In a fusion of entertainment and education, a new album teaching Spanish through pop songs rides the wave of Latin music fever.
Sing La Bamba to learn Spanish? Maybe learning can be fun…So agreed the Discovery Channel's school, teacher and parent website, Discoveryschool.com. The site recently bestowed its reviewers' Award of Excellence on Musical Spanish, a Spanish language teaching book and enhanced CD.
"The concept behind this package is original and fresh - clearly voiced Spanish songs are the take-off point for learning the Spanish language," the site observed, "Musical Spanish would make an effective supplement to any child's Spanish-learning program, and is particularly useful for less-motivated kids who would benefit from a novel approach to learning a second language."
A program that makes learning Spanish a little more interesting couldn’t come at a better time. The Latino community is the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population, with over 28 million Spanish speakers. As a result, Spanish classes are at an all time high, and over 10 million people are currently studying Spanish. While Americans have been hesitant to embrace bilingualism in the past, the rise in Spanish language pop stars such as Ricky Martin, Marc Anthony, and Shakira has helped to spark a new interest in the Spanish language and culture.
Musical Spanish is the brainchild of Stacey Tipton, a former romance language teacher who holds a Masters in Latin American Studies from Tulane University. "I wanted to harness the natural resource of pop music and its incredible educational power" said Tipton, who became interested in Latin American culture when she lived in Zacatecas, Mexico as a high school Rotary exchange student. Tipton spent several years developing the product, hiring Venezuelan pop singers to help give the album an authentic feel.
Musical Spanish currently has a strong following among Spanish teachers and students, and is one of the top selling Spanish teaching products on Amazon.com. Alan Caruba of Bookviews recently reviewed the book and CD and found that "Language teachers have gone nuts for this delightful, educational tool."