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Puertas Abiertas: Open Doors to Spanish Review by Audrey Tolle

Heflin and Thrall Language Publications, Inc.
P.O. Box 1724
Jacksonville, TX 75766

This review is for the Spanish curriculum set, “Puertas Abiertas: Open Doors to Spanish, Level 1.” This set includes the DVD/CD set, the student workbook, and the facilitator guide and is priced at $135.00 on the company website.

Puertas Abiertas is an immersion style curriculum where students hear only the Spanish language spoken, no English at all. Students watch engaging videos and hear the concepts repeated several times and are eventually able to pick up on the concepts that are being taught. Next, there are CD’s to listen to that give instructions to the student as they complete the student workbook. This is Level 1 and is geared for those with little to no Spanish exposure. The videos are engaging to children of all ages, and even more so once they start gaining confidence and understanding the concepts more. The Student Workbook has engaging activities and worksheets to further understand the presented Spanish lesson and apply what they have heard on the videos.

Unit 1 starts out with animals. Though no English is spoken, there are pictures of the animal names that they are learning; dog, cat, horse, bird, lion, monkey, rabbit, etc. The Professor (La Profesora) and Pepe Tropical make the sounds that the animals do and repeat the Spanish word for the animal several times. They will ask them to repeat the word, which your student will probably not understand, but will learn quickly that “repite” means to “repeat” because they use the term over and over and then repeat. The facilitator guide has all the translations for you, so fear not, if you are learning Spanish right along with your kids, you are covered. Once the vocabulary in the lesson is mastered, the next lesson builds further vocabulary and incorporates review of previously mastered vocab into it as well.  For example, they start with animals, then learn colors, then numbers, but they use the animals as a tool to learn the colors and then animals and colors to teach the numbers in order to provide more opportunity to review. 

This program is geared for all learning types because while they watch the videos, they get to visualize the concepts and see it in the written form, they hear the words repeated several times, then they have the opportunity to move and get their kinesthetic selves moving as they act out the words with motions, and they get to practice applying these concepts in their student workbooks. 

I am really enjoying this curriculum and highly recommend it to those looking for a full immersion and engaging Spanish program. Jenifer Heflin and her team have put together a wonderful Spanish program that will engage young learners at a time when their brains are wired to obtain endless amounts of information. The way it is presented in a memorable and repetitious way makes me confident my children will retain more than in other methods where they are learning just a few select word lists and rules. The videos are of a nice quality and keep the attention of my preschool through elementary students.  My early elementary aged children watch the videos several time just for entertainment, and as a bonus, they are learning another language! La Profesora has an accent that really gives words the sound as you may hear them in Spanish speaking countries, so I appreciate that my children are learning the words with the accent. I am already impressed with the amount of information that has been retained in the few weeks that we have been using this. It truly is a great way to learn Spanish!

-Product review by Audrey Tolle, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, July, 2016