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How to Help Children Improve Their Spanish

By: Jane Pullen - Updated: 10 Jan 2013 | comments*Discuss
 
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There are many ways of helping children improve their Spanish. If helping a child to learn at home conjures up images of testing them on their vocabulary or listening to verbs being conjugated then it is time to think again! Making learning fun and interesting is part of the key to success and organising some exciting home projects can really help to bring Spanish alive. Many projects can be undertaken at home without the need of parents or carers to speak or understand Spanish.

Making Learning and Practice Fun

Learning and practising Spanish needs to be fun in order to keep a child engaged. Boring revision is bad enough when it is for homework, however getting a child to improve their Spanish during a holiday or weekend must be interesting and engaging to make it work. Simple exercises, such as only referring to household items in Spanish, are easy ways to help a child get familiar with the Spanish language. With a little planning there are many other learning techniques that can be applied at home. Here are some ways to help children improve their Spanish:

Spanish language comics and books
A child who is interested in Ben 10, Dora the Explorer or other well known characters is much more likely to read a Spanish version of a comic featuring their favourite character than they are to spend time with a reference book. Many comics and books that appeal to children of all ages are available in Spanish as well as English. Spanish comics can be found in large book shops or newsagents as well as being widely available on the Internet.

Tips for helping a child to improve their Spanish by using comics and books:

  • Encourage children to identify the words that they do not know and look them up in a dictionary. Keep a list of words that have been learnt.
  • Pick picture books, if possible, as these help to put the text in context.
  • If in doubt choose books and comics from a younger reader group.

Films in Spanish
Many DVDs offer a range of different language options, including Spanish. This can offer a young learner a great opportunity to listen to Spanish being spoken by native Spanish speakers. DVDs can often be rented from libraries at a relatively low cost.

Tips for helping a child to improve their Spanish by using films and DVDs:

  • Start off with films and programs for young children as the pace of the spoken language is likely to be slower.
  • Play the DVD in small segments of just a few minutes. Allow the child to digest what they have seen and heard.
  • Keep a word list of new vocabulary learned.

Online resources
There are many websites that offer support to young Spanish learners. The BBC, for instance, has multimedia lessons for learners of Spanish. This can be a useful complement to lessons at school. Online resources have the added benefit of providing both visual and audio content.

Tips for helping a child to improve their Spanish by using online resources:

  • Only use reputable websites that have a solid reputation. Many online resources are free and do not require registration.
  • Look for websites that specialise in the relevant age group.
  • Many websites also offer printable games and quizzes, complete with answers, and this can be useful for parents and carers who want to help their children improve their Spanish.

Rewards

There are many ways to reward young learners when they are doing well with Spanish. Rewards can also be built into an improving Spanish at home programme. For instance a reward could be to take the youngster to a Spanish restaurant and to allow them to order the food in Spanish. If there isn't a Spanish restaurant locally then cooking a special Spanish themed meal at home could also make for a fun activity.

Working with Teachers

Before planning a program of Spanish projects and exercises at home it is a good idea to speak to the child's teacher and agree the best way to proceed. The teacher may have some ideas or recommendations based on the specific needs of the child. They may also be able to point parents and carers to material that supports material used in class.

There are many ways to keep learning Spanish fun and this will help learners of all ages improve their Spanish.

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