My husband’s family is Italian for the most part. In fact, I remember a family dinner with my in-laws during which my brother-in-law announced that the family wasn’t so very Italian. I remember it vividly because I thought my father-in-law was going to choke on his macaroni. While my husband and his parents are certainly proud of their Italian heritage, my husband’s great grandparents were bound and determined to assimilate into American society. That is why when they got to America, they insisted that everyone speak English all the time. Their native tongue was soon lost.
Now, I want my boys to learn Italian. The only problem is that there is no one to teach them. So, I’ve spent a small fortune on DVDs, CDs, and books for us (yes, I’m trying to learn too). I’ve been fairly disappointed for the most part. I’d hate for you to make the same mistakes whether your trying to teach your kids Spanish, French, or Pig Latin. So, let me break it down for you:
This is one of the first DVD sets I purchased. I watched the commercials, considered that it was connected to the BBC, and thought certainly I had found the Rosetta Stone for kids. Not so. The set came with vocabulary DVDs and story DVDs. The vocabulary words featured on the vocabulary DVDs are not particularly relevant to the story and the story is a bore. The illustrations aren’t even good. We spend about $100 on this set and my kids couldn’t care less. Total bust.
Italian for Kids by Language Tree
Next I bought the Language Tree videos in part because they seemed so much more affordable (around $25). The problem with these DVDs is that the actors speak so quickly and with very little explanation, that comprehending what they say is impossible even for me. The videos are interactive, but my young kids can’t use the remote to play along. Plus, I like to use DVDs in the car more than I do at home, so the interactive feature is useless. Bust #2.
Now we’re getting somewhere. I like the Professor Toto DVDs. Professor Toto tries to teach kids simple concepts and speaks more slowly than Language Tree. Still, it is a little fast, but because I can follow the story, unlike Muzzy, I can figure it out. The Professor teaches kids first words in a foreign language just like they would learn in their native language, like colors. This is a good purchase.
Little Pim is my favorite of all the DVDs. The videos mix a loveable panda with real life kids and focus on concepts young kids can understand, like playtime and eating. The narrator speaks slow enough that I can actually understand the words and the shows are interesting enough to hold a child’s attention. Best ones yet!
Teach Your Baby Italian CD
This CD has done more for our Italian than anything else. The first few tracks teach vocabulary words a mom would find useful, for example bottle, milk, diaper, etc. The best thing, though, is the last track that teaches you how to say phrases you often use with a kid, like “No touching!” or “Are you hungry?” People think I’m fluent when I’m talking to my kids because I can ask “Are you finished?” and “What color is this?” Oh, and the boys can answer. Even better. It didn’t take long for me to start speaking fluent baby-Italian. This is the best bang for the buck!
Good luck teaching your little ones a foreign language. If you have an aid that you like, please share. Until then, ciao!