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SuperKids Software Review - The Parent's and Teacher's Guide to Childrens' Software
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spacer all reviews > > > learn Spanish software

Hooked on Spanish

Hooked on Phonics

Ages 4 to 6

Rating Scale
5 = great,    1 = poor
Educational Value
Kid Appeal
Ease of Use

Hooked on Spanish screen shot arrow indentSystem Requirements

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Hooked on Spanish is a learning system designed as an introduction to Spanish for young children. The basic (Yellow level) kit includes: a language CD with a dozen lessons, 29 vocabulary flashcards, 3 short paperback books, a parent's guide, and a workbook. Sounds like a lot, right?

Upon launching the program, users are asked to enter their names, or select their name from a list if they previously used the program. New users are then taken to the start of the program, while previous users can resume where they left off, or go back and repeat any of the dozen lessons on the disk.

The program begins with the introduction of several friendly guides: Wesley and his cat named Tricks, and Wesley's friends Alex and Naddy. Users are quickly taught how to introduce themselves, "Me llamo Alex" and to say hello (hola) and goodbye (adios). Users are given ample practice opportunities, with a series of games that use repetitive drills to improve pronunciation and retention. In each, correct answers are met with praise, and incorrect answers with encouragement and ultimately hints. The same process is used in each of the subsequent lessons, covering numbers (1-10), primary colors, basic shapes, and age.

The workbook is used to reinforce the oral lessons on the CD, showing the words in written form to the user for the first time. Most of the exercises in the workbook are in the form of suggested activities, rather than worksheets.

The three printed storybooks that are included with the program are designed to utilize the vocabulary words that have been introduced on the CD. Interestingly, they are in English. The Parent's Guide suggests that after reading the books, parents encourage their children to go back through the book and identify the words they know in Spanish. Our reviewers reported limited success implementing this suggestion.

One pet peeve of our reviewers - Hooked on Spanish comes in what can only be described as a giant airbox, i.e., a package filled mostly with air. Resembling in size and shape the largest box of cereal you've ever seen, the product itself takes up only a sliver of the airspace the box encloses. Not only did the package not fit on our reviewers' bookshelves, it also represented an unnecessary landfill burden. Note to publishers: there are better ways to communicate value than using a giant, empty cardboard box. In fact, based on our reviewers' comments, it can be counterproductive to that goal, when big expectations are unfulfilled.

Educational Value

Hooked on Spanish does a nice job in introducing and providing practice opportunities for some basic Spanish vocabulary. The methodologies are sound, and the progressions reasonable. Unfortunately, our reviewers felt that the range of material presented was too limited.

Kid Appeal

Our young testers initially found Hooked on Spanish attractive; they wanted to open the box, check out the flashcards, and work in the workbook. But after just a couple of sessions, they wanted to know how to say more words than the program covered.

Ease of Use / Install

Hooked on Spanish installed without difficulty on our test computers. One minor quibble - when we read the click-through License Agreement, we noted that if you declined to accept the Agreement, you could return the UNOPENED product for a full refund. Of course, to read this Agreement, you would have to open the package...

Program navigation was simple and intuitive, and required little or no reading ability. Some exercises in the program allowed the user to skip ahead if they felt comfortable with the material, while other exercises did not offer this option. Several of our young testers expressed some frustration with this inconsistency.

Best for... / Bottom-Line

Hooked on Spanish set high expectations, with its famous publisher namesake, and multi-component, integrated learning system packaged in a large, impressive box complete with carrying handle. Unfortunately, it didn't meet those expectations: the educational content was limited to approximately 30 words and just a couple of phrases, and the non-CD components were surprisingly limited in scope and depth. We think there are better values out there for introductory Spanish for young children.

See SuperKids' comparisons with other learn Spanish software titles, and the Buyers Guide for current market prices of this Winodws-only program

System Requirements
PC: Windows 2000 SP4/XP, Pentium III 500 MHz or faster cpu, 150 MB hard drive space, 128 MB RAM, 16-bit depth graphics, 800 x 600 or 1024 x 768 display, 4X or faster CD-ROM, 16-bit sound card, 4-MB video card.

Reviewed on:
-     Pentium 4 running Windows XP Home SP2, with 512 MB RAM and 24x - CD-ROM
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