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Review by Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Education | Updated August 2012

Little Pim Spanish

Everyday Spanish vocabulary a nice introduction for young kids

Subjects & skills
  • English Language Arts
  • World Languages
  • English Language Learning

  • Communication & Collaboration
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (2 Reviews)

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5 images

Pros: Levels elaborate on simple nouns and teach kids to use new vocabulary in short phrases.

Cons: There are a limited number of words, and the app could go more in depth.

Bottom Line: A fun way to introduce young kids to the Spanish language with short phrases.

Teachers can use Little Pim Spanish as a fun way to introduce Spanish-language learning. Teachers might also introduce the vocabulary ahead of time in class before using the games to reinforce learning. In a classroom setting, kids can play the games individually, but unless they all have devices, kids will probably have to cycle through the levels in one sitting before resetting the program.

Small-group instruction could be a very viable solution -- teachers can ask kids to take turns finding the right answer. For more meaningful and long-term learning, teachers will likely want to extend kids' new Spanish vocabulary into other classroom experiences and instruction. 

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Little Pim Spanish guides kids as they explore 60 Spanish words and phrases related to basic daily activities: eating and drinking, waking up, and play time. In each category, there are three levels: first, kids learn nouns (e.g., corn), then they learn verbs (e.g., eat), and finally they learn simple phrases (e.g., he is eating corn). Every time a new word or phrase is introduced, kids hear it several times, read it on the screen, and are invited to say it out loud.

There are also games in which kids are asked to find and tap on an object, action, or phrase after hearing it named. For example, the app may say to find the "manzana," or a picture of "Little Pim drinking a glass of water." After three correct matches, the game moves on to a new word. The information section has a detailed description of the tasks included in each level, as well as a list of every word and where it's introduced.

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Little Pim Spanish introduces Spanish vocabulary with quick, fun games and encourages the practical use of new language skills. The noun-verb-phrase approach gives kids the tools they need to use meaningful and complete phrases, even early on. Most games involve kids choosing a visual representation of word -- they'll hear it three times before moving on to the next game. This repetition, and the progressively more complex ways words are used (noun, verb, phrase), will likely help cement kids' learning.

When each new word or phrase is introduced, kids are encouraged to repeat it, which is great. However, there isn't a built-in way to assess whether kids are actually following through. Also, it would help clarify meanings if the verb pictures were more than just still shots -- sometimes those shots don't demonstrate exactly what the verb means. An assessment tool would be a nice touch for teachers who may want to check for progress and understanding.

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Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Little Pim is cute, and helps kids in activities that explore new words and phrases in Spanish. Vocabulary addresses linguistic concepts that will be familiar and engaging for young kids. ¡Muy divertido!

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

While it's a nice introduction to some Spanish vocabulary, the learning approach relies entirely on recognition and matching. The three levels of play follow a logical progression. 

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

Play is easy and all games start with a clear demonstration. Grown ups can read a thorough descriptions of games and content, but there aren't suggestions about how to extend learning beyond the game.

Teacher Reviews

(See all 2 reviews) (2 reviews)
Featured review by
Jonathan F. , Technology coordinator
Technology coordinator
St. Patrick's Episcopal Day School
Washington, DC
Useful vocab practice, but only in a limited context.
After trying the app, we concluded that it would be useful for students who already knew some Spanish and who might benefit from extra practice or reinforcement. For several reasons, though, we wouldn’t want to use this app to introduce new vocabulary. As Mieke VanderBorght mentions in the review, the app doesn’t check to see if students are listening (let alone repeating aloud) when students learn a new word. We had to play through several levels before the app checked for understanding in even the most basic way. Our Spanish teacher concluded that students might simply click things on the screen without thinking to advance the game. That wouldn’t be the ideal way to introduce vocabulary. Even on more advanced levels, the app responded to incorrect taps only by ignoring them. Our Spanish teacher would have preferred that the app respond by explicitly pointing out the error. For example, the app could say, “You tapped una manzana. You’re looking for un cepillo de dientes. Can you try again?” Our Spanish teacher also pointed out that learning vocabulary in context is especially important. For some reason, pictures of all new vocab words appeared on top of a table. The incongruity of several sofas or bathtubs appearing on top of a table could be distracting or confusing for our young learners. Also, not all vocabulary words were grouped thematically. Is a hat (depicted as a traditional sombrero) really an essential morning item that most students should learn and mentally group with other fundamental morning vocabulary words? Is placing “cat” in the category of “play time” the best fit? In other situations, the app introduced words that were thematically consistent but extremely difficult for Pre-K students to pronounce. One of the first five words the app introduced was “reloj despertador” (alarm clock). Our Spanish teacher said she would have preferred to introduce a six-syllable tongue twister like that later on. When the app introduced sentences in Spanish, we found it puzzling that it had not yet taught students the nouns with which the sentences were constructed. To teach students how to say that something “falls,” wouldn’t it make sense to say “the toothbrush falls” (after teaching the word for toothbrush) rather than saying “the blocks fall” when the app had not yet introduced the word for blocks? As Mieke VanderBorght mentions in the review, not all pictures made clear what they were illustrating. The limitations above convinced us not to use this app with students unfamiliar with Spanish, but we do believe students with some background in Spanish would find this a fun way to reinforce some vocabulary. Read full review