An important and helpful thing to do when learning Spanish is to listen to it as much as you can! There are a few things that happen when you listen to it a lot even though you may not understand very much.
Get Used to the Language
First of all, you start to get used to the sound of the language and you develop an ear for how it sounds. This will help you as begin to speak, because you will know whether what you are about to say sounds right or not.
Be Able to Understand More and More
Second you start to be able to understand what you are hearing. You will start to recognize individual words and phrases. This is really good, because once you are able to pick out a few words, you will be able to make guesses about other words. You will be able to start guessing at the context and what they are likely saying, even if you don’t know exactly what they are saying. You will also start to hear words you don’t know, and you will be able to look them up. You will be able to guess at how they are spelled because now you know how Spanish sounds- all because you made the effort to listen to it a lot!
Be Able to Gauge Your Progress
Third, listening will help you gauge your progress in the language. Studying any language can be very frustrating especially in the beginning because language learning doesn’t tend to follow any expected trajectory. It often comes in spurts, and there are often lulls. It is really hard to keep going during the lulls, especially when you have spent so much time trying to study. But when as you listen, you will find that things that were hard to understand previously, are now easy.
Listening helps You with Comprehension
Fourth, in order to converse with people you must be able to understand what they are saying. It is really hard to have a conversation if you don’t understand the responses people give you when you say something! And the best way to improve your comprehension of the language is to listen!
Listen to the Same Thing Multiple Times
It helps to listen to the same thing multiple times. You will be amazed how much more you understand the second, third and fourth times. It is especially helpful if you have been reading along and looked up some words- you will be surprised when you remember some of those formerly unknowable words! These little wins keep you going!
Some ideas of things to listen to to improve your Spanish are audiobooks on YouTube or from the library or audible or kindle or other websites, there are many videos of children’s books being read on YouTube. The best ones are the ones where you can read along with the words. That will help your spelling and makes it easier to look up words you don’t know. Search for “audiolibros para niños”.
This site has some great ones: https://weeblebooks.com/es/audiolibros/
And here is one from YouTube:
Animated videos on YouTube- children’s shows are particularly great at introducing basic vocabulary which is really great for beginners.
Spanish Video Lessons
Actual learning videos on YouTube with a person talking about various aspects of the language are helpful.
Podcasts- just as there are a variety of podcasts in English, there is a variety of podcasts in Spanish. There are some spanish learning podcasts, there are podcasts for children and there is Spanish news podcast in slow. Another nice trick for both podcasts and YouTube is that you can adjust the speed of the sound- so you can slow it down.
Planetapodcast.com is one I just found on search, though I have not listened to it to know if it’s good- let me know if you listen to it and like it!
Educational Websites and Games
There are probably some educational shows and games produced for children in Spain. I know there are many for French kids. Use Spanish words to search for these- google translate is your friend! Just found this site: https://arbolabc.com/juegos-para-ninos-de-preescolar. Search “juegos educativos por niños”.
Google Translate is an invaluable resource for many reasons. You can look up words and or phases or even a full paragraph. The app will also give you the pronunciation. It’s awesome! https://translate.google.com
Another great resource as always is Duolingo- as you go along, there are questions where you have to listen and answer questions that way as well as speak to answer. duolingo.com
Say It Spanish
Another newer resource on the market is sayitspanish.com . It is a practice website and you have several listening practice options on the site. You can listen and then repeat. You can listen and type in what you hear. And you can read it in English and then say it in Spanish. This service is really nice because the computer determines whether you said it correctly or not, and you get immediate feedback. You can also listen to the phrases over and over until you are comfortable with the way they sound.
So that’s a great start!! If you know of any other great Spanish resources, feel free to share in the comments below or on our Facebook page!
As always, thanks for reading- until next time!
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