NewMeadow Uno is a company name I’ve had in mind for close to ten years, but the seeds of the business go way back to the 1980s. Before the Internet, when language learning resources for teachers like me were limited to the brochures we got in the mail. (Snail mail wasn’t even a word yet).

Dr. Seuss's masterpiece, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, hadn’t yet been released in Spanish, so I produced a very low-quality video cassette version of it. It was full of less-than-perfect rhyme and singing (my own), and the audio didn’t always match the visual. The kids loved the unpolished version, though.

Despite the errors I made in that production and other aspects of teaching Spanish, I feel like I was effective at borrowing approaches and games and tricks I had learned from others and then adding a twist. Or sometimes I tapped into my own natural reservoir of ideas, like how to teach pronunciation more effectively.

Even if I had spoken more Spanish, which I should have, I knew the listen-and-repeat method wouldn’t work for every student, every time. I knew this from my experience in Spain. I learned a lot of vocabulary as I immersed myself in that culture, but that didn’t prevent bad pronunciation habits—habits I would address early on with my students.

And so I re-introduced my students to words they already knew very well in English: Otter. Hen. Teen. And then I matched those words to Spanish words they were mispronouncing, like Argentina."

Because the Spanish R is one of most misunderstood and mispronounced letters, it was cool to hear students pronounce that letter correctly. "Nice Rs,” I would say to them (in Spanish). 

Three decades after I first used that technique NewMeadow Uno (number one in Spanish pronunciation) is now a company. And the compliment I used to pay my students has now become a product: ¡Buenas Erres!™

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