Assimil Language Learning Method
Assimil (as in assimilate the languages around you) has been a popular language course in Europe for a long time. The books show the target language on the left page and the same content in your native language on the right page. The theory is that by constantly seeing words and phrases in both languages, you pick up the new language quickly and easily. While perfect for travelers, I was curious whether there was enough in the program for a high school credit. A typical Year 1 of a high school course includes everyday vocabulary and conversation, present tense of regular verbs, several common irregular verbs, gender/number agreement between nouns and adjectives, past tenses, some version of the future tense, good pronunciation modeling and practice, written exercises, geography, culture, travel and becoming familiar with your bilingual dictionary as a resource. The Assimil SuperPack plus the workbook meets all of these requirements for a 1 year high school language credit.
The Super Pack contains a small-format text (4.25"x 6.75", soft cover with 100 lessons, 186 exercises, answer key, dual-language glossary and grammar summary), 4 audio CDs and an mp3 CD. The first part of the course uses repetition, getting familiar with the look and sounds of the new language. The second part progresses more quickly, applying familiar structures to expand your fluency. Self-assessments are part of the text. Parents are not administering or grading any exams. The dialogues are fun and lively (sometimes funny!) and generally just enjoyable to listen to. My normal recommendation for a high school foreign language course is about 30-40 minutes, 3x a week, for a 9 month school year (or longer if needed to finish the material.) I think this course would fall into that framework as well.
Assimil has a distinct European flavor (which I love as a Francophile) and you will learn a lot about European travel. The Spanish is Castilian, not that of Latin America, so you will have a decidedly Spanish accent! Spanish speakers in the U.S. will still understand you, but may comment on your accent! The SuperPack level is B2. This is for beginners and what they call false beginners (meaning you have had some exposure to the language, know some vocabulary, but are really still a beginner level academically.) The Workbook is a spiral-bound, 7.5"x 9", colorful, consumable practice book. One workbook is needed for each student. There are loads of good reference materials here to add to the lessons as well as the written exercises. The language is fun and contemporary, but not inappropriate: just cool! So, youre learning more up to date language.
The item we are calling Book Method Only refers to a larger-format version of the same textbook found in the SuperPack. It is soft cover, 128 pgs, 7.5"x 11". If you purchase the SuperPack and find you dont like the smaller format text, you could upgrade to this book. It does not come with any audio element, and so is not enough to be a high school credit by itself. The Phrasebook is a softcover, 160 pgs, 6"x 9" travel guide. It offers the basics of grammar, vocabulary and common phrases as well as cultural information about the people and their customs. (Please note that pages 74-76 of the Spanish guide include dating phrases that refer to sex. It is not graphic, but you may want to remove them prior to the students use. The other language phrase books do not include this section.) ~ Sara