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Express Track To Spanish

Book Review

 

Title:

Express Track to Spanish

Author:

Susana Chiabrando  et al

Publisher:

Barron's Educational Series, Hauppauge, NY

ISBN:

0-8120-7898-5

Reviewed By:

Frank Fogg

Review Date:

April, 2001

Rating:

Express Track to Spanish is a self-paced learn at home program for students of the Spanish language. The course consists  of four audio CD disks with five hours of conversations, an instructional manual, and an audio script booklet.

This course is an intermediate level course that is focused on Spanish as spoken in Spain. The program material extensively covers the use of the vosotros verb conjugations that is commonly ignored with Latin American dialect Spanish courses.

The instructional manual is divided  into four chapters that closely follow along with the audio materials. Each chapter is further divided into smaller units for focused study. Each unit begins  with a sample dialog, then important phrases are repeated for practice. Next to each sample dialog page is a page of photographs relating to the topic of that unit. Several pages that immediately follow list the extensive vocabulary of each unit and how to use phrases with similar meanings to express an idea.  Finally, a page is dedicated to oral substitution and pattern drills as read aloud on the audio portions of the program.

Sprinkled throughout the instructional manual are a number of pages that describe to the student important information  about Spain and Spanish culture. These pages tell the reader what Spanish people  like to do, how they react in various cultural situations, and why Spain has such cultural diversity in the make-up of its people and regions. The appendix  of the instructional manual has several pages dedicated to additional cultural information regarding specific cities and regions of Spain.

This course does not take the time to explain to the listener the differences of -ar, -ir and -er verbs, limiting its usefulness to a beginning student. Intermediate level listeners may actually find this refreshing since they can quickly move on to developing more advanced  conversational skills. The instructional manual contains explanations of the  material in English, but the translation of the actual dialogs and pattern drills into English is only done in the accompanying audio script booklet.

The layout of the instructional manual is wonderful for using in conjunction with the audio material. Lessons never  span pages and the entire lesson or dialog is presented without interruption. Explanations of the material and vocabulary have their own dedicated pages,  making reference to these resources quick and simple. The book is also quite colorful with a wealth of interesting photographs and colorful pictures. The audio quality of the program is excellent and the actors are lively and entertaining.

Express Track to Spanish is an ideal course for anybody with a reasonable proficiency in basic Spanish wanting to move to the next level of comprehension. Beginners may also find this program  useful for learning the vosotros forms of verbs if used along with another more fundamental course. This program is fast paced and the student can rapidly progress through each of the units. The course is attractively priced for the amount  and level of material covered and is a good value.

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