Saturday, January 23, 2016

"¡HOLA! Let's Learn Spanish" by Judy Martialay

¡HOLA! Let's Learn Spanish:
Visit New Places and Make New Friends
by Judy Martialay

Judy Martialay is a retired French and Spanish teacher and was Co-Chair of the Public Advocacy Committee of the New York State Association of Foreign Language Teachers for ten years. Judy wrote ¡HOLA! Let's Learn Spanish to give children ages 6 to 10 (along with their parents) an enjoyable and early start in learning Spanish.
Judy joins us today to share an excerpt from the book and a special guest post on teaching children foreign languages. You can also read my review and enter our exclusive giveaway for a chance to win a paperback copy of the book.

¡HOLA! Let's Learn Spanish: Visit New Places and Make New Friends introduces children to Spanish. The purpose of the book is to give children an enjoyable experience learning the language as well as to teach them a useful skill. The age range of children is roughly 6-10, although it should include the largest age range possible.
It is especially useful for parents and children who reside in the many districts where foreign language is not offered in elementary school. My hope is that kids and their parents will be inspired to continue their study of Spanish throughout school, so that they can truly communicate to the millions of Spanish speakers throughout the world. The book can be used by older children themselves. It can be adapted for use in Foreign Language in Elementary School (FLES) programs and in Foreign Language Experience (FLEX) programs. It can be used by librarians. It would make a great gift for grandparents, relatives or anyone who has a child in his or her life and would like to give that child the beginning of a truly world class education. It can be used by parents, whether or not they speak Spanish, and their children.
There is a free audio version of the book available. Children and parents should follow along with book and audio so that they learn the best pronunciation.
The book begins with an introduction, where Pete the Pilot invites children aboard his magic plane for an imaginary trip to Mexico. On board, children are given some basic words and expressions to learn. Parents and children will have best results when learning the Spanish when they repeat often, and use the Spanish in everyday life situations. The book is designed to help them do that. When the children arrive in Mexico, they meet Panchito, the jumping bean, and they follow his adventures while learning Spanish, and becoming acquainted with the culture of Mexico. When they return, they bring their Spanish back home with them.
In the activities section, they are encouraged to use Spanish in everyday situations. For example, they have a treasure hunt of people and objects around their house. They can have fun putting on a skit with their friends. In the Culture Corner, kids learn more about the different customs that they meet during the story, and they get more ideas on how to use their Spanish. They can sing the traditional song for breaking the piñata. In the craft section, children can make a mask with frijoles, beans that they encountered in the story. There are more opportunities for using Spanish. With the vocabulary section, they can hear again how each word or phrase is pronounced.
With ¡HOLA! Let's Learn Spanish, children engage in a variety of activities designed to accommodate a variety of learning styles, and enjoy communicating in Spanish.

Hello, children. ¡Hola, niños! My name is Pete the Pilot.
My job is to fly kids around the world. When I stop in different countries, I visit places and learn about life in those countries. I meet the people. I also try to learn their language. People really like this, and I make friends this way.
Today we’re going to Mexico. You’re going to discover that Mexicans do a lot of the same things as we do here. For example, Mexican kids love to play games. They play many of the same games that you play. But part of the fun of traveling around the world is seeing how folks do things differently!
Let’s learn more about Mexican children. Let’s begin by learning their language, Spanish.
Below are some words that are very useful. You will have time to study these words during the plane trip to Mexico. Bring clothes for warm weather, because we are going to land in a sunny bean field ¡en un campo de frijoles!

Fasten your safety belts. We’re ready to leave for Mexico!

Hello Hola
My name is ... (Pete). Me llamo ... (Pedro).
How are you? ¿Qué tal?
Very well Muy bien
And you? ¿Y tú?
Please Por favor
Thank you Gracias
No No
Good-bye Adiós
one uno
two dos
three tres
four cuatro
five cinco

Praise for the Book
"¡HOLA! Let's Learn Spanish: Visit New Places and Make New Friends is a children's language book unlike any other. It is an easy, fun, and exciting way to give kids a head start in Spanish or widen their already existing vocabulary." ~ Faridah Nssozi for Readers' Favorite
"This is an excellent book that demands a sequel - you can't help but learn some Spanish from this rich experience." ~ Maura Ann Rubies
" ... the book is a great resource for those hoping to help their little ones become multilingual." ~ Angela Shori
"No need to reach out to your smartphone and google translate. It’s really easy to figure out the words which are woven into a narrative that carries the reader and the listener/s along for the ride. Bring ¡Hola! Let’s Learn Spanish home and lead your child into a new, different, and exciting cultural experience." ~ Anahi Walton-Schafer
"I was a Spanish teacher for 34 years and truly enjoyed Ms. Martialay's book. It is filled with useful vocabulary, a cute story, and so many other activities for children to enjoy in addition to many cultural experiences. [...] Ms. Martialay is certainly a very talented writer and I hope that she continues to create more books of this kind." ~ Lois E. Baisley

My Review
The author uses some clever tricks to help readers learn the Spanish language. Pete the Pilot takes us with him on a virtual trip to Mexico, teaching us a few basic Spanish words on the way. We are also introduced to some phrases in the text with Spanish translations in bold. In Mexico, we meet Panchito the Mexican jumping bean. We visit the bean field, the market, and a child's birthday party. More phrases are introduced in context throughout this silly story, which is sure to hold your child's attention.
The words and phrases learned in the story are then reinforced in a segment called "It's your turn", with practical exercises designed to get children talking to their friends and family in Spanish. Then we go on a "Treasure Hunt" to physically find the objects in question; this activity further reinforces memory retention. Also included is an "expression diary" to keep track of how many times a week we use a selection of Spanish phrases. Further activities include a short skit that will get the children acting and speaking in Spanish, cultural facts about the Spanish language and Mexico, the words to a piñata song in both Spanish and English, and a fun craft activity making a mask. Also included is a full list of all the Spanish words used, along with their English translations in alphabetical order by chapter; this list would be more helpful in straight alphabetical order, not separated into chapters.
The cute, colorful, hand-drawn illustrations throughout the text will appeal to children of all ages. They are supplemented by a few color photographs.
The author presents a fun and innovative way for children to learn a new language. A pleasure to read. Un placer.

Guest Post by the Author
Children and Foreign Languages
Are you a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, friend, caretaker of a child age roughly 6-10? Give that child in your life the gift of a foreign language; it’s a gift that will last a lifetime.
Chances are that child will not have the benefit of beginning to learn a language at an early age.  If you live in the US, only 15% of elementary schools offer any type of foreign language. The situation is about the same in other English speaking countries. Most students begin study of a language at age 14 ... if ever!
When is the best time to learn another language? As early as possible. Children’s brains are wired to learn other languages; they learn languages easily, and they have the ability to hear and replicate native pronunciation. This ability lasts until about 12, just when our students are beginning to study a language. Makes no sense to start so late! Teenagers and grown-ups can learn languages, but it takes more effort, and, since mastering the complexities of a language takes time, our high school students typically only have two or three years to devote to it, and grown-ups, as you know, are always short on time.
Study of a language has so many benefits. To begin with, it makes kids smarter: foreign language study brings increased cognitive (mental) ability. They have a better understanding of their own language. They have increased tolerance for cultural diversity. They have greater possibilities for employment. When two candidates are equally qualified for a job, the employer will choose the candidate with knowledge of a foreign language. Bilingualism has been known to retard the onset of dementia by up to five years.
So why is it so hard to find language classes in elementary school? Go figure!
Many of us English speakers think that the "whole world speaks English", but this is not the case. According to the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), 75% of the world neither speak nor understand English.
Therefore, foreign language study is often seen as a "frill". Also, with all that preparation for mandated testing, there is not enough time in the day for the subjects a child must learn. But there should be enough time for all subjects. Don’t we want to give our children every opportunity to make the most of their lives?
This is why I wrote the book, ¡HOLA! Let’s Learn Spanish. It gives an early and fun start to learning Spanish to children ages roughly 6-10. Parents can use it with kids whether or not they know Spanish. Kids who are already studying Spanish will enjoy the book too. The audio version is free and can be downloaded from the website.
Every child should have the advantages which come with an early start in learning languages, including yours.
About the Author
Hi, I'm Judy Martialay. I live in Sea Cliff, New York, with my husband; daughters are out of the nest and grown up. I have a baby granddaughter.
I have lots of interests; I am a guitar jammer, a painter, gardener, knitter, volunteer, cook, and am studying Japanese.
I retired from teaching foreign /world languages, and devoted ten years to the promotion of foreign language study as Co-Chair of the Public Advocacy Committee of the New York State Association of Foreign Language Teachers (NYSAFLT).
I wrote the book ¡HOLA! Let's Learn Spanish because I want every child to have the opportunity to learn a world language at an early age. This is the best time to start learning a language. Children's brains are wired for learning languages. They have a better chance for acquiring native pronunciation, and they have ample time to become truly proficient in the language.
I want children and their parents to enjoy the experience of learning languages. It is an adventure into the soul of another world.
If your child continues study of a language, he or she will have a skill that will provide life-long benefits.

Enter our exclusive giveaway for a chance to a paperback copy of ¡HOLA! Let's Learn Spanish by Judy Martialay (US only).