Help for learning Spanish

7 May

Here is the Spanish post I promised.  The one that has taken a different direction than my usual Spanish posts.  (If you have read very many of my posts you will find that I change direction quite often.)  The direction is different, because this Spanish post will be written in English.

I won’t be writing the post in Spanish because I just can’t cover this material with my current Spanish skills  (notice I didn’t say my lack of Spanish–I’m still working at having a positive self-image).  I am going to tell of some of the different ways that help me  learn the language.

The best way would be to live near Spanish speakers, but there aren’t any living near me.  Another way, if one had the time or the money would be to take a Spanish class at the university or on CD’s.  But that isn’t a option for me at present.

I found, instead,  a small informal class that meets weekly at our local library.  We visit  sites on the internet and are slowly learning.  The following are the sites we use most often:

www.123teachme.com  This site is filled with Spanish courses, tests, games, and other resources.  We each progress at our own level at home, then do some of the lessons in class.  We frequently use the ‘English to Spanish’ and the ‘Spanish to English’ translator.

www.spanishdict.com  Although, not filled with as much content as the Teach Me site, this one has a translator with audio, Word of the Day, a featured article and common words in both English and Spanish.

http://en.childrenslibrary.org/  We use this site to read children’s books in Spanish.  We select ‘Read Book’.  When the page appears  we select set the language for “Spanish”and select ‘Short Books’.  Some books are in both Spanish and English, which is helpful.  Some are in Spanish and other languages and others only in Spanish.  We have to pick and choose to find the ones that are best for our beginning level.

From http://www.gutenberg.org we have been reading two books until we progress to a place where the language is beyond us.  Occasionally we return to the site and are pleasantly surprised by how many more of the words we have learned.  The two books we read are  “An Elementary Spanish Reader” and  “A First Spanish Reader”

In addition too the class and these sites I like to find Spanish blogs, newspapers, and websites.  Some of these I return to again and again.  I am always looking for new ones that are not just lessons, but actual writings of people posting on their blogs.  Ones that aren’t too hard for me.  I like it best when I can get the gist of the article without looking up the translation of words too often!  From my college Spanish class and in our little informal one, we find that we can often understand the story even if we don’t know all the words.

These are some I have found helpful:

www.spanishspanish.com  Lots of information on this site.  Audio, flash cards, vocabulary, grammar, textbooks, etc.

homeschoolspanishonline.com  As the name indicates, this is a home school Spanish course.  Lots of material, music, and some stories in Spanish

When I visited www.marisamontes.com today I learned that the author has died.  The site is being kept as a memorial to her.  I click on Links” and choose  ‘Ónline  Resources for Children’.  This displays a page with several websites for Spanish.

One newspaper that I continue to try reading from time to time is elsur.mx.  It is from the Yucatan Peninsula.  As with the books, I seem to get the gist of the articles.  I still need to translate many words, but my progress, though slow, encourages me.

Most generally I find sites through internet searches.  I try to remember to bookmark the good ones I find.   I have found that using different words in my search brings up different sites.  I’ve yet to find the best words for what I want, although I still seem to stumble onto some good sites at times.

Sometimes I find a blog I like from a search, yet when I go back to the main site page, I have a hard time finding the blog.  It seems, from what I can gather, that some of the Spanish blogs are connected to a main site page.  I suppose I just haven’t learned how to navigate well enough yet.

But it is frustrating.  Today I stumbled onto a blog I liked and noted–but sadly didn’t bookmark– the site.  I thought, www.hola.com, easy name, I’ll remember that.  And I did remember it, but when I went to the site later, I found it doesn’t seem to be the site of the person’s blog I had read.  It seems instead a collection of various writers, maybe bloggers?  I’ve yet to find the one which I was looking at earlier and wanted to mention in this post.  If my Spanish understanding was sufficient, I believe the blogger was a retired woman who visited different places and made videos of them.  It was a video that I watched.  The whole ‘hola’ site has a tremendous amount of material, but hopefully I will stumble onto the one I liked again sometime.

While searching www.hola.com I found another video that was interesting.  It was a video about art and food.  And there was something about the hands.  When I realized I had to have the translation it meant a trip to www.123teachme.com.  I was surprised to learn it said árt and gastronomy go hand in hand’.  I also learned that Reino Unido mean the UK.  It was good to be clear about the content of the video.  But I was still happy that I got at least part of it on my own.  I know I will return to this site over and over.  From the Food section, with help from 123TeachMe, I also learned that ‘paso a paso’ means step by step.

In trying to find a blog about gardens written in Spanish, I found this site  www.buenastareas.com/ensayos/Jardin-De-Ni%C3%B1os/6681595.html    I have just copied the whole link.  I’m afraid if I try to just enter the main site I won’t be able to find the article again.  Although I didn’t read very much of it, I plan to return.

Another way I learn is by writing in Spanish.  In our class we are now each writing a paragraph something about our week and then reading each other’s in class.  Reading, listening and writing Spanish really helps me.

So I stumble along in this blog, in most of my Spanish posts, writing in my own level of Spanish.  Struggling but keeping on for some reason.  I feel, like a member of our class who said, “I really don’t know why I want to learn Spanish, I just do”.  And really, do we always need the ‘why’ of something?  Can’t we just do it because we enjoy it?

 

3 Responses to “Help for learning Spanish”

  1. Appreciate the recommendation. Will try it out.

  2. Grace July 17, 2013 at 10:27 am #

    Goodluck in your Spanish language adventures!

  3. Chadwick February 27, 2014 at 10:19 pm #

    Great post.

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