Thursday, May 5, 2011

No-Work Spanish

I recently was introduced to No-Work Spanish AudioBooks. In concept, I really like the idea behind these audio books. Their website speaks to how we learn our first language by listening as people talk and slowly you began to understand what they were saying. The idea with No-Work Spanish is that by listening to the store in English and Spanish, you can connect the two and little by little, you start to become familiar with the words and how they sound. Already learning (or teaching) Spanish? They indicate that listening to the audiobooks will increase the understanding.
    "No homework. No language drills. Just listen and learn."

The audio books are available on CD or if you prefer, you can purchase a copy to download (mp3 format). There are currently three titles available for this new program. For each, the book is read in parts. Before beginning the chapters, the reader shares the Spanish word for a few of the new words that you will hear in the next chapter to make the listener more familiar with those words. Each chapter is read, sentence by sentence first in English and then in Spanish. After the chapter is complete, the entire chapter is re-read just in Spanish.

Learn better by seeing and hearing? No problem, if you insert the disc into your computer, you can pull up a document in pdf format that contains the full story, just as it is read to you, including the new vocabulary words presented at the beginning of each chapter.

I listened to Poster Girl in my car. I found myself continuing to listening along to see what happens to Paula. I recognize that the idea is to slowly gain understanding of the language as you listen to the story and link the English and the Spanish, and maybe I am just not a language person (I think I am more of a math and science person - I took Latin in high school, in hopes of doing okay on the Verbal part of my SATs and still managed to score 200 points higher on math than on verbal), but I honestly think I would have to listen to the story several times to really think I was beginning to understand the Spanish. Out of fairness, I have only listened one time, so maybe I would find that the familiarity of the story would have me recognizing and understanding the words the second time around.

Unfortunately, neither of my children really got into it. My son immediately was uninterested in Poster Girl, because it was about a girl. Of course, you probably don't need to listen to every title anyways. He did listen to Yaks March on Washington for a little while. I had hoped that he would listen to more since he has studied some Spanish in school. I think part of the problem is that he only had the laptop to sit at and listen. I think that if he had had a cd player in his room still, that he might have listened to it while building legos or was coloring and probably would have enjoyed it.

I still think that the product has great potential. I think that obviously increasing the number of titles, which they are in the process of doing, would be very helpful. Providing age guidelines for the books might help too. I understand that since the "reader" is listening, that those guidelines vary slightly from actual books, but as an example I was able to find the original book for Poster Girl on Amazon and the age is 9 - 12. That might explain why in part, my daughter was not as interested in the story.

I also think that everyone learns differently. For those that are audio learners and don't have time or access to sign up for a class where they can listen to the teacher, the No-Work Spanish provides a way for them to learn the language in a fashion that works for them. The No-Work Spanish Audiobooks provide an alternative to the traditional ways of learning Spanish. I really like the No Homework, No Language Drills, Just Listen and Learn slogan. Listening to audiobooks certainly allows for a lower effort way to learn. For commuters and others that find themselves with time to listen and not time to study, this could be a great resource to start or enhance their learning of Spanish. Hearing the story spoken, rather than reading it yourself, really allows you to hear the inflections and accent of the Spanish - which I think is an important part of learning a language.

You can find out more about No-Work Spanish and even try the product (they will send you the first three chapters of one of their books for free) on the No-Work Spanish website. You can also find No-Work Spanish on Facebook.

No compensation was received for this post. Through MamaBzz, I received a copy of the first two No-Work Spanish Audiobooks, so that my family could experience the product and share that experience through a review on my blog. All opinions expressed are my own and that of my family.