Although resources for learning languages abound, the reality is it can be hard for working adults to find the time and mental energy to learn and practice. The solution? Insert fun! When you combine your fun quota with your language practice quota, the latter gets much more enjoyable. After arriving home on long weekdays, it’s easier to push through practice.
Of course, apps have already added fun into the language-learning mix in the twenty-first century. So, it’s time to review more outside-of-the-box options, along with an app or two. If apps worked perfectly for everyone, people wouldn’t still be looking for fun ways to learn and practice. So, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite fun ways to practice the four skills of reading, listening, speaking and writing our favorite language, Spanish. May this four-part series inspire you to practice daily and have much more fun doing so!
To start with, the easiest skill for which to set up practice is reading. There’s lots of material to be read. Best of all, words hold still while you analyze them, except in the case of subtitles. This list is roughly ordered from basic reading to more advanced reading.
Picture dictionaries - When you’re just starting out, you need to know the names of many objects, items, places and situations. Picture dictionaries are a fun way to introduce a lot of vocabulary. Most picture dictionaries don’t put English in the middle like vocab lists, so your brain learns the names faster.
Books for young people - Now, this is absolutely not an attempt to infantilize our readers. The reality is, books for young people are designed for maximum learning. Why reinvent the wheel? Books for children and young adult readers have simple plots adults follow easily (and can often look up online). The result is that you can focus on native-style phrases and words while enjoying a nice little story. Also, this can help you relate to child clients easier and make therapy more fun.
TV shows & videos for young people - Once you’ve progressed a bit, TV shows and online learning videos often put words on the screen. This is more advanced because you’ll need better listening skills to follow the action. Subtitles can usually be added to TV shows through the settings. Sometimes, your setup will have listening and reading practice.
Joke books - A book of jokes or sayings, for young people or even adults, is always a fun read. The more you practice, the more laughs you’ll get out of it.
Bilingual books - When you open them, bilingual books have Spanish words on one page, and English on the other. They’re available for many ages and are more fun. How? They eradicate the drudgery of looking up words.
Simple stories, chapter books & classics - Once you’re not heavily reliant on a dictionary or translator, the challenge of a longer plot is a great next step. There are new apps that help with common books. Read Jack and the Beanstalk and learn how to say “fee fi fo fum” (well, to write it!) in Spanish. “Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest one of all” is a fun quote from Snow White. Ask yourself in Spanish each morning before you comb your hair, while toothpaste foams out of your mouth!
See our next articles for tips on listening, writing, and speaking Spanish, in that order!