52 Weeks of Family Spanish is a little book with a big goal – to help families speak the language, one weekly lesson at a time. Author Eileen McAree took up learning Spanish with her four children. Based on her experiences, she wrote a book that is more than Spanish for children; it offers manageable Spanish lessons for families. 52 Weeks of Family Spanish is available on Amazon in print or for the Kindle.
These Spanish lessons are designed for beginning learners who want to introduce the language to their children. The content is very much in line with the material presented in most programs of Spanish for children: greetings, personal information, family, days of the week, months, numbers, mealtime expressions, clothes, and fun facts about Spanish-speaking countries. However, the amount of vocabulary and grammar is very reduced because the book assumes the parent is also just beginning to learn the language.
What makes 52 Weeks of Family Spanish different, useful and fun is the way it structures the process of learning as a family. Being a teacher and a language student herself, Eileen got a lot of important things right in this book. Here are a few of the elements of 52 Weeks of Family Spanish that make it work in terms of language learning:
- The Spanish lessons are, as the cover says, “bite-sized.” The author knows that it makes more sense to really learn five words than to memorize and forget 15. She also understands that it takes thought and energy to use a new language with children, especially when you are just beginning to learn that language yourself. Each lesson has just a few words and phrases, making it possible to really use them during the week. There are built in review weeks, too.
- The structure encourages you to be consistent. The whole concept of the book is that you will learn over the course of a year at a realistic pace.
- The language is relevant and linked to daily activities. In the Idea! sections, there are simple ways to use the language with your kids. Based on these examples, your family will be able to think of other ways to use Spanish, too.
- Learning Spanish is fun! Reading 52 Weeks of Family Spanish you will be asking yourself why you haven’t been learning Spanish as a family for years. The author’s enthusiasm is contagious, so even simple phrases and activities are an accomplishment. This positive approach to learning Spanish is one of the best things you can give your children as language learners.
- Learning a language means taking risks. This book encourages you to speak Spanish, even though you may not do it perfectly. Speak Spanish, says the author, not just at home with your children, but to people in your community. This is how the best learners approach acquiring a language; there is no point in waiting until you can say each sentence perfectly. You have to use Spanish to learn it. Also, nothing makes learning more meaningful and satisfying than connecting it to the people around us.
- Active learners expand their knowledge. 52 Weeks of Family Spanish encourages you to act on your enthusiasm for Spanish by doing everything from making a tortilla española to looking at pictures of Iguazú Falls. Spanish for children means introducing them to culture and geography, too.
- Quality time with family matters! (Okay, this point is not about language learning). The structure and the approach of the book call for lively, consistent involvement with your kids. I agree completely that learning Spanish is an excellent way to spend time together.
52 Weeks of Family Spanish acknowledges that language learning is a long process. It gives parents who want to share the experience with their children a place to start. 52 Weeks of Family Spanish shows parents how to turn learning a language into a fun family endeavor.
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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.