The Rocket Language series is a very popular online – based language learning program that allows users to acquire new languages through audio lessons, workbooks, quizzes, games, and more. One of their flagship titles, and arguably their most popular seller, is Rocket Spanish.
Spanish is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, and for English speakers is one of the easier second languages to learn. Opportunities abound for those learning to practice with native speakers, and it’s immensely helpful for traveling as the amount of countries that speak Spanish is quite numerous.
So how does Rocket Spanish stack up, and what’s included? Read on for our in-depth review and tour.
Note: I took Spanish for 2 years at the University of Michigan, so I am at an advanced level although my Spanish is a bit rusty. However I think that gives me a bit of an advantage in terms of reviewing this program as I can see what they are covering and how well they are doing it.
The Rocket Spanish course helps people learn the language through a variety of different methods, and is broken down into several segments.
- Interactive audio lessons – the meat of the course, these offer full audio conversations with pauses for repetition, and focus on conversational aspects of Spanish.
- Language And Culture Lessons – these drill down into more specific things such as telling the time, numbers, and more nitty gritty grammatical things.
- The “Survival Kit” – focused on certain situations you may face as a tourist or traveler, such as looking for a bank, clothing, and body parts.
- “My Motivation” – Articles on learning languages and strategies, as well as motivational articles to keep you on track
- Games - fun way to break up vocab learning and brush up on terms
- Quizzes – to help measure your progress through each lesson and your overall progress through the course as a whole.
- 218 page PDF workbook – goes over grammar and more vocabulary
The Audio Lessons / Language And Culture
The most heavily promoted part of the course are the audio lessons. These lessons range from 15 minutes to a half hour, and provide opportunities for the person taking the course to repeat back words in order to master pronunciation as well as retention. It’s funny how in the first lesson you are constantly reminded to repeat the phrases out loud. However, I must say that following the instructions and actually repeating the phrases is key to your success in learning the language. I found the audio lessons to progress at a good pace; not too slow and not too fast. They are also quite clear in terms of audio quality; the speakers are very articulate and easy to understand.
You can download the audio lessons as MP3 files in order to listen to them on your iPod or other MP3 device. This allows you to easily listen to them on the go. I suggest that you do this and listen to the audio lessons several times each in order to really drill them into your memory.
The audio lessons come with transcripts underneath so you can see the words spelled out, another great feature.
In order to keep you motivated and on track there is a progress meter called “My Level”. This quizzes you at the end of each lesson and allows you to rate yourself on how well you have learned each lesson and the vocabulary and phrases within. Your progress in the overall course will then be displayed.
Audio Comparison And Practice
One cool feature of the Rocket Spanish course is that you can compare your pronunciation to that of the person in the lesson using a mapped out wave form. You can then replay individual words and work on your pronunciation. Basically all of the vocabulary and phrases are recorded like this for your benefit. It’s helpful in terms of getting your pronunciation just right, and the repetition is key.
One interesting part of this course is the “My Motivation” section. This part of the course is a series of articles that is designed to give you pep talks, strategies about learning styles, and basic pointers about memory and learning languages. These are great for helping you to stick to your goals as sometimes learning a language can be difficult and tedious – especially if you’re doing it on your own without a teacher and grades to keep you on task.
The Mega Spanish games offer a fun and different way to reinforce your Spanish vocabulary. I actually really like the games – they are interactive and fun. Sometimes the pictures that go with the words they are quizzing you on don’t really match up very well (although finding a picture to illustrate a word like “place” is probably hard to do). The difficulty of some of the pictures makes it more challenging since you need to know all the words that are options in the multiple choice – you sometimes can’t get away with figuring out the answer unless you can eliminate the other words.
Anyone can jump into the games quickly and easily. This game is very similar to what they do in Rosetta Stone. You can do three different areas: Vocab, Verbs, and Audio.
If you’re looking for help there is a community forum that anyone with access to the Rocket Spanish program can post in. You can ask questions and get advice from other members. I wish this community were a bit more active, so I don’t think this is a huge selling point of the program. However I wouldn’t let that stop you from trying Rocket Spanish. It can be very hard to cultivate an active online forum, and there are other forums around the internet that can fill this need for you.
Help And Guarantee
If you get stuck with the program you can contact the Rocket Languages company at any point for helpful and friendly customer service. And if for any reason you don’t like the Rocket Spanish program or don’t think that it’s what you expected you have a full 60 day money back guarantee. I think this purchase security is a great feature of Rocket Spanish.
You can try out Rocket Spanish thanks to their free trial offer, which might be a great way for you to see if it’s something you want to try out.
Before this review gets too long winded, I’d like to wrap up by saying that personally I think that Rocket Spanish is a great, great way to introduce yourself to the language. No matter what the reason is that you’re learning Spanish, I really think that if you set aside time each day to use this program that you will make excellent progress and be speaking and understanding Spanish confidently.
Is this course perfect? No. If you really want to be fluent you’re going to have to go beyond Rocket Spanish. But no course will make you fluent in 3 months either. What you get out of the course depends very much on how much you put into it.
I would also suggest that you do supplemental things such as watching Spanish movies as well as reading Spanish publications such as People magazine’s Spanish edition. This is what I did while I was taking Spanish courses and it put me well ahead of the curve.