20 Brilliant ways to improve your Spanish!

Are you looking for more interesting and fun ways to improve your Spanish that do not take much time or effort? The following ideas from learners will inspire you and keep you motivated. As there are so many options available, I would suggest trying one idea at a time so that you don’t become completely overwhelmed.

1. Listen to podcasts in Spanish.
Notes In Spanish features podcasts at beginner, intermediate and advanced levels covering a wide range of topics about Spain and Spanish.
Audiria has podcasts on history, culture, grammar, songs, art, humour etc.
Spanish Podcast
Voices en Español
Show Time Spanish

2. Watch Spanish films.
Popular films include:
• The Motorcycle Diaries (Diarios de Motocicleta)
• Return (Volver)
• All About my Mum (Todo Sobre mi Madre)
• Pan‘s Laberyrinth  (El Laberinto del Fauno)
• Talk To Her (Hable con Ella)

3. Watch American films with Spanish subtitles.
This is a fantastic way to see how everyday expressions are said in Spanish as you often cannot translate word for word from English to Spanish.

4. Listen to Spanish radio.
Listening to authentic news bulletins from Spain will help you get used to the sound and speed of the language. The more you listen the more you will start to understand.
http://www.rtve.es/radio/ (Radio Nacional de España)
http://www.cadenaser.com/player_radio.html (Cadena Ser)
http://cope.es (Cadena Cope)

5. Listen to songs in Spanish.
Try to translate the lyrics of songs in Spanish by; Beyonce, Shakira, Enrique Iglesias, Ricky Martin and Christina Aguilera.

6. Watch Spanish television online.
• Telemadrid (www.telemadrid.es)
• Cervantes TV (www.cervantestv.es)
• Canal Sur (www.canalsur.es)

7. Watch Spanish news programmes online.
www.rtve.es/noticias – Spain’s top channel. Click on any video link and read the text version below.
www.antena3.com/noticias – Spain’s third channel.
www.telecinco.es/informativos – Spain’s fifth channel.

8. Read Spanish newspapers online.
www.bbc.co.uk/mundo – includes articles and videos of interviews and reports.

9. Read a book in Spanish.
Popular books in Spanish include:
• El niño con el pijama de rayas, John Boyne
• La telaraña de Carlota, E.B. White (Charlotte’s Web)
• Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, J.K. Rowling
• Como agua para chocolate, Laura Esquivel
• La Ciudad de las Béstias, Isabel Allende
• El alquimista, Paul Coelho
• Angeles y Demonios, Dan Brown

10. Find an intercambio. (exchange)
If you make enquiries, you are bound to find someone living in your area who is a native Spanish speaker. You could meet up to chat in Spanish and English.

11. Talk to someone regularly on Skype or by email through a language exchange program:
Conversation Exchange
My Language Exchange
Shared Talk

12. Record yourself speaking Spanish.
By playing it back to yourself you will improve your pronunciation so that you sound more “Spanish”.

13. Write a diary in Spanish.
This will help you practice everyday phrases which you would need when talking to friends/family.

14. Make your own flashcards / word cards of new words or phrases.

15. Keep a note book handy for adding useful new words and phrases.

16. Translate an article from a newspaper. English to Spanish or vice versa.

17. Think in Spanish. This will help improve your fluency when you come to speak.

18. Change your car’s GPS to Spanish to practise understanding directions and distances in Spanish.

19. Play interactive games on Nintendo DS and use interactive activities on the internet. The BBC languages (Spanish) site is an invaluable resource for all levels, including interactive video courses, audio and worksheets.

20. Get a grammar workbook that you can pick up and fill in when you have a spare ten minutes.

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