As a non-native Spanish speaker raising bilingual kids, it’s important to me that I continue to practice and improve my Spanish language skills. Perhaps you are a non-native speaker like me and are looking for easy ways to keep using your second language.
When I worked as a Spanish immersion teacher, I used Spanish all day! I spoke the language with native Spanish-speaking students, parents, and colleagues. However, now that I am a full-time mom, almost all my Spanish use is with my kids. Teaching my kids Spanish has been a gift to me and to them – and it provides a daily need to use the language.
Yet there are so many more wonderful opportunities for continuing to practice and improve language fluency. So today I’m sharing 10 ways that non-native speakers like me can continue to keep up their language skills!
Listening & Reading
1. Read a Spanish book
Make the next book you read a Spanish one. Your local library may have a Spanish section to explore, or the librarian may have recommendations for you. Start with something engaging and easy to read. And don’t discount reading books aloud to your kids in Spanish if you can.
2. Listen to a podcast
How about adding a Spanish podcast to your daily routine? If you have a commute, that might be the perfect time to fit in some Spanish language practice with a podcast. It could be a Spanish language-learning podcast or one about any topic that interests you. I’ve heard Coffee Break Spanish is great – and it comes in four levels. I’m currently enjoying listening to the Spanish podcast Mamás 411 about raising bilingual kids.
3. Watch a Spanish TV show
On Spanish days at our house, my kids know that their screen time needs to be in Spanish. We’ve found some wonderful Spanish shows they love on Netflix and YouTube. Watch along with the kids or change your own favorite shows to Spanish.
Set the language to Spanish on your phone, computer, or any website that has a language option. You’ll have a daily opportunity to practice Spanish reading when you use your device! And how about searching for topics that interest you using Spanish hashtags on social media (like #ninosbilingues, #recetasfaciles, or #viajar)? You might find some interesting people or posts that publish Spanish language content.
Speaking & Writing
6. Talk, talk, talk
Could you add some Spanish conversation into your family’s daily routine? Whether you try to use as much Spanish as you can at dinner or speak Spanish on car rides, even a little bit each day goes a long way! If you have a young child, don’t hesitate to start using your Spanish with him/her. Check out my tips for starting to teach your child a second language.
7. Write it in Spanish
Choose an opportunity each day or each week to write in Spanish. Could you start a journal in Spanish? How about writing out your shopping list in Spanish? Make a priority of writing a letter or email to someone in Spanish.
8. Find a language friend
Finding a community of like-minded individuals or parents is so important. Try to find at least one person who shares your love of Spanish and can help you on your journey. Perhaps you can speak Spanish together, share helpful resources, or even hold each other accountable for continuing to use Spanish.
9. Seek out resources
Explore resources in your community that could help you practice your Spanish. For example, is there a language class you could take? Or a Spanish-speaking book club at your local library? With a little digging, you might be surprised at the options you find! Duolingo is a great language-learning app (that also has podcasts)!
10. Visit an immersion setting
Could you do your grocery shopping at a Hispanic supermarket? You’ll see Spanish on labels throughout the store and could talk to a store worker in Spanish. Or practice speaking Spanish at a local restaurant? I’ve enjoyed getting to use Spanish when I volunteer in my son’s Spanish immersion classroom.
There are so many benefits to being bilingual (for kids and adults!), and I hope that these easy ideas can help you keep up your Spanish.
Find your balance,
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