10 Minutes a Day Foreign Language Courses

10 Minutes a Day Foreign Language Courses

The 10 Minutes a Day series was designed as a quick course for travelers to learn basic conversational vocabulary they are likely to need. The course is available in French, German, Italian, and Spanish. I reviewed the Spanish course and references are to that course. Other courses are similar but might have slight variations.

Previously, you could purchase the course for each language as an audio CD kit that included six audio CDs, one interactive software program disc, and a colorful workbook. You can still the courses with CDs, but the newest versions of the courses provide online access to all of the content on the audio CDs plus the interactive program for practicing the vocabulary from each lesson. (You can also purchase components individually.)

The audio recordings, with eight hours of instruction per course, are presented in “steps” that correlate with lessons in the book. They feature numerous speakers with different accents, but all are easy to understand compared to what I have heard in some other foreign language programs. Instructions are in English and include mention of when students should work on pages in the book. The audio recordings use the typical listen-and-repeat approach but with more explanation, such as that about the forms of plural nouns. The audio covers the material differently than does the book.  Strong auditory learners might be able to learn the language with only the audio recordings, but for most learners, I recommend the complete kit.

The full-color,130-page workbook is illustrated and has a very attractive layout that should appeal to all students. Throughout the workbook, it shows the pronunciation of each word in small print above the Spanish word. At the bottom of most pages are five cognates (words that are very similar in both Spanish and English such as clase and class) and their translations. Explanations and instructions in both the book and the audio recordings often incorporate words from the new language into English sentences: “Now open your libro to the sticky labels on page 17….”

Over 150 peel-and-stick labels come with the book. Students are directed to attach the labels to items around the house that will help them continually practice the new vocabulary; they do this with groups of labels at a time that relate to the current lesson rather than all at once. The book has a few crossword puzzles, matching games, and a variety of other activities that make it interesting to complete the exercises.

At the end are a glossary, beverage and menu guides, and flashcards. A menu translation guide is printed on cardstock and can be removed, folded in thirds, and taken on a trip as a handy reference tool. Flashcards, also printed on card stock, should be cut apart and used for drill on verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, and pronouns—words not covered with the stick-on labels.

The interactive software program for Spanish has four different menu items: numbers, colors, vocabulary matching, and label matching. The latter two menus cover broader ranges of vocabulary but not all of the vocabulary taught in the course. Learners of all ages should enjoy using them, and children are likely to love them.

Even though targeted at travelers, the vocabulary is practical for the most part. Beer, wine, and alcoholic beverages are mentioned on the menu but not in the text that I could find. Basic words for religion and church are included. It seems like the course is well suited for family travelers more than for those who want to check out the nightlife and parties.

The course stresses that students should spend no more than ten minutes a day. Clearly, this is not intended to be a comprehensive high school level course, especially since the coverage of grammar is very limited. Students write directly in the workbook, and the amount of writing should be manageable for students about fourth grade and up. In my opinion, this course should serve well as an introductory course for learners from about fourth grade up through adults. High school students might use only the audio recordings to supplement another course, especially one that has only a text.

Note: While I liked the Spanish course, one of my readers alerted me to a review for the French course that identifies a number of issues. Some of the shortcomings mentioned there apply also to the Spanish course, but I didn't find them as big of a concern if you are thinking of using this course as an introduction to the language rather than a thorough course to prepare travelers.

Pricing Information

When comparison prices appear, please keep in mind that they are subject to change. Click on links where available to verify price accuracy.

SPANISH in 10 minutes a day with CD-ROM

SPANISH in 10 minutes a day with CD-ROM

ITALIAN in 10 minutes a day AUDIO CD.

ITALIAN in 10 minutes a day AUDIO CD.
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Publisher's Info

Note: Publishers, authors, and service providers never pay to be reviewed. They do provide free review copies or online access to programs for review purposes.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services that I believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 "Guidelines Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."