Find more Spanish apps suggested by our growing community of teachers and parents.
About the Apps
¡Ay Caramba! Finding iPad apps that will inspire elementary school kids to learn how to speak Spanish is a real challenge. Here’s why.
While there are dozens of cute and playful apps designed to teach toddlers how to count or memorize a few animal names in Spanish, there are few download-worthy options for older kids who need greater challenges but are not yet learning the language in a classroom setting.
Further, although there are useful “intro to Spanish” tutorial apps that help people of all ages learn things like how to ask for directions or order food at restaurants, they aren’t really suited for children. Do you really want your seven-year-old to be prompted to share their progress on Facebook or Twitter every time he or she picks up a new phrase? Didn’t think so.
The best “starter” Spanish learning apps for elementary school students - like Gus on the Go and Learn Spanish with Lingo Arcade - succeed because they are fun and accessible without being too rudimentary. Gus on the Go is a tweener app that is accessible to both toddlers and younger-aged elementary students up to about the 1st or 2nd grade. It provides short and simple lessons that prompt kids to touch icons to hear the pronunciation and spelling of basic terms like food, animals and vehicles. Thereafter, kids are quizzed on their ability to associate images with spoken words that are also flashed across the screen. Lingo Arcade also offers lessons that translate into quizzes, but are much more fast-paced and exciting.
For practicing pronunciation, Learn Spanish for Kids - Ottercall is the call for you and your family. The app uses reliable audio-recognition technology to not only judge whether the pronunciation of a particular word or phrase is accurate, but also assess how close the speaker is to the exact dialect. While the app does little else, it’s easy to pick up right away, and is the best tool for helping young learners begin to literally speak a new language.
We give Spanish Smash very high marks for kid appeal and are including it here as it presents fun and relevant challenges to kids who possess at least a remedial understanding of Spanish. We would like to see a more diverse set of challenges as kids progress between levels, and aren’t entirely comfortable with the option to login via Facebook.
For kids who have early formal exposure to Spanish in the classroom or are brought up in bilingual households, Spanish Word Wizard is a great way to assess understanding of spelling and, more important, to learn to figure things out within a mostly immersive Spanish environment. While there are some English instructions, this app is best used in the company of a tutor or parent who speaks the language.
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How are apps scored?
Apps are scored using a proprietary evaluation rubric to judge Educational Content, Kid Appeal, Assessment, Features and Design, Value, and Safety and Privacy.