Learning Spanish Software Opinions Needed

PerkeMe

Member
Apr 13, 2009
475
0
My son is taking high school Spanish (beginner) and is not getting the help he needs from the teacher. I would like to find a software program that is easy to use and builds his vocabulary and increases comprehension.

Has anyone used a program that they have been happy with?
Or a program that was a waste of money?

Cost is an issue so Rosetta is out. On some sites a program called Berlitz and another called Rocket get pretty good reviews. Other sites have mixed info.

Any input is most appreciated! TIA!
 

prof ash

O.G.
Jun 10, 2007
2,414
394
USA
Hi PerkeMe, have you thought about getting a tutor? I am a high school Spanish teacher/tutor, and I love it because I can tailor the lesson to what each student needs. If you can find someone in your area that tutors, the person should have a load of Spanish resources (including tons of vocab!) to help him. Having a real connection to the language (communicating, not just memorizing the words, for example) is a sure way for him to retain the vocabulary. As a beginner in the language, I would recommend this, because lots of the software options will be teaching things he won't know yet. You could even get in touch with his guidance department and see if there are other Spanish teachers in the district who can tutor.

This way, he will have a lasting connection with the language rather than something from technology that can't really explain things and help him individually, KWIM? Rosetta Stone, Berlitz, and there is 1 other software which I can't remember the name right now, but those are the only 3 I know of that have great reviews and are well-know/widely used.

Best of luck to you! I applaud you for taking the reigns this early and wanting him to engage in a new language. It will benefit him greatly :smile:
 
Last edited:

bipolarbear

Member
Jun 10, 2009
735
0
I agree! Americans have such a hard time with language because much of our classroom education is geared toward grammar much more so than actual conversation and verbs.

I've taught myself Spanish for work over the last few years and have tried several programs - more audio than software. Pimsleur is spendy but ok. I have found the Michel Thomas system (a European product - you can find it on ebay or Amazon. For the full range you need to go to Amazon.uk) seems to be the best. It seems like it starts slow, but within an hour it ramps up fast.

Also, if you can find a native-speaking tutor, that would be the best way to really get conversation down if you want him to learn Spanish in a functional manner. One other thing which is very helpful is to watch any movies that you watch in English with Spanish subtitles, and then move to watching them in Spanish with English subtitles. It's a good way to pick up idioms and speech you actually use.

Good luck to him and you - join him in his learning so you can speak together. Given the amount of Spanish speakers joining us, you will be sure to use Spanish as well!!
 

caxe

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O.G.
Mar 31, 2007
4,415
2
Everywhere
My son is taking high school Spanish (beginner) and is not getting the help he needs from the teacher. I would like to find a software program that is easy to use and builds his vocabulary and increases comprehension.

Has anyone used a program that they have been happy with?
Or a program that was a waste of money?

Cost is an issue so Rosetta is out. On some sites a program called Berlitz and another called Rocket get pretty good reviews. Other sites have mixed info.

Any input is most appreciated! TIA!
I have free access to Rosetta Stone software, the Spanish version, and it's not that great in my opinion, so don't worry about not being able to use it. Does your son have a Nintendo DS? I have My French Coach (to help me brush up on the French I learned in high school and college) as well as My Spanish Coach (I married into a Hispanic family, so I'm slowly teaching myself Spanish so that I can communicate with them more effectively). I find that the DS software focuses more on vocabulary, so you might be interested. It gets good reviews on Amazon. However, I wholeheartedly agree with getting a tutor. If you can, hire one whose first language is Spanish. I find that I learn better from someone who speaks Spanish or French as a first language, as opposed to someone who just went to school to study the language. For example, I learned a lot more from my college French instructor, who was born in Zaire/Congo, than I did from my high school French teacher, who spoke German as a first language. I can't put my finger on the difference, but there is one. To me. Software can be good, but it will never substitute for that one-on-one instructional interaction. I find that I pick the language up better, and remember more, when my in-laws teach me words and phrases than I ever do when I using Rosetta Stone or the DS or the numerous and now nameless other software I've used over the years. So you may want to think about that.

Good luck!
 

PerkeMe

Member
Apr 13, 2009
475
0
Thank you for all of the support in my search!
Hearing positive encouragement from teachers assures me that I am doing the right thing! I only wish more of the teachers at my son's school were equally as interested.

I did try a tutor over the summer and even though he was a native of Mexico and an honor student at a local university with prior tutoring experience...it was a disaster. And it got pretty expensive pretty fast.

I will continue to look into a software program to at least build vocab and once all the local college students have settled in, I will look into trying that route again.
 

PerkeMe

Member
Apr 13, 2009
475
0
Does your son have a Nintendo DS?
No, he has about a million, but no DS.

(I married into a Hispanic family, so I'm slowly teaching myself Spanish so that I can communicate with them more effectively).
Any handsome, single, older brothers you can ship my way, lol?!

If you can, hire one whose first language is Spanish. I find that I learn better from someone who speaks Spanish or French as a first language, as opposed to someone who just went to school to study the language. I can't put my finger on the difference, but there is one.
I agree. His Spanish teacher last year was from India and bless her heart, I could barely understand her speaking English.
Really, a brother would be great...:graucho:
 

truegem

O.G.
Feb 13, 2006
1,806
10
Have you checked at your library...my library has multiple programs that you can check out and use. Also check out some of the podcasts through iTunes that are free and I think bbc has a site...let me find the link...http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/ . I haven't used any of these sites or podcast enough consistently to make any progess but hey they are all free. Also my community college has an online program called Speed Spanish that really did help when I was using it consistently and it was $99.

That is my cost conscious 2 cents.
 

Laria

Member
Jul 22, 2006
1,073
0
I don't know if you have a Ross near you but my sister found all these learn languages software there for about $10.00 each. I know she got French, Italian, Spanish, German... I don't think she has run them yet but they are very reasonably priced.

Also, the libraries here have homework help services here, you may want to see if your library has anything similar to help your son with Spanish.

Have you guys also considered making flash cards? Its a bit more time consuming but when I took foreign languages making them and using them helped me learn vocabulary.
 

chinahopes

Member
Oct 26, 2008
1,088
0
37
the Beach, SC
because he is just beginning, I would not pay the 500+ for a program. If you have limewire, or some other music downloading program, look up pimsleur. It is quite effective for beginners (and all the way through advanced learning), and it is free. They are 30 minutes each and there are around 30 of them (maybe more, but that's how many I have)... it can be downloaded on to an iPod and he could listen to it himself, or listen aloud on the computer
 

MissVirgo

Member
Aug 11, 2009
803
0
Somewhere Over the Rainbow
My son is taking high school Spanish (beginner) and is not getting the help he needs from the teacher. I would like to find a software program that is easy to use and builds his vocabulary and increases comprehension.

Has anyone used a program that they have been happy with?
Or a program that was a waste of money?

Cost is an issue so Rosetta is out. On some sites a program called Berlitz and another called Rocket get pretty good reviews. Other sites have mixed info.

Any input is most appreciated! TIA!
Try your library. You can check out some programs and also see if your library offers Rosetta Stone. My library offers Rosetta Stone online for free. I just need to set up an account with my library card.
 

truegem

O.G.
Feb 13, 2006
1,806
10
thanks MissVirgo...I just checked my libraries online resources and there is a language portal...cool...nice to know
 

dooneydiva

Member
May 22, 2007
802
0
New Jersey
Hola, Perkeme!

I am about to start my first year as a high school Spanish teacher. I would suggest to you that your son purchase some CDs (or download music...however the kids do it these days) that are in the Spanish language. I am not a native speaker, but Spanish music greatly improved my pronunciation and later helped to develop my vocabulary. There are also some funny, modern videos on YouTube that might teach him while entertaining. You should do this with him to make sure they are appropriate.
Depending on what t.v. service you have at home, you may also find that MTV has a channel for Latinos. It's called MTV-Tres (MTV-3). It is geared toward Hispanic teens that may or may not be bilingual (many of its programs include subtitles for those that do not speak the language, which is sadly common to some latino kids raised in the States). He should try to watch as much of those types of programs as possible. Check out websites like univision.com OR telemundo.com. He can browse the sites and just get used to reading in Spanish.
Of course, I do not know what you've been through already with this teacher. Assuming you have already spoken with him/her about your son's situation, you should go see his counselor with your concerns. Perhaps, there is a way they could get him extra help or maybe they could switch him to a different teacher at the same level. Buena suerte! (good luck!)