When I was in High School, my French teacher would reward us with comic books and story books written in French. They were always so exotic and fun to explore. Little did we know that tackling these stories taught us much more about the language and culture than our textbooks. The stories contained in Pedro & Marg, by Heritage Language, are like taking a trip to a Latin American country. The app, based on the books by the same name, is rich in details describing the culture and customs of family life, and are a phenomenal resource for learning Spanish or English. It is truly impressive how well these story books are laid out, and how thoughtful the developers are in terms of variances in learning. The app contains one story with the purchase and 4 others are offered as in-app purchases.
The features for language acquisition are really what put these books on top. Each page contains both English and Spanish text side by side. You can then view and hear each language as reading. There is a button that reads the text at a slower pace, for kids starting to learn, and a button for the text being read at a faster or conversational pace. I really appreciate the phrase at a glance section under the plus button. It breaks down the text further, enabling the student to learn how the language flows or expressions are used. There were a couple of typos and expressions that seemed awkward in their translations, but that always seems to be the case when going from one language to another and can be easily addressed in an update.
Reading through all 5 books, you can feel the respect and love of family in each book, and obviously, the books are a labor of love. They transmit a view of everyday life. In “The Mysterious Present”, the book that comes with the app, we learn about birthday celebrations. “A Chocolate Brown Balloon” teaches us about festivals and their joys and wonders. It also makes you want to spend a day with Mom and learn how to cook such tasty treats! “The Perfect Bread” describes a joyful mind and perseverance in learning how to accomplish a goal. It is really a lesson on gratitude and learning how to appreciate the here and now. “Bobby and the Soccer Ball” reinforces the love and solidarity of family. And “Elephants to the Rescue” describes the magical and wondrous qualities of grandmothers. I thoroughly enjoyed this series and trying my voice at speaking and understanding Spanish. Why not celebrate with Pedro and Margarita and family?
Now if that is a real chocolate balloon… count me in for next year’s festival!
About the Author
Jo Booth has been an Occupational Therapist for over 30 years and currently works in Pediatrics with early intervention. She sees kids newly diagnosed on the spectrum as well as medically fragile kids. She loves to move, explore and play every day; so that "her kids" grow up to be healthy independent learners.