Petra Lingua is a program to help teach kids a second language. They currently offer programs in six languages: French, English, Spanish, German, Russian, Chinese, presented in the form of videos, online multiple choice questions, downloadable activity books and flashcards, and audio exercises. If you have a young learner who is just starting to learn a new language, this could be a good intro program to use.
Each of the programs appears to be the same in content with a different primary language focus. Lessons include:
- Hello, This Is Me!
- This Is My Family
- What’s This?
- School Things
- What Are They Doing?
- What Are the Things Like?
- What Are the People Like?
- Body Parts
- What’s for Breakfast?
- Fruits and Vegetables
- My House
- Days of the Week
Here’s how it works (using lesson 1 about “This is Me” as an example).
- Watch a video that introduces the characters in French, having introductory conversations.
- Repeat the same video, this time with each single part of the conversation being paused and followed with a chime, leading to a short space to repeat back what you hear.
- 4 exercises to see if you are able to use what you’ve learned. Since this topic was to help you get to know the main characters, the exercises are variations of matching the right name with the right characters.
After this, you can move to the workbook, flash cards, and audio recordings. The workbook for lesson one has some fun activities such as drawing a picture of yourself and colouring / naming the main characters of the program. (The flash cards don’t really start until lesson 2 and on, as this is just an intro lesson.) The activity book in future lessons includes listening exercises with the audio downloads.
You can also download copies of the songs, which could be a fun thing to listen to when travelling, etc so you can review your lessons!
Some feedback from our time using the program:
a. My 10 and 12-year-old found the animation a little young for them, but my 3-year-old loved it. This is partly why I think that it would be great for young learners as opposed to older kids.
b. The overall speed of the videos was very slow. That had both its benefits and drawbacks. It was helpful when talking about new concepts allowing time to fully understand, but it also felt very sluggish at points, and we ended up skipping several chunks of videos just because they were dragging.
b. The repetition of exercises on the same topic was a great way to drill and review. I could really see and hear what they were learning and where they were weak.
c. Although the chime song on the repeat the words video clearly indicates that it’s your turn to talk, it is very long. I think a single clear chime would have been sufficient, especially since it’s after just about every phrase.
d. The songs they’ve included in the lessons are catchy and kind of fun. (See the video below about fruits and vegetables for a great example!)
e. Using both the activity book, flashcards, AND the online lessons together make it much fuller and provide a perfect way to include all styles of learners.
Find out more about Petra Lingua and their programs, as well as their store of physical products, at petralingua.com