Do you want a guaranteed way to learn Spanish while enjoying yourself completely? It’s through music! Ten long years ago, I started learning Spanish from scratch and my constant companions were clear and catchy Spanish songs. I spent at least an hour daily listening to my favorite songs, hoping to get them to stick in my head (they always did). This method has worked wonders for me in French, as well, where I spent thousands of hours of my teenage years listening to French pop, polishing my accent, and increasing my fluency. While you’re not here to learn French, you will be happy to know that this trick works for any language! With regular auditory exposure to Spanish music such as the songs I share below, you will build your vocabulary, practice your accent, learn some useful phrases, and pick up a thing or two about the cultures that produced them. So, grab your favorite headphones, curl up in a comfy spot, and let’s get to listening. ¡Escuchemos música!
10 Spanish Songs to Study
To make the most of out of each song here (and others you may add to your playlist), be sure to study them one by one. Start with one song and listen to it while you read the lyrics. Jot down some words or phrases that are confusing to you. Use a dictionary to translate the meaning and create a picture of what’s happening in the song. And most importantly—sing along! By singing the songs, you get all the benefits of becoming more familiar with Spanish, like an increase in your pace of speech, refined pronunciation, and a boost in fluency.
How does this work? Each song has a Youtube link to follow. Start listening while you come back to this blog post and try to hear the lyrics in bold. The verbs, words, and phrases precede the lyric and give you a chance to use them on your own. Let’s get to it!
Julieta Venegas, from Mexico
Song: “Limón y Sal”
Album: Limón y Sal
Tener que – to have to (tengo que confesar = I have to confess)
Desaparecer – to disappear (tu me desapareces = you disappear on me)
Ponerse – to become/get (te pones de un humor extraño = you get in a weird mood)
Volver a + verb – again (vuelvo a empezar = I start again)
tal y como – just/such as (yo te quiero tal y como estás = I love/want you just as you are)
hacer falta – to lack/to be necessary (no hace falta cambiarte nada = there is no need to change anything about you)
Los Amigos Invisibles, from Venezuela
Una mentira – a lie (esas son puras mentiras = those are pure lies)
Andar – to walk/hang around (esa noche yo no andaba allí = that night I wasn’t hanging around there)
Contar – to tell (te cuentan que me vieron paseando en la ciudad = they tell you that they saw me taking a walk in the city)
Portarse – to behave (cuando no estás conmigo, yo me porto bien = when you’re not with me, I behave well)
Contento – happy, distraido – distracted (yo estaba muy contento y como distraido = I was really happy and as distracted)
Ricardo Arjona featuring Gaby Moreno, both from Guatemala
Song: “Fuiste Tu”
Album: Independiente + demos
Ser – to be (Fuiste tú = it was you)
la melancolía – melancholy (Lo tuyo fue la intermitencia y la melancolía = yours was intermittence and melancholy)
un chantaje – blackmail (Jamás te dije una mentira o te inventé un chantaje = I never told you a lie or blackmailed you)
el motor de arranque – the starter motor (cuando los besos fueron el motor de arranque que encendió la luz = when the kisses were the starter that ignited the light)
disfrazarse – to disguise/dress up (Así se disfraza el amor para su conveniencia = that’s how love is disguised for convenience)
Juanes, from Colombia
Song: “La camisa negra”
Album: Mi Sangre
De luto – in mourning (hoy mi amor está de luto = today my love is in mourning)
Herir – to hurt/wound (Y eso es lo que más me hiere = and that’s what hurts me most)
Quedarse – to stay/to be left (mal parece que solo me quedé = it seems bad that I was left alone)
Con disimulo – surreptitiously/furtively (Te digo con disimulo = I tell you furtively)
Amargo – bitter (Respiré de ese humo amargo de tu adiós = I breathed the bitter smoke of your good-bye)
Mostrar – to show (Ni siquiera muestras señas = you don’t even show signs)
Bomba Estereo, from Colombia
Song: “Somos dos”
Llenar – to fill up (tus ojos me están llenando solo con verlos = your eyes are filling me up just by seeing them)
Abrazarte – to hug you (no necesito si no abrazarte para sentirlo = I need only to hug you to feel it)
Emoción – feeling/excitement (que emoción = how exciting)
Ser parte de – to be a part of (ser parte de tu sonrisa y de tu alegría = to be a part of your smile and your happiness)
Callarse – to hush/be quiet (cuando el silencio se calle la boca y no pide perdón = when silence hushes the mouth and doesn’t ask for forgiveness)
Mientras – while, meanwhile (mientras los mundos se juntan = while the worlds come closer together)
Song: “Te Voy a Amar”
Album: Un Nuevo Sol
Poco – little/not much (Es poco decir = it’s not enough to say)
Alcanzar – to reach/catch (no me alcanzan las palabras = I can’t find the words)
Volverse – to become (Lo blanco y negro se vuelve color = black and white become color)
Medir – to measure (Porque me das tu amor sin medir = because you give your love without measure)
Junto – (quiero vivir la vida entera junto a ti = I want to live my whole life next to you)
Alex Ubago, from Spain
Song: “Mil Horas”
Preguntarse – to wonder (Yo me pregunto para qué sirven las guerras = I wonder what wars are for)
Alrededor – around (como la nieve a mi alrededor = like the snow all around me)
Hace (impersonal verb) – it has been (hace tiempo que estoy sentado sobre esta piedra = it’s been awhile that I’ve been sitting on this rock)
Esperar – to wait (La otra noche te esperé bajo la lluvia dos horas = the other night I waited for you in the rain for two hours)
Malu Trevejo, from Cuba
Song: “Una Vez Más”
Una vez – one time (una vez más = one more time)
Seguir – to follow (Que si tú te vas al cielo te sigo = if you go to heaven, I’ll follow you)
Alejarse – to go away (Quieres que me aleje = you want me to go away)
Cualquiera – ordinary/any (Sé que no soy cualquiera = I know I’m not ordinary)
Decir – to say (El corazón dirá más = the heart will say more)
Venir – to come (Dime que por mí vendrás = tell me you will come for me)
CNCO, boy band formed from the show La Banda
Song: “De Cero”
Album: Que Quiénes Somos
Sufrir – to suffer (dicen que estás sufriendo = they say you are suffering)
Entregarse – to surrender (Sin mente yo me entregaré = without thinking, I will surrender)
Empezar – to start (de cero empezamos = we start from zero)
Dejar – to leave/abandon/forget (Mejor dejamos la estupidez = we better leave behind the nonsense)
El tuyo – yours (Yo soy lo tuyo y tu eres la mia = I’m yours and you’re mine)
Un regalo – gift (La vida es corta y tu eres un regalo = life is short and you’re a gift)
Jesse y Joy, brother and sister duo from Mexico
Descifrar – to decipher/to figure out (Tú dices que soy imposible de descifrar = you say that I’m impossible to figure out)
Tanto – so much (Te amo tanto = I love you so much)
Tonta/tonto – silly (Tanto que me siento tonta = so much that I feel silly)
Sumar – to add (Cuenta todas las estrellas y súmale una más = count all the stars and add one more)
Soler – to tend to (me suele incomodar = it tends to make me uncomfortable)
Bulk Up Your Playlist
Seeking out more songs is so much fun. Once you finish absorbing the material from the 10 songs above, you can start adding your own! Here is a set of criteria to use while searching for the most effective songs for Spanish learning:
- Clarity – Make sure that endings of words and complete syllables aren’t chopped off, that the pronunciation of words is as accurate as possible and that the speed is understandable.
- Simple – Choose songs with fairly easy lyrics that don’t complicate the message.
- Catchy – Find songs you like! With a nice beat and fun rhythm, the lyrics you’re learning are more likely to stick in your head.
- Repetition – Gravitate toward songs with plenty of repetitive parts that encourage you to practice over and over.
Practice with a Native Speaker
After you spend some time learning new words and phrases, you will feel really motivated to use them in speech. Sign up for a free online class with a native Spanish-speaking teacher from Guatemala, and let them know all about your favorite Spanish songs!Read More
It’s moving day guys! How many times have you moved? In the first 3 months of our marriage, my husband and I moved 4 times, and we are constantly traveling to visit family. Suffice it to say, I have a lot of experience packing and moving – and I don’t particularly like it! It can be such a stressful experience, especially if you’re doing it in a foreign country. With all this experience of moving around a Spanish-speaking country, though, I have picked up some key vocabulary in Spanish that will hopefully help make your next move go smoothly.
If you ever need to move to a Spanish-speaking country, or if you have Spanish-speaking workers help you move in the States, the following vocabulary and phrases will definitely help you make the moving process go smoothly. Let’s check them out!
One English Word, Two Spanish Words
Did you catch that first word in the chart? To move? It is not mover, as you might have thought, but mudarse! Be very careful with this one, as it is a common mistake for Spanish learners to use mover when talking about moving to a new home. Mover is for every type of movement, except moving to a new house! That is exclusively mudarse. I’m not quite sure why moving to a new home has a separate word in Spanish, but if you think about all the work that goes into packing, relocating, and unpacking, it is a quite different idea from other movements that we do throughout the day. It is a pronominal verb as well, so keep that in mind when talking about where and when you’re moving. Check out these phrases to help you in your conversations:
Nos vamos a mudar a Argentina.
We’re going to move to Argentina.
Me mudé a Guatemala en 2013.
I moved to Guatemala in 2013.
¿Estás pensando en mudarte?
Are you thinking about moving?
Él se muda a España el viernes.
He is moving to Spain on Friday.
Remember that with pronominal verbs, we include a reflexive pronoun. The placement of that pronoun can vary depending on the sentence, as shown in the sentences above. For more information on where to place the reflexive pronoun, click here.
Another English word that has two potential Spanish translations is ‘to live.’ Yes, as you probably guessed, the most common translation in vivir. However, there is another word that translates to live, which is morar. The first time I saw this word, it was in the past participle form he morado (I have lived), and I was thoroughly confused. I have purple? Purple is a verb? While it may look like the word for purple in Spanish (morado), it is not! It is another way to say ‘to live,’ or more formally, ‘to dwell.’ In English, ‘to dwell’ sounds very formal, and so you may tend to reserve the use of morar for equally formal occasions like I have (I’m not sure that I have ever used morar in conversation). However, it does not exclusively mean such a formal idea! It is also a synonym for vivir, and I have heard it used several times in informal conversation. This is just something to keep in mind as you talk to people in Spanish about where you have lived and are living.
What is your role on moving day? Are you the one listening to commands, obediently carrying and packing boxes? Or are you the one giving the commands, making sure everything is in order? Either way, you need to know how to use and understand commands in Spanish! For a more in-depth look at the imperative voice (commands), check out Spanish Commands Part 1 and Part 2.
In English, the verbs don’t change when we give a command:
I put it over there. / You put it over there.
Put it over there!
Can you see how the verb ‘put’ stays the say in general statements and a commanding sentence? Unfortunately, the Spanish command form isn’t quite that simple. There are different conjugations for each person you could give a command to (tú, usted, ustedes). We don’t have a conjugation for all the pronouns in the imperative form because you can’t give a command to yourself or to him or her. While we can’t give commands to ‘us,’ we do have a unique way of encouraging teamwork in both English and Spanish! In English, we would say something like, ‘let’s do this!’ or ‘let’s work together.’ In Spanish, the verb would actually take the subjunctive form to represent that idea of ‘let’s.’ It is often considered part of the command conjugations but is technically the subjunctive form!
In our chart above, there are several commanding sentences. Can you find some? They are all referring to either tú or nosotros. If you want to use those sentences with usted or ustedes, the verb would have to change. Let’s look at how some of them would change so you are completely prepared if you want to give a command to a group of people or someone you respect.
Are you able to see some patterns in how to conjugate the verbs in the imperative? Click here for more help! Poner is probably the most useful verb for moving day, and it is, unfortunately, an irregular verb. However, the imperative tú form is quite simple – pon. If you want to have just one simple phrase to remember for moving day, I would recommend the following: Pon eso allí. Put that there. It will get you through a lot of conversations when moving. Even if you don’t quite understand everything being said, the most important thing is where to put the boxes! With that little sentence, you can survive moving in Spanish!
Are you ready to move? Hopefully, with this blog, you are able to take away some of the stress of moving by having a straightforward list of key phrases for packing and moving in Spanish. If you think of any more words that you need to use for moving day, or if you want to translate a specific command or sentence, talk with one of our teachers! They are all native Spanish speakers, and they would love to help you. You can sign up for a FREE trial class here, or you check out how our classes work here. You don’t want to miss a chance to perfect your Spanish-speaking abilities. Sign up today and happy moving day! ¡Feliz día de mudanza!Read More
If you grew up (or are still growing up!) in the church, you know that youth group is a big part of the church community. It is a place where teens and pre-teens can come together, find community, have fun, and learn about God in a more relatable way. I personally remember attending several different youth groups because it was a great way to find friends outside of school. One youth group even had their facility open every day after school, and I would go and do homework or just hang out with other kids and the staff. It was a great, friendly environment, and I would always invite my friends, whether or not church was their ‘thing.’ At that age, I didn’t speak Spanish very well, so I couldn’t invite any Spanish-speaking friends to youth group with me! Hopefully, with these helpful vocab lists, you will be prepared to invite your Spanish-speaking friends to youth group in their native language.
We’ll start with some activities and people that you’ll find when you go to youth group:
Pretty straightforward, right? You can use these words to give your friends an idea of what will happen at the event. Now, you can’t predict everything will be said at youth group, but here are some phrases that you can use to invite your friend to youth group and then introduce them to the whole gang!
I hope those phrases help you get up the nerve to ask your Spanish-speaking friends to the next youth group event! Even if they can’t understand everything that happens that night, the most important thing is to make sure they feel welcome! If you have more specific phrases that you want to learn how to say in Spanish, be sure to ask your teacher in your next Spanish class! ¡Diviértete!Read More
A couple of years ago, a friend and I were on a stakeout. We sat in her car for hours on end, eating hotdogs and looking for clues. We found what we were looking for halfway through the second hotdog. A big brown dog was walking in the streets of the neighborhood where we were parked. My friend, Gaby, rescues stray dogs as a hobby. Her house always has at least 5 dogs running around! We were watching the dog because she had signs of having had puppies recently, and we wanted to know where she kept them so we could take the whole family to the shelter instead of just the brown dog. That way, the puppies could be with their mom.
In most Latin American countries stray dogs are a fairly common sight, but not all of them are having a bad time! In some places, there are ‘town dogs’ who have no owner in particular, but people from the town will feed them and give them shelter. In my previous neighborhood, the town dog was named Tocino, which translates to bacon! Pets have always been friends, companions, helpers… some even consider pets part of their family. Today, we’re going to learn about different pets and how to say their names in Spanish, see if you can guess which animal I’m talking about!
Pronounced pair-row, this is one of the first animals humans domesticated, and they’ve been with us for approximately 15,000 years! They come in many shapes and sizes, but the thing they have in common is that they will love you unconditionally. Still haven’t guessed? Let me give you another clue. They are also known as el mejor amigo del hombre, or ‘man’s best friend’. I’m of course talking about dogs! Some people keep dogs on a leash, una correa. To identify them, we give them collares, or collars.
Next, we have hurones, pronounced oo-rohn-ais. These slithery mammals were used for hunting back when we used horses to get around. They are playful, have small, sharp teeth and a long furry body. These are ferrets! They’re known for having qualities of both cats and dogs, but any ferret owner will tell you there’s much more to them than that. Ferrets are furry, or peludos, and have dientes filosos, sharp teeth! If you ever encounter an hurón juguetón, that means that your pet likes to play around a lot.
This one’s a freebie; iguana is pronounced the same in English and Spanish! The only difference is that instead of the ‘i’ sound, you have to say ‘ee’ instead. Iguanas are pets for people who like to sit down and chill out. The hardest part of owning an iguana, I’d say, is having to give them bichos, bugs for lunch; however iguanas eat vegetales too, like carrots and lettuce. Did you know the word ‘reptiles’ is the same in English and Spanish? The pronunciation changes, though. In Spanish, we say rep-tee-lays. With reptiles, it’s always a good idea to research before you buy, because our scaly friends have different diets and care instructions based on the species.
Mischievous, mysterious, and cuddly – these three words can be used to describe this next pet. Unlike perros, these animals domesticated themselves by helping humans get rid of rats and pests in exchange for food. This role was very important thousands of years ago because these pests carry disease that we couldn’t deal with back then. As a result, some cultures came to worship them, and I would argue that we still worship them today on the walls of the internet. If you haven’t guessed by now, I’m talking about cats! Cats eat ratas, or rats. They catch them with their sharp garras, unless they get them trimmed at the groomer. One of the cool things about gatos is that they don’t need to be potty trained! They go by themselves on their caja de arena, or litter box.
Pájaros (pah-ha-rows) have been a source of inspiration for many artists and musicians. They can be kind, energetic, uplifting, funny, and sometimes scary. Such a wide range of personalities comes from an even wider range of species to choose from. Their most distinctive characteristic is their ability to sing. Have you guessed? I’m talking about birds! These little friends are very delicate, and another species that requires research before getting one. Birds sleep in their cages, or jaulas. They have colorful plumas on their body and they can cantar beautiful songs.
El loro, pronounced loh-roh, is a specific kind of bird. You can find loros in jokes, movies, and on buccaneer shoulders. These birds are known for being able to imitate us, imitar, and are quite popular in Latinoamérica. Naturally, I’m talking about parrots! Parrots are coloridos, meaning they can sport many colors of the rainbow in their plumas.
Let’s finish with another freebie! Hamsters are also pronounced the same in English and Spanish. The only difference being the ‘ha’ at the beginning is pronounced ‘hah’. Normally, the ‘h’ is silent in Spanish, but since the word hamster was adopted from German, we say it the same in both languages. These little guys are famous for running around, squeaking and eating sunflower seeds, or semillas de girasol. They run around in their ruedas. Don’t forget to put some viruta de madera, bedding, for your hámster to sleep on!
More pet vocabulary to practice
How many pet names did you guess? Pets are as important to us as we are to them. We have created relationships with them that enable us to grow as people through cuddles. How cool is that?! Remember to always love and care for pets and other animals, and don’t forget to practice your Spanish at Homeschool Spanish Academy!Read More
Social media is one of the most powerful tools we have at our fingertips for language learning. Are you using it in the right way? It turns out that we can continue to enjoy the time spent on our favorite social media sites while we practice our Spanish skills by following some of the top creative and educational Spanish-speaking personalities on the web. No matter where in the world you may be, you can take advantage of the Spanish-immersion experience that these media channels provide with just a few clicks. Here we have compiled a list of the Top 8 Spanish-Speaking People You Should Follow if you would like to improve your language skills, learn more vocabulary, and have fun doing it. ¡Comencemos!
Eight Spanish-Speaking People to Follow
Social Media Resources for Beginners
If you happen to feel intimidated by the list we provided above, don’t worry! We all start somewhere and we’ve got something for you, too. If you consider yourself a beginner Spanish-learner and you would like to know who to follow for grammar tips and quick lessons, check these out:
Would you like to study up on social media vocabulary words in Spanish? Check out our mini-poster here!
Following for Fluency
Boost your language learning powers by adding this list of Spanish speakers and teachers to your social media. By engaging with their material on a daily basis, you are sure to improve your skills. If you would like to practice what you learn with a native Spanish teacher from Guatemala, join a free class from Homeschool Spanish Academy. You’ll be speaking Spanish after the first class, guaranteed!
Hello Spanish Learners! You are working so hard on mastering Spanish by taking classes, reading our blogs, and watching our YouTube videos – way to go! To be fluent in Spanish, you will need to understand through listening and reading as well as communicate by speaking and writing. You are almost there – keep working hard and expose yourself to Spanish every day! Whether it is through music, a podcast, noticias, telenovelas, speaking a tu mejor amiga or reading a terrific book!
Speaking of books, there are so many wonderful options to begin with! You will be so incredibly proud of yourself when you complete a proper book, cover to cover, en español!
Read below for tips on finding a book in Spanish that suits your needs:
Find a Topic That Interests You
We all have finite time during the day, so you will want to choose a book that appeals to you! Similar to reading in your native language, you will be more likely to start (and finish) a book that you enjoy on a subject/topic that holds your interest.
Choose a Book that is Not Too Long
You want to accomplish the task of finishing your first Spanish book! Begin with one that is a good length and not too overwhelming. Something you can easily fit into your school, sports, and homework schedule.
Find the ‘Just Right’ Book – One That is Challenging but Not Too Difficult
Remember when you read your first book in English around 1st grade? Chances are you picked up a book, flipped to a random page, read a few words and then decided if it was too easy or too difficult. Similar to Spanish, you want to find a good balance that is challenging, but not too easy. Using the Five Finger Rule helps you do just this:
- Choose your book and read a random page
- Hold up a finger for every word you don’t know
- If you have held up 5 fingers before finishing the page then the book is too difficult.
- Likewise, if you have held up only 1 finger, the book is too easy. You want to find the ‘just right’ book which is 2-4 fingers.
Finding your ‘just right’ book will encourage you to continue on with the story, challenge you just enough, and build your confidence!!
Choose Spanish and English ‘Side-by-Side’ Text
Have you ever read a paragraph in Spanish and you’re pretty sure you grasped the meaning, but there was that one word, or phrase, that left you questioning the meaning behind all the words? This happens to the best of us when reading in a new language. One way to self-check yourself is to read the Spanish text, and then verify you are on track with the English translation. Side-by-Side bilingual books are perfect for reading in Spanish and then testing your comprehension by reading the English section.
On a side note: I would recommend these text tools for your first few books, but then move on to books in Spanish only. You don’t want to rely on the translation and inhibit your immersion into the Spanish text.
Consider the Tense
Spanish is a complicated language with many tenses. If you are a beginner, then most likely you are most familiar with present, preterite and imperfect Spanish conjugations. Choose a book with this in mind!
Here are some great books to begin with:
Books with ‘Side-by-Side’ Translation in English and Spanish
- First Spanish Reader: A Beginner’s Dual-Language Book – This book is less than 100 pages with 41 stories. Each story increases in difficulty – beginning with stories in the present tense, and building from there. The book also includes exercises in Spanish.
- Stories from Latin America/Historias de latinamérica – 16 short stories from Central and South American authors. It includes free audio downloads of four chapters from the book! Good for advanced beginners, it provides cultural insights and includes a helpful vocabulary list.
- Spanish Short Stories 1/ Cuentos hispánicos 1 and Spanish Short Stories 2/ Cuentos hispánicos 2 – Short stories from Spanish-speaking authors. Instead of translating word for word, the English translation paraphrases the Spanish portions thus translating ideas. The book is recommended for advanced beginners and beyond.
Beginner Books in Spanish
- Papelucho– The author has published 12 books in the Papelucho series that are described as humorous, interesting and creative. The book speaks about everyday life in the present tense.
- Manolito gafotas/Manolito Four-Eyes – Follow 10-year-old Manolito as he navigates life in Madrid. This is a children’s classic in Spain and other parts of Europe and has inspired films and a TV series.
- Las tres reinas magas – This book is a modern twist on Los Reyes Magos (The three Kings- Spanish Christmas Story). The queens are holding down the castle as the Kings are away at war.
- Muerte en Buenos Aires -Spanish novels for beginners. There are many in the series by this author and they are simple to understand with fun and interesting detective plots.
Get started today
There are so many books out there. Comment below and let us know which one is your favorite! Also, enjoy a free class on us and ¡empieza a mejorar tu español ya!
Unless you’re homeschooling your child, you don’t have much say in what curricula teachers use in your kid’s classes. Are the curricula designed to help your student succeed? Are they teaching what your student actually needs to learn? Now, if you homeschool, you do get to choose what program and books you use to instruct your child. However, how do you know which curriculum is the best?
There are so many questions that come up about curricula, especially when you are looking to have your child learn a foreign language. Most parents don’t speak the language their child wants to learn, and even if they do, they might not know how to best teach it. So, if you are feeling overwhelmed with all the curricula options, we are here to help take one subject off your plate – Spanish.
If you’re still on the fence about what language to teach your child, check out our blog that explores why Spanish is the best foreign language to learn in our increasingly connected world.
How is our Spanish Curriculum different?
You want the best for your child. However, what makes a Spanish curriculum the best course for your child?
First, we need to talk about how you learn a language. It is not just memorizing words and phrases; learning a language is learning a new way to think, express yourself, and look at the world. To gain that knowledge, you need exposure and repetition. If you have kids, think about how they learned to talk – did you teach them a list of words and have them memorize it? Did you expect them to be fluent in a year? Were they able to speak immediately?
The best way to learn a language is as close as possible to the way we naturally learned our native tongue. This means lots of exposure and relating vocabulary to images or objects – NOT relating them to the English words.
Think of it this way – if you always relate a new Spanish word to its English equivalent, when you go to have a conversation, you will constantly be thinking of your answer in English, then taking time to translate it to Spanish. It’s hard and time-consuming! You would be better off creating new relationships between the Spanish words and the objects or ideas. One easy way to do this is by labeling things in your house with the Spanish word (check out more ideas here).
So, that’s great in theory, but how can it be applied to Spanish classes? Well, here at the Spanish Academy, we have developed our own curricula that our native-speaking teachers use in each class. The curriculum utilizes images to relate each new vocabulary word and phrase to a real-life situation. Many of our teachers also use physical objects in class and encourage their students to as well. This combination of images in the curriculum and physical objects in the virtual classroom help the students avoid translation and directly create relationships between the Spanish word and the object.
Levels of Fluency
When your child first started learning their native tongue, did they immediately start talking? No, of course not! There are multiple areas of language learning and fluency. A child first learns to understand a language before learning to respond. As we said before, we want to teach Spanish in a similar way to how we naturally learn a language. Therefore, the first step towards fluency is exposure and auditory comprehension.
All our teachers are native Spanish speakers, and they make conversation a priority in each class. While your student may not be able to reproduce the teacher’s questions and comments or respond to them right away, they are developing auditory comprehension, just as they did as a baby learning their first language. If your student is able to read and write, our curricula also combine this auditory comprehension with written practice, so your student grows in all areas of language learning – reading, writing, listening, and speaking.
How many times did you have to teach your child the colors before they could remember them all? Did they remember everything the first time? Of course not! When learning a new language, we are actually building new pathways in our brain, which takes time and dedication – or repetition. A lot of other curricula, especially the ones used in school settings, move too fast and don’t take the time to reinforce learn vocabulary.
The Spanish Academy curricula apply learned vocabulary in the following classes to make sure your student remembers what they learned and can actually use it. Furthermore, the teacher always starts the class with some quick conversation and pointed questions to review and reinforce previous lessons. Instead of learning one topic and moving on, our curricula builds upon itself, deepening those pathways in your brain until speaking Spanish becomes second nature.
One size does NOT fit all
While finding pieces of clothing that are ‘one size fits all’ is great because there’s no hassle of finding the perfect size for you, that thought process cannot be used when learning a language. As a child grows up, they learn differently, and their Spanish curriculum must reflect that. That is why we have all the following programs:
- Preschool Curriculum
- Elementary Curriculum
- Middle School Curriculum
- High School Curriculum
- Adult Curriculum
Each program is specifically designed with the student’s age in mind. For example, the middle school years are a time of preparation and transition, and our curriculum takes that into mind – while addressing Spanish grammar topics head-on like the high school curriculum, it still goes at a slower pace to make sure they are truly learning. It’s like an introduction to a high school level course, which is what those middle school years are all about.
Creating the Perfect Curriculum for Your Child
While we offer different courses for each age level, every child is unique and may need something tailored specifically to their learning needs. You don’t usually get the opportunity to adjust courses in many classroom settings, but our curriculum can be altered as needed. If your student needs to just review certain parts of a curriculum because they have already mastered some topics, our teachers can start them right at the appropriate lesson, so they aren’t bored with the classes. On the other hand, if your student needs more time to review a tricky topic, our teachers take the time to get extra review materials and make sure they master each lesson.
All of our Spanish curricula have homework, quizzes, and tests built into the programs, but you can opt out of those and do a freestyle course of study. Keep in mind that if you are looking for high school credit, your student will need to comply with all parts of the curriculum. For any other course, however, the assessments can be optional.
Some students would like to focus more on conversational Spanish, while others already speak fluently but need help with their written Spanish. Either way, our teachers can accommodate and adjust the curriculum for your student’s needs.
Additionally, we have worked with numerous students that have learning disabilities, such as dyslexia and ADHD. Just let your teacher know and they will accommodate accordingly. We are here to make learning Spanish easy for your child!
High School Courses
So many world language courses don’t offer options for high schoolers – they focus more on younger kids and avoid high school classes because of the strict standards required for high school Spanish. However, the Spanish Academy offers Spanish I, Spanish II, Spanish III, and Spanish IV for the high schoolers. The classes include graded homework (10%), quizzes (40%), and tests (50%), and we can provide a transcript for each completed semester.
These classes are perfect for if your student needs high school credit for Spanish, if they struggled in school and need reinforcement, or if they are looking to get a head start on their high school credits. We have received numerous testimonials about how our unique high school curriculum has helped students succeed in high school and be well-prepared for college classes. Download a sample here!
Strive for continuous improvement, instead of perfection.”– Kim Collins
Here at the Spanish Academy, we want to be constantly improving our classes. For that reason, we are making some exciting changes to our curriculum. The flexibility and teaching methods will be the same, but we will be bringing you a lot more content, with some extra special products for all you parents!
One important change will be our alignment with the ACTFL standards and level system. You will be able to see what fluency level your student is at and what they need to work on at each level. This will give you a better idea of how soon they will reach their Spanish fluency goal and how you can help get them there.
Stay tuned for the coming changes and sign up for a FREE class in the meantime!Read More