This year I wanted to move forward with Spanish more aggressively, and I wanted a program with a strong audio component. In fact, since I already had a couple of books with which I was very happy, I really wanted a strictly audio program. The first one we tried was Pimsleur; after listening to the free sample lesson I bought the eight-lesson mini-package so we could try it out. My third grader has been using this set for about five weeks now, on her own. She does ten minutes of a lesson three nights a week, listening to the CD and speaking when prompted. The lessons move slowly with lots of repetition and using few verb forms. The speakers pronounce the words clearly and new words are pronounced one syllable at a time, starting from the final syllable and moving backwards through the word. I would very much like to have access to a transcript of the lessons so that I could know what words and phrases have been covered without listening to each lesson, but that does not seem to be an option.
After a few lessons of Pimsleur had been completed, I felt it was time to look into buying the complete Year 1 package. In the course of researching what, exactly, to buy, I learned from reviews that Pimsleur’s vocabulary was a bit formal and not necessarily a good fit for casual use in Latin America, so I thought we’d try a more informal program before committing. I purchased the eight-lesson set for Learning Spanish Like Crazy, which focuses on Latin American Spanish and informal usage. My third grader despised these lessons–they moved fast, repetition was light, many different verb forms were introduced in a single lesson. They did offer written transcripts of the lessons, which was a positive, but she wasn’t able to follow the pace of the lessons at all.
I have not yet purchased the big Pimsleur package, but we are back working through those lessons and that purchase is probably not far off. I can remedy the deficiency in vocabulary pretty easily, but I can’t make up for a complete lack of comprehension.