Improve Spanish
One way to learn: #90 ~ teach your kids Spanish.

If you are looking for fun, creative ways to improve your Spanish language skills, look no further. Below is an extensive list of ideas to choose from.

  1. Make the decision. I’m not kidding. If you have, you can take that off the list.
  2. Get an app. There are so many. Start. I use an app to learn French, Italian, Portuguese, and Japanese.
  3. Read everything in Spanish: subway signs, the instructions on your Spanish book. Everything.
  4. Get a grammar book. Get something simple that explains everything in English.
  5. Buy children’s books in Spanish, and not only for your kids, but for you :).
  6. Read to your kids, nieces, nephews. How great would it be to teach them Spanish?
  7. Do your groceries on the other side of town.
  8. Have an all-in-Spanish day when all you do is speak Spanish.
  9. Book a vacation to Latin America or Spain. You have 21 countries to choose from! Close your eyes, pick a place, and have a little fun.
  10. Choose a series from Netflix and watch it with English subtitles, if you are a beginner. For more advanced students, Spanish subtitles should be used.
  11. Have you ever watched a soap opera in Spanish? Some of the best telenovelas come from Mexico, Colombia, and Venezuela.  
  12. Watch your favorite film dubbed in Spanish.
  13. Watch cartoons in Spanish.
  14. Sesame Street! In Spanish.
  15. Build a music repertoire of songs. The more slangy the better.
  16. Sing.
  17. Learn some reggaeton.
  18. Change the language settings on your computer and phone.
  19. Change the language settings on your email.
  20. Learn bad words. I’m sure you can find a good use for them at some point.
  21. If you are using many books, stick to two. One should be the book you are using in class and another should be a book for grammar.
  22. No bulky dictionaries. An app suffices.
  23. One notebook. That is all you need.
  24. Keep a diary, all in Spanish. Write about anything you like: your life experiences, your learning progress, anything. This works wonders.
  25. Read your writing out loud.
  26. Take a good class.
  27. Understand your why. Why do you want to learn Spanish? And why now?
  28. Study the history and culture.
  29. Do not look at the time when you are in class.
  30. Do not speak English in class.
  31. Do study.
  32. Do know that learning a language is an investment.
  33. Know that, like I always say, learning a language is an act of love, patience and courage.
  34. Do know that “The course of true love never did run smooth.” One of my favorite Shakespearean quotes.
  35. Keep motivated your motivation up.
  36. Take good notes.
  37. Understand what type of learner you are: visual, auditory, reading/writing, or kinesthetic. This will help you decide on what’s the best method for you or your teacher to use.
  38. Visual learners: use pictures and color, find an energized and picturesque teacher.
  39. Auditory learners: use films and TV.
  40. Reading and writing learners: write away.
  41. Kinesthetic learners: play!
  42. All learners: do what all the other learners are doing too (see #24, 25, 26).
  43. Find an excellent teacher who is really invested in your journey.
  44. Read a novel in Spanish. Your teacher can recommend the right one for your level.
  45. Read your favorite English novel translated into Spanish.
  46. Clean up the clutter. If you are not looking through those old handouts, it’s time to throw them out.
  47. Play online games.
  48. Do you like TV? There are many popular Spanish shows to binge watch.
  49. Choose a director from Latin America or Spain and watch all his movies. This will familiarize you with the idioms and accents of a specific region of the Spanish-speaking world.
  50. Know what the most common Spanish verbs are and how to conjugate them.
  51. Makes a list of verbs you want to learn.
  52. Do not underestimate the power of verb drills.
  53. Know that there are three levels to teaching and learning: mechanical, associative, and communicative. Go through each level every time you learn something new.
  54. Mechanical level: repetition is your friend. This is particularly important for the conjugation of verbs.
  55. Associative level: this is when you start filling in the blank, associating words with pictures, and doing other basic, but much needed exercises.
  56. Communicative level: you are now ready to start using what you learned in communication.
  57. Do not spend a lot of time focusing on the levels.
  58. Do not think you are too old to learn Spanish.
  59. Do not think Spanish is too difficult.
  60. Do not think everyone speaks English (Spanish is second only to Chinese).
  61. Do not think you’ll never use Spanish (you have over 21 countries to choose from).
  62. Find someone you can torment with Spanish-only emails. Your colleague from Colombia? Your Spanish teacher? They will only mind the first 30 or so emails you send. After that, they’ll be used to them.
  63. Slang is fantastic. It will impress your teacher and Spanish-speaking friends.
  64. Read the book instructions out loud.
  65. Do all your reading out loud.
  66. Play online language games.
  67. Play “I spy.” This is a super fun game to play with my nieces and nephews.
  68. Read through Wikipedia in Spanish. I have a cousin who has learned French, Italian, Russian, German and is a huge fan of this. So much so, that he created his own method.
  69. Label your home. Just put post-its all over the place.
  70. Set a time aside for your studies, even if it’s only 20 minutes a day.
  71. Got a dog? Teach him some tricks in Spanish. Be careful not to teach him too much. They are fast learners!
  72. Find like-minded people at a Spanish meetup.
  73. Get yourself a Spanish boyfriend. Sometimes that’ll do the trick.
  74. Isn’t it time you make friends from Latin America or Spain?
  75. Set up a time to call your classmate and practice.
  76. Find someone you can teach English to over Skype in exchange for Spanish lessons.
  77. Do your groceries in a Hispanic neighborhood.
  78. Learn Spanish while doing laundry. Simple things like practicing colors and clothings types and sizes could not only build your vocab, but also kill time.
  79. Go for Spanish tapas.
  80. Go to a Latino restaurant and try your Spanish with the waiters.
  81. Learn about Latin American cuisine. Your appetite could certainly give you an additional reason to devour the language.
  82. Learn to cook Spanish food.
  83. Any interest in black paella?
  84. Go out for a drink in a Hispanic neighborhood.
  85. Learn the names of the most popular drinks from Latin America and Spain. Pisco Sour anyone?
  86. Go dancing at a Latin club.
  87. You think that girl sitting at the bar is attractive? Learn the word ligar (I’ll let you look that up).
  88. Volunteer in rural Latin America.
  89. Making a reservation at a Spanish restaurant? Or at that hotel in Buenos Aires? Do it in Spanish.
  90. Teach your kids Spanish. Two people in the household who speak the language? A bilingual child?
  91. Find a penpal.
  92. Find a Latino boyfriend. I know, I mentioned that already.
  93. Holiday cards written in Spanish? You’ll confuse a few people but could be interesting.
  94. Move into a Hispanic neighborhood. This can be drastic, but why not?
  95. Pretend to be Hispanic for a day and tell people you don’t speak English. Ok, maybe this won’t improve your Spanish, but it will be so much fun!
  96. Learn what “Pura vida” is all about in Costa Rica.
  97. Move abroad.
  98. Plan your retirement abroad. Nothing says quality of life like warm people, good weather, green fields and a lower cost of living.
  99. Live the language. How can you incorporate Spanish into your world through film, music, cultural events, travel and other forms?
  100. DO NOT GIVE UP.
  101. Start. Now.
Irma Cedeno

Irma is an educator, linguist, creativity expert, cultural competence strategist, and the founder of Diáfano, a company responsible for designing and implementing Spanish classes and programs at corporations. From universities and top US institutes to Fortune 500 companies, Irma has been an integral part of language learning and cultural competence training. After travelling to 40+ countries (and counting!) and over 10 years of working in education, she developed and honed her methodology in 2013. The Diáfano Method is student-centered methodology that breaks down language learning into clear and simple steps.
Irma grew up bilingual and is a proud learner of French, Italian, Portuguese, and Japanese. Check her out at www.diafanomethod.com.

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