Want to start learning Spanish but you’re not sure where to begin? Learning Spanish is not as tricky as you think! Check out our helpful guide to walk you through making a Spanish study plan that works.
Before anything, ask yourself is Spanish worth learning? Definitely! Because of the many benefits, it is worth the time and effort to make a Spanish study plan for fluency. Being bilingual in Spanish puts you in a top position where opportunity abounds in the United States and the entire world full of Spanish speakers!
A Proven Process to Achieve Spanish Proficiency
Nobody wants to fail, to waste their time and energy for no reason. A lot of people have tried to learn Spanish, and ended up not having any real communication skills. But you’re not going to copy them. Instead, you’re going to copy the successful language learners who are bilingual today. I did it, so can you! I’m here to help you create a self study plan that will accomplish your Spanish language learning goals.
How long does it take to become fluent in Spanish?
First off, your unique purpose and study plan determine the length of study time. Additional factors are your experience, learning methods, amount of study, your attitude and motivation, all change the timeline. One size fits all doesn’t apply for this, so the language learning milestones can help understand this better.
Based on a daily study routine average is 1 hour and your study method is effective.
beginner spanish proficiency
3 months, 100 hours
For starters, you learn the basics of Spanish – the letter sounds, basic words, and analyze some simple sentences. Most words you cannot understand, but you are adding basic words to your passive vocabulary. In conversation, you can only understand and repeat sentences you have memorized.
Intermediate Spanish Proficiency
1 year, 300 hours
After increasing your passive and active vocabulary, analyzing words, phrases and sentences, you’re beginning to be able to understand audio and respond in simple structures. The world of Spanish is opening up to you as you continue to practice your language skills.
Professional Spanish Proficiency
2 years, 600 hours minimum (says the Foreign Service Institute)
Next, you’re able to effectively communicate with others in Spanish. In life and in the workplace, you understand and speak from a complete basic vocabulary with some basic technical terms as well. Adding more study hours, increases your technical vocabulary and sentence complexity and skills abilities.
fluency in spanish
3 years plus, 900 hours and beyond
Towards the end, understanding and expressing yourself becomes natural. You can understand almost everything, including idioms, slang and a variety of regional accents.
How Can I Determine My Spanish Language Level?
Tips to Create a Spanish Self-Study Schedule
The good news is – Spanish is one of the easiest languages for English speakers to learn! That’s a relief and the reason why Spanish is a good second language choice. As a result, the learning process is quick and easier compared to most other foreign languages.
How do you organize learning Spanish?
Overall, your study plan organizes all the details of your Spanish learning process. It contains your purposes, goals, milestones, resources, and tracks your progress. The content covers vocabulary, grammar, and skills practice. Where do you find something like this?
Your Step-by-Step Guide for a Complete Spanish Study Plan
This self-study system makes it easy and quick to start learning Spanish. They show you how to actively learn all the Spanish skills and keeps you on track to accomplish your goal. Everything is laid out for you, even basic word lists and goals and tracking system to keep you motivated. Look inside…
Or you can pull something together on your own.
How do I write a Spanish study plan?
An effective study plan includes everything detailed above – goals, vocabulary, grammar, skills practice and a way to track your progress over time. On your own, you can do each of these and write them down. Set aside an hour for a planning session and list the following:
- Specific goals for each study area
- Resources for study time
- Type of activities for skills practice
- Study schedule
How many hours a day should I study Spanish?
Learning a language requires consistent practice. This number is mostly determined by the amount of time you have available. Life is busy, so also consider all the events on your yearly schedule . How much time do you have realistically to dedicate to learning Spanish? Thinking about this helps to avoid overwhelm and burnout. In other words, preventing failure.
- Minimum 15 minutes each day of study
- An hour a day for quick progress
- Evaluate your pace by yearly total
Language Study Plan
Language proficiency only increases with action. Your Spanish study plan needs to be full of action – vocabulary, grammar and skills practice time goals. Only action closes the gap between your current experience and what skills you need in the future. The schedule will create a consistent skill building habit.
Set your language learning goals
Start with a crystal clear focus, measurable goals and a timeline for finishing. Do you want to travel, have conversations, get a bilingual job, or read books in Spanish? Your purpose determines the specific skills you need. Then set goals that you can track over time for vocabulary, grammar and skills practice time.
Schedule your Spanish study time
Next, take your goals and put them on your calendar. This study routine will ensure you make consistent progress over time. The first six weeks sets a new habit. Your timeframe will make it easy to break your goal into smaller milestones.
Practice the specific language skills daily
One common mistake is to learn about Spanish, instead of how to use Spanish. The whole point is to understand others and to be understood by others. This requires for basic skills – reading, writing, listening and speaking. All the skills are for communicating Spanish.
Evaluate your progress
After you have completed your study time, go back and check your numbers. Are you on track or falling behind? As a result, you will be motivated to push ahead. Also, you’ll have a measure to evaluate how effective these study methods have been. Make the necessary changes.
Language Study Plan Template
Pull together, DIY style, your own Spanish learning program with quality content. What you’ll need:
- Discover your best learning styles
- Pick your skills practice activity
- Gather your language sources
A Basic Study Plan Template
This is a great way to begin learning Spanish right away. In one year, you can achieve a basic ability to understand others and be understood by others in Spanish.
Daily new, passive and active word
- Begin with most frequently used word lists, then interest based topics, followed by technical vocabulary. Always learn proper pronunciation.
Weekly grammar analysis
- Especially cover the parts of speech, grammar rules and exceptions, such as verb conjugation and gender agreement
daily language skill practice
- Everyday listen, speak, read and or write in Spanish for 15-30 minutes minimum. The options for resources are limitless. Some learn best with movement, auditory, visual or read and write learning styles.
Further, you can hand pick a variety of audio, visual and print resources. From these materials you can pull new vocabulary and examples of usage.
Language Skills Practice
Do you already do any of these activities?
Really, anything can be a skills practice. Instead of using English, discover new vocabulary from resources and put them into use in Spanish. Keep it simple, practical, easy, and fun. Start with one activity. Then, add another when the first becomes easy. Continue adding over time, but be careful to not overload yourself with too much.
Spanish How to…
How to Read books to Learn Spanish
You can practice every language skill by reading a book out loud in Spanish. An ordinary book gives tons of vocabulary and examples of real language use. A read aloud time is good to build all language skills. I share detailed instructions how to structure a read aloud time and beginning book lists too.
How to Listen to Audios to Learn Spanish
You can practice every language skill by listening to a variety of audio resources in Spanish. Audiobooks, music and movies have loads of vocabulary and examples of real language use. A listening time is ideal for growing the oral skills, especially for auditory learners.
Also, adding in a book, subtitles and lyrics combines the written and oral skills. Plus, audios are useful as a backup plan.
Be careful not to get overwhelmed by the fast pace of speech. Most audio and video players have settings to adjust speed. Slow the speed down. Use the pause button to repeat the words. As your listening skills improve increase the speed.
How to look at art to Learn Spanish
Artwork is a visual source for new words. The artwork has a lot of details and action to describe and discuss. The details provide a picture definition of a word. Talking about art is a way to practice describing a scene, stating facts, and sharing opinions. Each language skill can be used.
For more about talking about art
how to increase Your Vocabulary
A language is words. Words are vocabulary. Grammar is the connection between words. The bigger your vocabulary is, the more options you have to express yourself and understand others. It’s best to create your own personalized vocabulary list. Sometimes you may need to use a reference source for topical vocabulary lists.
For more about the vocabulary challenge
How can I make learning Spanish fun?
Do the things you love to do
Learning Spanish can be a fun-filled adventure. It doesn’t have to be tedious or boring, based on a textbook and homework. Use your favorite type of resources, the topics that interest you and the activities you enjoy. For kids, games, songs and competitions are great options.
Have a curious mind
As a result of being interested, your mind will be ready to ask questions and search for answers. You’ll want to know what objects and ideas are called and how to say things in Spanish. The learning process is filled with the search for meaning. An actively engaged mind is crucial for lasting memory.
Use your senses
The five senses – sight, taste, touch, sound, and hearing – are all ways to receive language. Sensory stimulus creates new language pathways in the brain. Movement of the body is also stimulates the nervous system thinking and memory. The more active and engaged the senses during learning, the more effective it is. After many repetitions facts, vocabulary and word connections sink into memory. These tidbits can be retrieved for use later.
Spanish Immersion at Home
It is possible to create a language-rich environment combining an activity with a Spanish resource. Every kind of resource provides the words and examples of their use. They are your model for complex grammar without having to learn complex concepts. Real examples you can use in your real life.
Keep these language immersion tips in mind:
- Any learner can practice listening and speaking skills alone
- A group of learners (homeschool, book club, study group…) can use the same resource
- All language skills can be practiced from any type of resource
Self taught language learners need two types of learning materials: a language resource and reference tools. The first provides new words and examples. The second are essential to understand meanings, translate between native and second language, and explain key grammar concepts.
- Print, visual or audio language resources
- Spanish reference books
Best Way to Learn Spanish on Your Own
Let’s face it, one of the biggest obstacles to learning Spanish is having opportunities to use the language. A complete language learning program includes resources that model the language.
Once you’ve found the right resources, adding them to your day is simple. You’ve got options. For one, you can do your ordinary activities in Spanish. Or, your new Spanish resource can be the launching point for a new activity to add to your routine. For both, your best learning tools will maximize your opportunities to become bilingual.
Spanish Resources for Students
Here are three kinds of Spanish resources student’s need:
- Spanish read aloud book
- Spanish audio
- Visual resources
- Spanish reference materials
- Spanish learning tools (ex: verb conjugation practice sheets)
The starting point for all language learners is exposure to the language itself. New sounds, words and ways of connecting meanings are very challenging. Gaining experience listening, speaking, reading and writing is crucial from the beginning.
At the beginning, you want to start with an easy book. Any of these are good options for beginners books.
The oral skills are the foundation for all skills. Listening is the number one language skill to focus on from the start. And second to that is pronunciation, if you plan on having a smooth conversation.
- Movies and Episodes
- News reports
Each of these sources give you the opportunity to hear how Spanish sounds. The best part is that all of them can be paused and replayed. Even better yet, some have the audio in print. You can read the book along with the audiobook, read the subtitles in movies and get music lyrics. This is a powerful combination of reading and hearing.
images to describe in spanish
How do I say this in Spanish? That’s the main question when using a purely visual source. The object is your insipiration for telling a story, describing something or talking about a concept. With visual sources, you are responsible for telling about the observable details.
- Nature walks
- Chores and tasks
Length of activity time
The learner’s developmental stage sets the time limit based on age group. The attention span lasts a short time and increases with age. Your study time can be separated into shorter segments spread throughout the day.
Preschool – at will, prone to wander
Elementary age – 15 minutes
Middle School – 30 minutes
High School – 45 minutes
Adult – 45 minutes +
Spanish Learning Tools
Once you have determined your best learning styles, then choose the tools you’ll use. For each style several options are listed. These simple tools complement the different activities and resources. They engage the senses for active learning.
Visual learning style tools
- Notes on whiteboard
- Lists to organize thoughts
- Draw pictures of concepts
- Slips of paper to organize
- Use of highlighting and color-coding
- Graphic representations – graphs, charts and diagrams, brainstorm bubble, brain maps
- Pictures, images, videos, and maps
- Using puppets
Auditory learning style tools
- Listen and repeat
- Chant to rhythm
- Make speeches or presentations
- Guest speakers
- Discussions, conversations, and chats
- Dramatic read aloud
- An audio recording of notes
Kinesthetic learning style tools
- Play games
- Hands-on activities
- Observation and experimentation
- Trial and error
- Real-world examples
- Practical exercises
- Group work
- Hand gestures
- Physical movement – snap, clap, sing, jump, run, march, tag, exercises, stretches…
- Building concepts with legos, dough, blocks
read and write learning style tools
- Read books aloud and independently
- Listen to stories
- Take detailed notes
- Write a summaries, stories, definitions
- Play word games
- Telling and listening to stories
- Having a debate
Your best learning style tells you what tools to use before, during or after your skills practice. For example, a visual learner could draw pictures during read aloud time. Or an auditory learner could sing along with music. These are examples of how to have an active skills practice for maximum learning.
Spanish Study Plan with Kids
Frequently overlooked, parents can learn Spanish with the kids. Although everyone is at a different level, the activities can be adapted and mixed together as a group. The good thing is you’ll always have a learning partner to practice your skills with. And modeling and explaining to others is an excellent way to learn. It is a great way to spend time together by learning Spanish with kids.
Spanish Study Plan for Homeschool
Your homeschool or co-op school group may include a foreign language in the school year plan. Some states require learning a foreign language at certain grade levels. If you want your students to learn basic Spanish communication skills, include skills practice into the program.
Tips for Successful Learning
A mindset for growth will get you bigger results and faster. Keep these tips fresh in your mind. They will help you keep your focus on your learning path.
Finally, you know what you’re going to do, now you need the action steps. Smaller bite size pieces make it easier to accomplish. If you’ve got a planner, add it into a time slot for the next six weeks. If you operate off of a routine, figure out where it fits in your time. First thing, gather the materials and get started as soon as possible.
Expect to Struggle
You can climb this mountain. Learning a language is like climbing a big mountain. Over time the uphill slope becomes steeper and harder. Fatigue sets in as the peak seems out of reach. Many learners give up too soon. The struggle is real. The transition from beginning to intermediate level is rough. So expect some discomfort; embrace the challenge.
Make a Backup Study Plan
Life always has a way of getting in the way of your plans. Even your own overwhelm, perfectionism, procrastination, illness, schedule change, resposibilities or irresponsibility may be your biggest obstacle. A good backup plan, will give you a simple alternative source and activity, as follows:
- For read-aloud time, instead of the print book, switch to an audiobook to listen to while you are driving in the car.
- If a morning read-aloud time is not going well, change reading time to after lunch.
- It’s the holiday season and you have less free time, reduce the amount of time or number of times per week, so you will still have a good study habit.
- Sickness has taken over, so watch some movies with subtitles in Spanish.
- Often, future circumstances are not predictable, yet having some sort of alternative will help you continue to make progress towards your ultimate objective.
Reward Your Wins
Always celebrate small progress and big milestones, often. Reward yourself regularly for your accomplishments. Add that to your plan too.