Product Review of Endless Spanish
Endless Spanish lets kids explore letter sounds, words, and sentences in Spanish. The app opens with an animated party scene where cute monsters break a piñata and dance together. Kids can select a letter from the alphabet and learn a word that begins with that letter. In the “palabra” (“word”) activity, words appear on-screen and the voice-over speaks the word in Spanish followed by its English translation. The word’s letters then scatter across the screen; users tap and drag the letters into their proper order. Letters come to life as you tap them; they wiggle, grow googly eyes and teeth, and speak the letter’s sound over and over. Users drag and drop the letters into their outlined spaces, and the whole word comes to life.
In the “frase” (“sentence”) activity, a sentence featuring the word appears, and kids drag a few key words into their outlined spots within the sentence. Just as the letters do, the words come to life when they’re dragged. Once they’re all in place, kids hear the words spoken in English, too. Kids can replay and revisit any letter at any time by tapping the left and right arrows from within a word screen or from the home screen. Adults can choose Spanish Immersion mode (a good fit for native Spanish speakers, with no English translation audio) or Spanish with English translation. The free version gives users access to letters A through F; users can pay $4.99 to get access to the other 21 (the 26 letters in the English alphabet plus Ñ).
Because Endless Spanish uses some complex sentences, it’s a good fit for guided play with a parent or teacher. Sit with kids to help them talk through how the app works: Pick letters one by one from the main page and play through each letter, its word, and sentence. Have kids play around with tapping the letters and sounding out words one by one. Encourage kids to drag letters in order and tap them again to hear their sounds one by one before moving on to the next activity.
There’s plenty to love in this app: The animated characters are adorable, and it’s fun to see them in action after you’ve completed the activities. The activities themselves are a decent fit for the under-5 set: It’s super easy to tap and drag the letters and words, and the outlined spots make it clear where things are supposed to go. It’s also terrific that the letters and words are pronounced repeatedly when tapped and grabbed. This makes for some high-impact, super-simple phonics practice that will help kids learn how letters sound in Spanish.
The app’s overall simplicity makes some of the sentence examples jarring, by comparison; There’s some pretty sophisticated grammar going on, including past-tense verbs, reflexive verbs, and some beyond-beginner vocabulary that’s surprisingly advanced for such a basic intro to Spanish. The words and sentences tell the animated stories well, but don’t expect them to help kids get a leg up on learning to speak whole Spanish sentences or phrases. That content isn’t included or especially well-supported here, so look elsewhere for an app that boosts kids’ language-learning skills beyond letter and word recognition. That being said, this is a solid fit for kids just learning learning to speak and read Spanish.
Overall User Consensus About the App
Silly monsters and great sound effects make for simple, absorbing gameplay.
Curriculum and Instruction
When letters come to life, they speak their sounds repeatedly, helping kids learn and reinforce letter sounds in each activity.
Solid bilingual features can work well for kids with a range of language abilities. Progress tracking and learning extension features would better support learning.