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FabuLingua - Learn Spanish
Pros: In addition to introducing and reinforcing Spanish, some stories touch upon key themes such as friendship, overcoming fears, taking risks, and embracing differences.
Cons: In order for kids to enjoy the games, they need to be able to read independently. Non-readers or early readers may need the help of an adult to play the games.
Bottom Line: Interactivity and a developmentally intentional design allow kids to engage in a fun language learning experience that continues to challenge them as they grow and learn.
Teachers can use FabuLingua – Learn Spanish to introduce and promote Spanish language in their classroom. The experience will reinforce Spanish speaking and listening skills, vocabulary, spelling, and early reading skills. The friendly and easygoing approach to learning a new language is ideal for kids who need a bit of encouragement or who are having difficulty making meaning with a grammar/translation-based approach. Teachers can also recommend this app to families as a fun and educational experience to do at home to promote Spanish language. Games and Read By Myself levels, however, are designed for kids with a stronger literacy foundation. Engaging in these levels requires a significant developmental jump from merely listening and speaking. For example, the game in which kids practice assigning articles to nouns requires the ability to read independently and somewhat quickly. These levels are appropriate for kids who already have a phonological foundation, understand the concept of spelling, and can read on their own. Teachers planning to use the app with non-readers or early readers should monitor for frustration within the more challenging levels and help kids manage expectations.
With these caveats in mind, teachers can use it as a resource for independent centers or even for whole-class instruction. Go through one of the stories together, repeating the text as a class. When students are using the recording feature, be aware that they'll need a relatively quiet space. To build on the app, pull out some of the vocabulary and use it in different contexts; for instance, kids could create a small family tree and use some of the words they've learned. Or they can label a nature setting with different animals. You can also reinforce pronunciation by creating sentences of your own that use key vocabulary, and have students practice having conversations.
FabuLingua – Learn Spanish is an app that offers a collection of interactive stories and games to help kids learn Spanish. Upon launch, teachers are asked a series of questions about the kids who'll be enjoying the app, including name, age, and how much Spanish they currently know. A detailed tutorial shows kids how to play and gives them an opportunity to practice tap and drag motions to navigate the experience. The home screen illustrates a magical landscape and characters. Each character has five levels that are progressively more challenging and designed to help kids learn and practice Spanish.
Each level is unlocked sequentially. Magical Translations introduces kids to a unique and colorful story. The app reads the Spanish story aloud and highlights each word so that kids can follow along. It also provides an English translation to help them understand the story. Teachers can turn on English translations and adjust the reading speed to meet kids' needs. Kids can interact with stories by tapping the illustrations to animate objects or hear vocabulary words. The next level, Copy Cat, offers another opportunity to hear the same story while encouraging kids to record themselves as they repeat what they hear. It plays the recording back so that they can see how close they are to matching the narrator's pronunciation. The Games level offers four different options: a game that reinforces vocabulary through matching, a game that allows kids to assign articles to nouns, a scrambled letter game that reinforces vocabulary and spelling, and a scrambled syllable game that promotes early reading skills by emphasizing syllables. The Spanish Only level allows kids to experience the same story without translations. In the final level, Read by Myself, kids become the narrator and read the story aloud while recording themselves. As kids experience the different levels, they earn stickers. These motivating rewards are added to the Magic Sticker Book where they can be used for open play and to illustrate and narrate their own story. The app is free, and kids can try all five levels for one of the stories. In-app subscription is necessary to access all 15 stories.
FabuLingua – Learn Spanish is a great option for teachers looking for a Spanish-immersion platform that goes beyond out-of-context vocabulary. The explicit tutorial and intuitive design encourage independence. The predictable process builds familiarity so that kids can focus their attention on content rather than on learning new steps or following new directions. Accessibility to all the components of the app depends on age, phonological awareness, and reading ability. Magical Translation, Copy Cat, and Spanish Only levels, where kids listen to stories, repeat, and try to make meaning with the support of illustrations, animation, and translation, are developmentally appropriate and inviting for a range of ages, including preschoolers since engagement relies heavily on listening and speaking. The recording feature is fun and can help kids monitor how closely their pronunciation matches the narrator.
Unlike some other apps, it grounds vocabulary in cute stories with characters who become familiar. This helps give kids context and anchors their learning. It's also great that it's designed to grow with kids and continue challenging them as they learn; there's enough to explore that kids won't likely lose interest. Some of the stories also touch upon important themes, such as friendship, overcoming fears, and embracing differences, offering learning opportunities beyond Spanish language. Stickers earned for completing aspects of each level keep kids motivated and can later be used for activities that promote imagination and creativity, like open-ended play and story-telling. Because the reporting feature is really meant for at-home use and caregivers, it doesn't lend itself well to classroom use. But if you can monitor and assess kids another way, this app is a fun way to get little kids learning Spanish.