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Spanish Simplified! A Proven and Practical Approach for Beginners or as a Refresher Review by Christine Field

Jennifer LeBow
JRI Press
5398 N. Cattail Way
Boise, ID 83714

I love, love, love Ms. LeBow's encouragement in this book. She tells us, "It often takes more than 30 repetitions to remember new words in a foreign language." This is such a great boost for those of us who think our minds cannot contain another language. It CAN be done. This program consists of 4 CDs and a guidebook. You are instructed to make some color flashcards and some white flashcards in the program. Ms. LeBow offers us several helps:

1. Gimmicks--memory helpers to help you remember a new word or idea

2. Flash cards--introduce new material as well as review previous cards

3. Audio-pronunciation CDs--tape scripts are included in the guidebook

Each lesson is packed with these features, allowing you to use several learning modalities to make this stuff stick.

A super helpful feature of the approach is the Flexible Framework Charts. These help you to make sentences. The framework of the columns of the chart shows you the correct word order. Summary charts are at the end of each lesson to give you an overview of how the lesson fits together and connects with previous lessons.

At the end of chapter 1, students are given 17 foundational words, which the author calls a "Spanish budget." These words were selected to allow you to make many sentences, more than 500, with just a small vocabulary. Incredible! The flashcards you are instructed to make consist of noun phrases and verb phrases. Throughout the lessons, you are told to arrange and rearrange the cards to illustrate a surprisingly large number of sentences and phrases!

I really, really like this. Simple, doable, accessible--this program is no-frills but definitely effective!

Product review by Christine Field, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, December 2010