Spanish for You! is a curriculum for grades 3-8 that can be used for self-study, home school, in classrooms or in after-school programs. It was created by a Spanish teacher as an affordable, easy-to-use program that engages children with the language and also teaches grammar basics. I have not had the pleasure of teaching with this curriculum yet, but looking at the structure and materials, I believe that it is an effective, well-designed program for teaching children Spanish.
Each Spanish for You! book is centered around a theme, like Fiestas or Estaciones. A book has content for an entire school year. This curriculum comes with lots of activities, worksheets and audio, ensuring that children get enough practice to master the material. The program teaches key components that can be combined in different ways so that children can communicate in Spanish even as beginners. It also gives them the essential grammar basics they need to continue, and excel, in high school programs.
You can find lots of specific information on the Spanish for You! website. These are a few of the features that impressed me:
– The curriculum is designed so that it can be used by parents or teachers who do not speak Spanish. I am usually skeptical of this claim, but in this case, I believe it can work. The content is organized and supported in such a way that students can engage with it independently, while teachers and parents are given guidance in structuring interactive activities. There are also clear instructions on how to approach studying the language and how to use the materials. The audio is accessible, with lots of listening exercises. Also, every worksheet and activity comes with an answer sheet.
Although parents and teachers who do not speak any Spanish will not be able to individualize the material the way Spanish speakers will, they will be able to facilitate the learning experience. For parents and teachers who do speak or have studied Spanish, this will be a very easy curriculum to use.
– There are lesson guides and worksheets for different grade levels that can be used with each book. This means that students in home school situations can use the same book and practice together. Many home school families work with private instructors for language. Having taught in this situation, I see being able to use the same book with different levels as a real advantage in terms of preparation time.
– There is lots of opportunity to read and write the language. Undoubtedly, this stems in part from being a curriculum where students can work independently while assuring accuracy and mastery. I like lots of written activities because in my experience many students internalize language patterns better when they go through the physical motion of writing. Of course they need to hear and speak Spanish, but reading and writing also build skills at a deep level.
– Spanish for You! provides for consistent exposure to the language over time with plenty of repetition. This curriculum acknowledges that learning a language takes practice. It gives students plenty of activities to get that practice. While children will undoubtedly find some of the exercises more entertaining than others, they will all contribute to a strong foundation in the language.
– There are dozens of games and fun activities in the book and on the website. Many involve actions, manipulatives, and drawing. These activities are an important part of the curriculum and will be effective with a variety of learning styles.
– The content is structured so that it is not overwhelming. There is a lot of material in each book, but it is meant to be done over a whole year. Children will have to pay attention and think, but that does not mean that learning Spanish will be boring or too difficult. The length of the lessons is appropriate for each grade level.
– In a classroom setting, students new to the curriculum can begin a school year with experienced Spanish for You! students at the same grade level and using the same package. In this curriculum, the language is taught as components to be combined in different ways. The more packages students complete, the more components they are know so that they can use Spanish in more complex ways. With this structure, new students can successfully integrate with their grade level while experienced students have the opportunity to continue to progress. From the standpoint of using this curriculum in a classroom, this is a great advantage!
– This is a very affordable curriculum. The curriculum package with all the content for different levels for an entire year is $64.95. For homeschool families who have several children, this is a bargain.
– The company provides a full refund if you are not satisfied. This is an unusual claim for a curriculum. It shows a well-placed confidence in the program and also in children learning the language.
Choosing a curriculum for school or home study is not easy. It is an important decision, yet it is often hard to evaluate materials online. Spanish for You! has free mini-lessons from the books available to download on their website so that you can try a lesson. You may find that this straightforward, structured approach to language study puts your family or school on the road to learning Spanish.
Disclosure: The company sent me a copy of this product to be able to write the article. All of the ideas and opinions are my own.