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An Overview of Destinos: An Introduction to Spanish

written by: lwitkop • edited by: Rebecca Scudder • updated: 9/11/2012

Destinos: An Introduction to Spanish draws on the appeal of the Spanish telenovela, or soap opera, to help students learn the Spanish language.The series is comprised of 52 half-hour episodes.It was produced in 1992 by WGBH Boston.

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    About the Series


    Don Fernando, an old man living in Mexico City, receives a letter from his native Spain that brings up old secrets. His family hires a lawyer, Raquel Rodriguez, to investigate the letter. She travels the globe seeking clues while seeing the sights and finding adventure along the way.

    Spanish Language Learning

    Each episode emphasizes specific grammar and vocabulary points. For example, the first episode teaches vocabulary for family members and exposes students to cognates, while episode six teaches numbers, telling time, the days of the week, school subjects and animals.

    Spanish is incorporated into the episodes through character conversation and narration. Raquel verbally reviews events to further emphasize the content. Major vocabulary words appear in text on the screen.

    A series of questions at show's end allow students to assess their comprehension of the episode's events and further practice their listening skills.


    Episodes begin with a voiceover informing students what they will learn in the coming episode. This initial narration begins in English but then later turns to Spanish as students gain more exposure to the language. In the opening episodes, the narrator also provides tips for viewers to help them make the most of their learning experience, explaining, for instance, that they are not meant to understand every word of conversational Spanish but should look for context clues to determine meaning. English narration also explains some of the action in early episodes. Students should be able to stretch their listening skills without feeling overwhelmed.


    Destinos: An Introduction to Spanish takes viewers throughout Mexico, Spain, Argentina and Puerto Rico, exposing students to a range of Spanish cultures. Viewers experience the sights and sounds of these locations in a manner that is much more captivating than a documentary. Where necessary, English narration explains relevant cultural points.

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    Watching Destinos: An Introduction to Spanish

    Annenberg Media provides all 52 episodes of Destinos for online viewing. This is a great way to sample the series or to recommend it to individual students for additional enrichment. However, purchasing the DVDs is quite expensive. It will cost several hundred dollars to acquire the complete series, with an additional cost for textbooks, workbooks and supplementary audio on compact disc.

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