Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Spanish, Bilingual LeapFrog Toys--a lot to choose from...

Just wanted to spread the word about a new blog I started showcasing learning toys from LeapFrog called LeapFrog Learning Toys Review. I'm very excited about LeapFrog because they offer so many toys and reading activities not only in English, but in Spanish and bilingual.

What I've done on the blog is searched out the Spanish and bilingual toys on LeapFrog (as well as English) and put up a post about one toy a day.

The toys are also categorized for visitors to easily search for the type of language learning toys they want.

Please visit and if your child has any of the LeapFrog toys displayed, leave a comment to let us know how it's doing for your family.

These toys would make wonderful gifts for little language learners and enhance any preschool's language program!

Nos vemos a LeapFrog Learning Toys Review.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Moving Picture Books Giveaway--Ending Soon!

Visit Wanna Jugar with Migo? to enter for a chance to win a DVD with wonderful animated short stories in English w/captions, English and Spanish.

Moving Picture Books takes adorable children's picture books and then animates, adds sound effects and puts music to them. They have them in English, English with read-along text and Spanish! The animation is well-done and perfect for kids to help them understand even if they know only a little Spanish.

Hurry, giveaway ends 10/27 TONIGHT at 10 central/11 eastern.

I think my family will enjoy just about all of them, but I liked the Bible Stories one, and I especially liked "On Top of Spaghetti." My husband sang that song to the kids from the time they were babies. The animation was so funny. They'll get a kick out of it.

And of course, I appreciate any audio resource that will help my children and me learn and practice Spanish--in a fun way, of course.

¡Gracias Tati!

Is Bilingual Education Best for American Students?

(excerpted from

I watched the piece featured below on the Today Show this morning that presents the pros and the cons of bilingual instruction in U.S. public schools. This is an ongoing debate, some feel that Hispanic students are better off being completely immersed in English so they may adapt to an English speaking nation- while others fear that teaching only in English limits what students will learn and will subsequently fall behind.

The Hispanic population is growing rapidly and is playing a significant role in American society and the workforce. Public schools in cities such as Charlotte, NC have embraced teaching students both English and Spanish and are reporting positive results. Where do you stand on this debate? Watch the piece below and let me know what you think- share your comments in Twitter and on our Facebook Page.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Unraveling how children become bilingual so easily

Baby brains offer clues to learning new language

By Lauran Neergaard, AP Medical Writer
On 3:01 pm EDT, Monday July 20, 2009

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The best time to learn a foreign language: Between birth and age 7. Missed that window?

New research is showing just how children's brains can become bilingual so easily, findings that scientists hope eventually could help the rest of us learn a new language a bit easier.

"We think the magic that kids apply to this learning situation, some of the principles, can be imported into learning programs for adults," says Dr. Patricia Kuhl of the University of Washington, who is part of an international team now trying to turn those lessons into more teachable technology.

Each language uses a unique set of sounds. Scientists now know babies are born with the ability to distinguish all of them, but that ability starts weakening even before they start talking, by the first birthday.

Kuhl offers an example: Japanese doesn't distinguish between the "L" and "R" sounds of English -- "rake" and "lake" would sound the same. Her team proved that a 7-month-old in Tokyo and a 7-month-old in Seattle respond equally well to those different sounds. But by 11 months, the Japanese infant had lost a lot of that ability.

Wait a minute -- how do you test a baby? By tracking eye gaze. Make a fun toy appear on one side or the other whenever there's a particular sound. The baby quickly learns to look on that side whenever he or she hears a brand-new but similar sound. Noninvasive brain scans document how the brain is processing and imprinting language.

Mastering your dominant language gets in the way of learning a second, less familiar one, Kuhl's research suggests. The brain tunes out sounds that don't fit. (read more)

Monday, October 19, 2009

LeapFrog Wants to Put Tag in Kindergarten Classrooms--FREE!

If you're a kindergarten teacher, you may be interested in learning how to integrate LeapFrog's Tag Reading System into your classroom for free.

LeapFrog Tag Kindergarten Program

Helping teachers inspire children's love of reading

Thank you for your interest in the LeapFrog® Tag™ Kindergarten Program!

A teacher helping a student use Tag.With this exciting new program, LeapFrog partners with teachers, families, and schools to inspire the love of reading and learning in children during their critical early years. The centerpiece of our program is the Tag School Reading System, which features a pen-like tool that provides students with an easy-to-use, multisensory, independent reading experience.

Children touch the Tag School Reader to a page of a Tag book to hear an entire story read fluently, hear a page from a story, hear the pronunciation of a single word or, in some cases, a word part, or initiate comprehension exercises in the form of fun games that extend learning and provide immediate feedback.

All of this can be done independently, which is a crucial feature in a busy classroom where it simply is not possible for teachers to give all children one-on-one attention at the same time. For example, if a child reading a Tag book gets stuck on a word, he uses the Tag reader to touch the difficult word and hear the pronunciation, allowing him to continue reading and enjoying the book independently.

In this program, LeapFrog provides teachers with Tag School Reading System kits, including several Tag Readers plus books that focus on phonemic awareness, vocabulary building, comprehension and other key reading skills. Teachers agree to integrate Tag and Tag content into their classroom curriculum and to give feedback on the program. (Read whole article and FAQ's)

Application Deadline is November 11, 2009.

Let us know how it went! (and maybe they will develop a Tag reading system in Spanish!)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Yo quiero un 'snack-o'

¡Hola todos!

I've totally slacked off in doing Spanish Discovery Time with my kids.

I guess with them being in school most of the day, by the time they get home from school it's homework, eat, ready for bed.

They do somehow manage to get Spanish in themselves, though. Earlier today, they were playing with Dora action figures and the dollhouse. And they were playing pretend in Spanish, saying things like "hola" (hello), "pase, pase" (come in, come in), "Yo quiero un snack-o." I know, 'snack-o' is not a Spanish word, but my oldest daughter corrected her younger sister and said, "Oh, not 'snack-o'. You mean, 'Yo quiero una merienda.'"

I also have her read her Spanish books to us, when she does her homework.

So, that's what we've been up to.

!Hasta pronto!