’s work includes this homeschool Spanish curriculum and this homeschool Spanish curriculum (not a misprint – he wrote two!) and this Primary School Spanish curriculum.
Jim began his Spanish learning journey in 1990. He has been a language teacher since 1994 and he lives in sunny southern Spain. He has two bilingual children. More…