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Jump start Languages


Discover languages early. Students develop conversational skills in four foreign languages and develop a foundation to more fully participate in future language study.

Through multicultural stories, games and songs, students engage in activities that build overall language skills and their appreciation of different cultures.

Curriculum Skills

* Develop conversational phrasing

* Understand basic vocabulary

* Discover sentence structuring

* Hear and speak special pronunciations

Special Features

* Four languages: French, Japanese, Spanish, and English

* Listen & Learn Language Guides introduce special sounds, and words for everyday objects

* Three different levels of difficulty

* Cultural games, stories, and songs

* A rich collection of extension activities printable for classroom use

Children absorb languages best at an early age, which is why experts exhort parents in bilingual households to freely use both languages if they want their children to be fluent in both. If only one language is spoken under your roof and you have guilty visions of your child struggling through high school French as you did, perhaps JumpStart Languages can help prime some of those young neural pathways for future academic rigors. We have only one caveat before we move on: the lower end of the manufacturer's suggested age range for this program is 3 years, and we think maneuvering around this program might be difficult for someone this age unless he or she has mastered mouse use and has a grasp of how onscreen exploration works. Of course, if parents are willing to run the program for their younger child, computer competence isn't a concern. With a world fair theme and pavilions devoted to French, Spanish, Japanese, and English, this Mac and Windows program teaches conversational words and phrases in a nonimmersion style. Each pavilion houses one character that speaks English and acts as an interpreter, and another one that exclusively speaks the language of that pavilion. The English pavilion is an exception: in this one, Frankie and Roxie both only speak American English, which leads us to believe this program wasn't designed with non-English speaking kids in mind. Once they've chosen a language to explore, kids will find nine activities inside each pavilion: a phone teaches numbers, kitchen exploration teaches food and household item names, a coloring activity teaches color words, a puppet show teaches clothing items, and folk songs, art, clocks, outdoor exploration, and folk tales round out the language-learning mix. This program contains no letters or characters; your child will learn by listening only. Some of the activities have three levels of difficulty--upping a level adds more items to an activity. A challenge mode is also provided, which eliminates English hints and visual prompts, unless you're in Frankie and Roxie's insular pavilion, where the English flows freely no matter what the setting. JumpStart Languages avoids being one big boring vocabulary list by giving a lot of attention to culture as well as language. Exploration will eventually yield artwork by Degas and Remington, instructions on how to make a Japanese uchiwa (fan), and printable recipes for everything from quiche to guacamole. That puzzling English pavilion probably exists so kids can compare and contrast a familiar culture to unfamiliar ones. Another plus is a decent reward system: successful completion of enough activities enables the player to watch one of a couple dozen video clips of the various countries being studied, which beats a printable certificate all to heck.

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Tags: languages, skills, Discover, language, conversational, Jumpstart, develop