Pros: Good value, learn to build useful sentences, easy to learn, addresses multiple learning styles
This is a great way to teach my reading 5-year old Spanish. I wanted to find a good computer program that would hold his interest and help him learn to speak in sentences, not just learn a few numbers and colors. I knew he would do better if he could actually READ the words on the screen, so a program using audio disks alone would not work. Since we started this program, he asks to do this program every day, and he occasionally uses a Spanish sentence in his everyday conversations with me. This software teaches you how to build useful, flexible sentences in Spanish. This is accomplished by stringing together specific word groups. This program also promotes retention because it uses a specific moving visual graphic for each word/idea in the sentence. The text is also shown on the screen for each sentence as the speaker is saying it. The female Spanish speaker is very clear and speaks at a reasonable pace, not too fast or slow. Level 1 doesn't get into the lesser-used conjugations of verbs and many irregular verbs, but there are later packages that supposedly have those features. It would be helpful if they guided the user through a basic introduction of the Spanish alphabet and how to pronounce the vowels before launching into the first lesson. There is a pronunciation guide included in the price, but you enter into it as a separate program. It would also be nice to have an easier way to pause the program. There is a pause button you click on with the mouse, but it would be nice to have a keyboard shortcut. Overall, I think this is the best way that I have seen to learn Spanish that gets you going quickly and holds the interest of a child. I learned the language in school (I took 4 years of the language). We tried the online sample of Rosetta Stone Spanish, and he liked it, but I think that Visual Link Spanish is better. It looks like it will get him building useful sentences faster. I like that the words they group together in sentences are not just travel phrases, but typical everyday communication. I also like that you can start with Visual Link Level 1 and not have to spend hundreds of dollars at the outset. You can add on their other packages later, but only when and if you want to.