Sunday, January 15, 2012

Kid Start Spanish Review

Update:  Reading Amigo has changed their name to Kid Start Spanish, so I updated the review accordingly.  You can check out their facebook page here. Also, my son, who has become SUPER picky about movies and videos, still enjoys and asks for his Reading Amigo videos.  

Recently we had the opportunity to review part of the Kid Start Spanish program.  After being so disappointed by the Wink To Learn Spanish set (you can read my post about it here), I had very little expectations of this new program, but ended up being pleasantly surprised!

Our Kid Start Spanish came with four disks, a music CD, four sets of flashcards, a book of opposites, and a set of playing card type flashcards for a memory game.  There are also interactive features for an ipod or ipad.  However, I haven't used them, since we have neither.

The instructions from Kid Start Spanish recommend spending about four weeks per disk, watching it once or twice a day.  They also recommend using the corresponding flash cards twice a day, pointing to the from words left to right and very quickly.

For the most part, the videos are very similar in format to Your Baby Can Read.  They are entirely in Spanish, with native Spanish speakers.  First they show the word, pronounce it a couple of times, and show a corresponding video clip.  The word being shown is pronounced slowly enough that a parent that doesn't speak Spanish would still be able to learn it to do the flash cards.  I was a little unsure what Xander would think, since I never really speak to him entirely in Spanish (I know, I know, I should).  He doesn't seem to mind that the video is all in Spanish, though.  Every few minutes there is a song, which really helps keep Xander interested (he LOVES dancing).  Some of the songs are really catchy, and are included on the music CD.  He has been watching it once a day, several days a week.

I am really happy with the video!  It shows quite a few words, and changes it up enough to keep Xander interested.  They also repeat many of the words over the course of the video, which I think is good for reinforcement.  They second showing of the word is far enough apart from the first, that it isn't annoying to watch.  My only complaint would be that for some (not all) of the words, they repeat the same video clips for the second showing.  Most of the words are things familiar to a young child.  The ones I can think of off the top of my head are nose, ears, head, arms up, ball, circle, clap, kick, bird, chick, yes, no, and dinosaur, as well as various colors (all in Spanish, of course).  They even show some images of famous landmarks like Machu Pichu and the Sphinx.

Below is a picture of some of the flash cards from the first set.  One side has just the word, and the other has the word with a corresponding picture.  Honestly, we have not used the flash cards much.  Xander would probably like them if I did a few at a time, but there are just too many to go through all of them.  I will say that the cards are made from durable material.  It seems like they should stand up to the normal wear and tear of toddlers.  I think I will probably use these a lot more in the future when Xander has more verbal skills and we can make a game out of it.

Here is a shot of the book.  It is entirely in Spanish and lists some opposites and some colors.  The pages are pretty sturdy, although not indestructible.  I haven't worked much with Xander on opposites yet, in any language.  I know this book will be a good asset when we get there!

These are the memory cards.  I have to say, I am very excited for when Xander is old enough to use these!  There are a bunch of them, with picture and word pairs.  They are designed to play memory, but they also seem great for matching games and bingo.  Because they are playing card size, they would be easy to throw into a bag for on the go activities.

All in all, I am happy with the program.  It is so much better than the other Spanish programs we have tried!  Not only do I like it, Xander is interested (which is really all that matters).  While we do not use all of the components exactly as intended, I still think Xander will benefit from it.


  1. Kaysha, Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on this program. I am thinking about purchasing it for my 15 month old son. How old is Xander? Do you think it would be appropriate? Are there any instructions about what to do at what age?

    How long are the videos that he watches everyday? I am trying to take a minimal approach to tv before 2 years of age, as I know very well the effects of tv on language learning as an applied linguist.

  2. He is 14.5 months now, but it all kind of depends on the child. He is particular about which movies he will watch. Unfortunately, they do not have instructions based on age.

    The videos are maybe 20 min or so. I try to keep his tv to one or two twenty min video a day, so it is perfect for us.


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