10 Powerful Ways To Improve Your Spanish
When you first begin learning Spanish it can feel like you’re walking alone through a never ending expanse of new things to learn.
We would all love to go from beginner to expert in a matter of months, but sorry to say, there is not magic pill. However, there are ways in which you can speed up the process to have you speaking Spanish quicker and feeling more confident in less time.
Read the following 10 powerful ways to improve your Spanish and you will be well on your way to reaching your Spanish goals.
1. Find a teacher and study Spanish regularly
It is best to learn from a professional so find yourself a good teacher. A lesson once a week is good, twice a week is better. You need regular input to improve. An occasional class once a month will not help you improve at all.
Nowadays online Skype lessons are a popular way to take lessons. It is a convenient and affordable way to take one-on-one lessons, plus you can choose the nationality of the teacher. An example is the website iTalki which has hundreds of Spanish teachers to choose from.
2. Practice speaking
Speaking is the hardest part of a language to master, therefore it is important to focus on practicing it a lot! Apart from taking lessons, a great idea is to use a language exchange website such as Conversation Exchange.
On this site you can search for people who are Spanish speakers that want to practice your language. The great thing about this is that you can select people from different countries to get use to different accents, or practice with someone in a country you plan to visit.
The above mentioned website iTalki also has a language exchange option. In addition, they also have the option of Community Tutors who are native speakers (or near native speakers) who can help you learn a language through informal tutoring or speaking practice.
Although I wouldn’t choose a Community Tutor as a grammar teacher (as they lack professional teaching credentials), they are a great way to practice your speaking for very cheap, normally around $5.00 and hour.
The benefit of paying for a cheap lesson compared with free language exchanges is that you get to spend all of the time talking in Spanish!
3. Go to Spanish events
Use websites such as Meetup and go to Spanish events such as movie nights or language exchanges. In most major cities there are Spanish speaking groups, for example, if you’re in Sydney you could attend this one. In addition to practicing your Spanish you also have the opportunity of making Spanish speaking friends who you can chat with outside of the meetups.
4. Practice writing
This is a great way to practice your grammar, spelling and also vocabulary. You can either:
– practice writing short stories and get your teacher to check for you
– write a diary
– use the same websites mentioned above Conversation Exchange or iTalki and write to people. When using this method it is best to write the message in Spanish and English so you can both practice. This also helps to correct each others mistakes.
5. Read in Spanish
Use sites like this one to practice your reading. This is great because it has graded reading which means you can choose the difficulty to match your level. Levels range from beginner to advanced with the grammar and vocabulary adjusted accordingly.
Click here to go to our homepage and select your level to begin reading.
6. Listen to Spanish graded listening
To practice listening comprehension we have added audio to our stories. The speed is adjusted so that with each level the speed increases. You will find it much more encouraging and feel you are making progress when you listen to exercises you can actually understand.
It is also a good idea to listen to Spanish music and Spanish speaking radio stations. You don’t need to be able to understand everything, you can even just have it playing in the background.
There are plenty of YouTube music videos you can choose from, and many often have lyrics you can read along to.
On the website Pimsleur Approach Language Learning they have a page full of Spanish radio stations categorised by genre and country.
There are a few handy apps that can aid in your Spanish learning.
8. Copy and repeat
Take advantage of time driving in your car by downloading Audible books and repeat what is said by copying the intonation and tone. This will aid in your listening, pronunciation and rhythm of speech. I found Spanish for Latin America to be quite fun and catchy, but there are plenty to choose from.
You can also read out loud to practice your vocalisation and mouth movements. This exercise is more tiring than you would think so limit the practice to a maximum of 15 minutes a day for beginners.
9. Watch English/American movies or TV shows
Netflix is a good cheap option for watching modern shows/movies in Spanish.
If you are a beginner, watch in your native language and use subtitles. When you start to become familiar with some words, practice listening in Spanish and have the subtitles in your native language.
*Note: sometimes the translations are not literal and this can be confusing for a beginner.
If you are intermediate, watch in Spanish with Spanish subtitles.
If you are upper intermediate to advanced watch in Spanish without subtitles.
10. Holiday in a Spanish speaking country
The best and most effective way to learn a language is by immersing yourself so you hear, speak and read Spanish all day long. Even a two week trip is enough to see your level significantly improve… as long as you hangout with locals. Most people make the mistake of spending most of their time with other tourists which means they speak more English than Spanish. Stepping out of your comfort is where you will see the most growth!
Adapting some of the above 10 powerful ways to improve your Spanish faster and more confidently… which ones will you choose
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