Spanish immersion is possible at home with a book to read aloud. Here are three tips to get started growing your listening and speaking skills, and expand your vocabulary all at once.
Do you dream of sunbathing in Playas del Carmen, buying a cigar from a farm in Cuba or taking a crucero to Palmas? Imagine living your days in a Spanish speaking country. Tapas, mojitos, bacalao con tomate, El Prado, Flamingo Island, vale...
But those options are so far out of reach right now. It seems that getting immersed in the language will never happen. Unless you can make it happen now. Today, I am going to help you make your home a Spanish speaking territory. How? By reading aloud.
A read aloud time is the best way to get all your language skills growing - listening, speaking, reading and writing. Bottomline.
Here's how to start reading aloud and bringing Spanish into your daily life with these three practical tips:
I want to read it, I got to read it
Let Ariana Grande be your guide today. That song that goes: "I want it, I got it" over and over again. Because that's the kind of thinking you need when it comes to finding the right stuff to read. If you want the book, you get the book. Interest creates action. Action means growth.
That means you need to put some thought into what kind of reading you like. The types of reading materials: books, song lyrics, speeches, news in print, magazines, online articles... And the types of content: fact, fiction, stories, biographies, poetry, topics, historical, reference...
The best reading is...
- topic of interest
- bonus points if it makes you laugh or cry
Yes you have to like the book or hate it enough to keep reading it. Or you won't get a book at all and you definitely won't read it ever.
You get to choose what you read. That seems like such a strange concept in language learning.
This is the reverse of most language learning programs. The app or book gives you the topics they think are most important. But not necessarily useful or interesting to you.
Your reading choice is conforming to your life. Not the other way around. Every reading material is full of the most common words. Enjoy what you read and use it in your life.
Find the best time to read aloud
The best time can be any time, literally.
When do you have a captive audience? For some it's over breakfast, or after lunch during a quiet time or at bedtime. Or maybe if you are reading aloud to yourself, it may be during a break or while you're waiting in line or at the doctors office.
If you're not sure, try out different times and see when you get the best response and least interruptions. Keep in mind, you can read aloud and listen to yourself. This can be a solo activity and you'll still get all the benefits.
Bonus tip: put your phone on silent.
Put the book where you will read
I used to carry a book with me all the time, because the only reading time I had was in the cracks of everything else I had to do. Having babies every two years, breastfeeding and homeschooling took all my time. I kept a book in hand's reach all the time.
Now, I keep it next to the bed for quiet time just before lights out. Why? Because this is the best time to read aloud to my children. It's time for them to wind down, get in bed and listen.
Let the book remind you that it's time to read. You decide how you spend your time. Put it in your bag, with the sand toys, on the bed, next to the Keurig, in front of the television or computer, with your phone... anywhere. Next time, instead of wasting time, you can start reading aloud to build your Spanish language skills.
Any moment can be used to learn Spanish, wherever you go. And you don't have to be in Mexico. Sounds fun though, one day.