Primary

16th June 2008 at 01:00

EL ESPANOL ES UN JUEGO DE NINOS. London Borough of Richmond and the Spanish Embassy Education Office pound;5. From Spanish Education Office, 20 Peel Street, London W8 7PD

EARLY START SPANISH - Tu y yo. Early Start Languages, PO. Box 235, Dover CT17 0GN pound;51 plus pamp;p

The Nuffield Inquiry has drawn attention to our dismal track record for producing effective speakers of foreign languages and endorsed the introduction of foreign language teaching in primary schools. So it is very gratifying to see material for the teaching of Spanish at primary school level. These two starter packs are delightful, well thought out sets of materials which should appeal to teachers and pupils. Inevitably, they both contain similar topics and exercises and approximately the same number of structures and range of vocabulary - namely personal details such as name, age, family, pets, numbers and colours.

El espanol es un juego de ninos comprises a ring binder book of photocopiable worksheets, flash cards, teachers notes and a cassette. The exercises are clear and designed for listening activities from the cassette. The material targets nine to 11-year-olds and is designed for use by non-specialist teachers. The clarity and quality of the taped maerial is commendable as is the amount of repetition.

Early Start Spanish - Tu y yo is aimed at five and six-year-olds. It uses an excellent video, filmed in the region of La Rioja in northern Spain, and a teacher's pack containing a step-by-step guide on how to exploit the language of the video with games, activities and flash cards.

The video offers a wonderful opportunity for young learners to explore the real Spain away from the crowds of the costas and to dispel some of the stereotypes. For instance, we actually see people wrapped up in winter woollies in the streets to welcome the Three Kings on January 6.

Each section of the video lasts just five minutes and focuses on a small structure of language shown in context and repeated by different native speakers.

Each corresponding section of the pack offers explanation, background information and cross curricular activities related to the video programme. There are easy, memorable songs for pupils to listen to and perform.

Both packs are excellent value for money, within the reach of most school budgets and just waiting for an enthusiastic teacher to take up the challenge.

Mary O'Sullivan is head of Spanish at the University of Hertfordshire


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