THIS LAST STEP IN CREATING A SUCCESSFUL SPANISH STUDY PLAN WILL HELP YOU SET GOOD GOALS AND STUDY HABITS TO LEARN SPANISH ON YOUR OWN. CHOOSE THE BEST SPANISH LANGUAGE SOURCES, LEARNING ACTIVITIES FOR ALL LANGUAGE SKILLS, VOCABULARY AND GRAMMAR. FREE PLANNING SHEETS ARE INCLUDED TO HELP YOU GET YOUR CUSTOM STUDY PLAN STARTED.
Our time on the road was filled with good things. We spent a good part of everyday stumbling onto the neat places around us. We found veteran cemeteries, hidden sledding hills in the forest, the highest mountain peaks, Indian reservations, burned bridges, dungeons, pools with slides and so much more.
Although I had no specific itinerary, I did have the general plan to drive a maximum of three hours per day every day. This is how we went from one city to the next enjoying what was there. If I drove eight hours we would miss everything along the way. Or if I didn’t drive at all we would not find our next adventure.
Likewise, with a language study plan, you need form good language learning habits. These habits will maximize your study opportunities to grow massive language skills. Wanting to be able to use Spanish is a worthy pursuit. A plan of action will ensure progress in the right direction.
Last time, you rated your current and future language skills on a scale of ten. And hopefully you came up with a big dream of the ways you will be using Spanish in next several years. If you haven’t done that yet, you can access the previous steps HERE:
SPANISH STUDY PLAN | STEP ONE
This step shows you the four language skills and how to rate your current skill level. Plus, get a Spanish learning checklist with the keys areas to include in learning a language.
In this step, get a big dream of how you will use Spanish and rate your future skill level. This includes a printable rating sheet to record the gap between present reality and future dreams.
So far you have rated your current abilities and had the opportunity to dream big. Now, with your skills and dreams in hand, this next step will turn both into into reality. That gap between where you are and where you want to be will disappear. Along the way you will have a treasure of learning experiences.
The Roadmap to Language Learning
Progress happens with action. Creating a plan and taking action will close that gap between your current language experience and what you aspire to do in the future. This step will turn your dreams into reality with effective learning methods and a consistent study habit.
- Active Engagement
- Spanish Study Plan
- Take Action
It’s really simple. Do the right things often and you will make progress. An effective language study plan will have plenty of language sources, engaging learning activities, vocabulary exploration and grammar memory work.
Download and print the Spanish Study Plan to write down your custom plan HERE:
Once you determine what you will study and the resources you need, then adding in details like amount of time, frequency and duration ensures maximum growth. No matter what life throws your way, a growth mindset will keep you on track until you reach your goal.
First of all, language learning requires active engagement of the body senses and thinking processes. It involves the entire body and mind. Thinking and memory are heavily influenced by the five senses – hearing, sight, touch, taste and smell – and body movement.
Let’s look at these key elements of active engagement. By far this aspect of the study plan is the most important. These concepts will influence what kind of activities to include in your study plan.
- Thinking and Memory
- Learning Styles
These elements combined together with a language source are the secret sauce for adding in effective learning activities.
Analysis and imagination is a the heart of the thinking process. During a learning activity, the engaged mind is involved in searching for meaning, making decisions, problem solving, forming ideas, being creative. The mind is on a quest for answers and meaning.
During a learning activity, the senses provide the input of information. This is why understanding learning styles is so important. Everybody learns best in different ways. It is important to focus on the senses or combination of styles that will have the greatest impact.
The body gets information from the senses and mental processes. A retrievable record of what is learned is kept for future predictions. Emotional states can cause deeper and longer lasting memories. Our emotions drive our attention and motivate our progress.
From the memory, we have recall of language for future use. A well balanced plan will include a mix of repetition of basic facts and high engagement activities. Both will have some variety of learning style to maximize effectiveness.
Everyone learns best in different ways. It is important to know which learning style you prefer. Each style engages different senses and parts of the brain. In this section, there is a description of each learning style. Later, in the study plan, I list practical activities for the three study points.
Here is an overview of some learning styles and particular activities for each:
The use of sight and spatial senses with visual representations. A visual learner works well with written instructions and illustrations. They organize ideas with notes, lists, drawings, and color coding. Good visual sources are graphs, pictures, videos and maps. Creating a mental picture of a concept is helpful.
The use of the sense of hearing with sound and music. An auditory learner works well with verbal instructions. Asking questions and having discussions are important in the learning process. Some effective auditory activities are dramatic read aloud, listen and repeat, chanting, music, audio recording.
The use of body movement through physical activities. A kinesthetic learner prefers learning by doing. Written and verbal instructions are not necessary, since they prefer to learn by observation and experimentation. The best activities are games, role playing, hand gestures, and exercises. They can connect physical sensations and movement to visual and auditory inputs.
The use of reading and writing to learn. A linguistic learner engages in academic type of work. They can translate visual and auditory tools into writing. The best learning activities are taking detailed notes, rewriting notes, reading independently, writing definitions, outlines, summaries and stories, research and reports.
All of the learning styles have their benefits, not one is better than the other. However, focus on the ones you learn best with to choose your activities. If you’re not sure, take this quiz to see what your preferred learning style is:
It’s not just about finding a book or a class, but discovering the way to connect effectively with the material. The senses and focused activities engage thinking and memory processes. So, once you figure out your best learning style, make sure to include the right activities into your study plan.
Solid Study Habit
Without question this is the second most important part of an effective plan. The most important part is to do the plan. Yet, without this crucial step you have nothing specific to do. So, at this crucial point, you will write down the best activities, resources, learning tools and create a specific schedule.
Print a study plan for each student. This study plan is ideal for homeschool families and groups. The core activities and discussion is done together. Individual learning activities are added according to learning style and skill level.
Let’s get this custom planning started…
Spanish Study Plan
For sure, this plan is like no other. No classroom, lessons, textbooks are part of this learning process. Open your mind for something different.
We will begin with writing down your goals for each language skill. Then, we will break those wonderful goals into a specific study plan. This plan has three learning points and each have engaging activities based on your best learning styles.
Every part of the study plan is easily adapted for groups and individual levels and learning styles.
Language Skill Level Goals
As a starting point, well defined goals make planning simple. Your goals will guide your activity and resource choices. More specifically, your goal is to close the gap between your current and future abilities.
For each language skill (listening, speaking, reading and writing) write down your goal, like this:
I will increase my ______________________ (language skill) from _______ (current rating) to _________ (future rating).
Everyone’s goals are different depending on your big dream. Some may skip a language skill area or a middle rating may be just right. Even those who have an open-ended idea need to set specific goals.
This goal will help you choose your language sources and learning activities. Also, the will keep you on track and be a measure for progress.
Four Study Points
Most importantly, there are four basic points for a complete study plan. Three are the principle activities – core language time, vocabulary and grammar. And the fourth is the engaging activities included with the first three.
Notably, they work together to engage with the language in a meaningful way. Each point complements the others.
- Core Language Time
- Vocabulary Exploration
- Grammar Memory Work
- Engaging Activities
Each study point has a language source to provide the material to create a language rich learning environment. Here is an overview of resources you will need:
- Print, visual or audio language source
- Spanish grammar reference book
- Spanish dictionary
- Learning tools
Now, let’s go through each study point to decide what resources, activities and learning tools to include in your Spanish study plan.
1 – Core Language Time
A language rich environment is created with a book, print, visual, or audio source.
There is no question that the core activity time is the foundation of language learning. The language source is key for having access to a wide variety of words in different structures. The connection between words are modeled with real examples from real sources.
This is the best way for a group to learn together. Homeschool families can all have the same core activity time together. And each student will have individual activities for their level and learning style. Everyone will benefit from the same language source – reading, listening, speaking and writing.
Uses All Language Skills
During core activity time, all of the language skills are developed through reading, listening and discussion. From one resource – a story, speech, song, artwork, movie, or an informational article – each skill is practiced. Listening and speaking is done with all types of sources. Reading print material and writing activities provide complete skill development.
Learning Activities Included
The core activity combines with a variety of learning activities to maximize language engagement. Different types of learners process language with different senses or movement. Visual, auditory, kinesthetic and linguistic activities increase thinking and memory processes for language retention.
Structure of Time
Depending on the type of source, the time is structured to include reading, speaking, listening and writing. Usually core activity time lasts about thirty minutes. This time includes listening to the source and practicing skills through activities.
Selecting the best type of resource for this time is essential.
Here are some core activity time options:
◎ Read Aloud
◎ Art Study
◎ Audio Books with Print Book
◎ Video with Subtitles
◎ Music with Lyrics
For more information about each of these options, read below. Follow the links for the ones you are interested in. I explain in detail how to have a read aloud time and art study time in separate posts.
By far the best language source, in my humble opinion, is a read aloud book. A read aloud time provides opportunities for oral and written language skills. There are plenty of opportunities to wok on pronunciation. Also, words selected from the reading are perfect for vocabulary exploration.
I share detailed instructions for how to structure a read aloud time HERE
It is possible to work on every language skill by reading aloud one regular book.
Check out the read aloud book recommendations:
The best part about a read aloud time is fun. You pick a book or some print material you like to read out loud. It is a treasured time for my family.
Another great source for core activity time is visual art. The artwork of famous artists provide a purely visual source of language for art study time. Observation and discussion of the visual elements are perfect for developing strong speaking and writing skills.
I share detailed instructions for how to structure an art study time HERE:
It is possible to work on every language skill by observing artwork and talking about it.
Check out these Latin American artists biographies and art galleries:
A topical vocabulary for art would be helpful for discussion.
Video and Audio Sources
Audio books, videos, and music are great alternatives, especially for a backup study plan. The audio sources have options to get the words in print for comprehension. Since they have their own pace, they are more difficult for beginning learners to understand.
Keep in mind, choosing is based on your learning goals and resource preferences. There are advantages for each type of source. An audio source will be ideal for listening and speaking skills. A print source is best for reading and writing skills.
The best part is that every single source is adaptable to grow every language skill at one time.
2 – Vocabulary Exploration
An addition to the core language activity, word exploration will grow a rich vocabulary through a variety of learning activities.
Learning a language is learning a whole new vocabulary. A rich vocabulary will give you the ability to communicate well. This is an essential focus that complements the core language time.
There are two ways to approach finding new words for vocabulary exploration.
The primary source for vocabulary is the core language time resource. This could be a book, news report, song, artwork, movie, etc… They have a wide range of vocabulary in their context.
For this reason it is a good idea to have a print version of an audio source.
An alternative source are topical vocabulary lists. Especially fun for hobbies or recreation, finding words to use for those activities is very engaging. The list you look for is based on your interests, specialty or profession.
Whatever the source, it should provide a wide range of word choice. From there you can expand with more related words. With a language resource, the use of the word and the connections provide great examples.
Of greatest importance is to maximize thinking and memory of new vocabulary through using your best learning style activities. Again, use the sensory learning activities listed below.
One of my favorite tools for vocabulary exploration are Word Exploration Sheets. With these sheets, we make our personal word collections. There are so many activities to do over time to really dig into word meaning and use.
For more details on how to use the sheets and ways to grow your vocabulary, check out this post HERE:
Hint: Tip 2 shows how to use the word exploration sheets. All 7 tips are so useful.
Beyond the sheets, there are more ways to approach vocabulary building. Ready for a challenge? Join this challenge HERE: 100 SPANISH WORDS IN 5 DAYS.
Vocabulary Activity Tips
In your study plan, choose a source and topic for vocabulary exploration. And set a quantity of facts to learn in a day, week, month or year. Also, include the learning activity tools and the amount of time and frequency.
Read Aloud Time with Word Exploration
2 – Vocabulary: Celia lo que dice (source) with 2 words per read aloud time
4 – Engaging Activities – Vocabulary – Learning Tool: Word Exploration sheets, Time: 10 minutes, Frequency: 5 days per week (this is the read aloud schedule)
Planning for vocabulary can be tied into the core language time or be completely separate. It is easy to add word exploration into read aloud and art study time. For art study, use a topical list for art vocabulary.
3 – Grammar Memory Work
An addition to the core language activity, grammar memory work and practice will give you a strong foundation for your language skills.
Learning grammar is not about learning grammar, it is about learning how to use the words correctly. Having a set of memorized grammar facts is useful. You will be able to make word choices on the spot with your fact knowledge.
From a grammar book, the table of contents lists topics. Every topic will have multiple subtopics. And those subtopics will have sets of facts. The learning activities in study point four will help you to remember facts on a regular basis.
Grammar Topics and Facts Examples
Topics. The table of contents of a Spanish grammar book lists many topics. Within each topic are many subtopics. Here are some examples:
adjectives, adverbs, conjunctions, determiners, nouns, noun gender, verbs, verb tenses, pronouns, prepositions, sentence structures, clauses, accents, spelling…
Facts. Within the subtopics there will be facts to memorize. Even the definitions of each part of speech is noteworthy. The grammar facts will be implanted into your mind for reference while you are using Spanish.
Example of Topic: Adjectives
As a starting point, the definition of adjective is a good fact to learn. In Spanish, un adjectivo es una palabra que limita o describe otra palabra. A subtopic is determiners or determinantes. The next fact could be definite articles. In Spanish, los articulos definidos son el, la, los, las.
This is another way to use Spanish in your real life.
Setting the Schedule
In your study plan, choose a grammar source and topic for memory work. And set a quantity of facts to learn in a day, week, month or year. Also, include the learning activity tools and the amount of time and frequency.
Right now, I am working on creating many helpful materials to learn Spanish. Things like sentence parsing and diagramming. It’s a very powerful way to engage in the language.
Keep in touch, so you don’t miss out!
4 – Engaging Learning Activities
A variety of sensory activities engage thinking for maximum growth of language skills and memory recall.
These learning activities are useful with each of the study points above – core language time, vocabulary and grammar. Including an learning activity is a practical way to increase the effectiveness of study time. The body processes language through the senses and movement.
Everyone learns best in different ways. Take a moment to consider how you learn best. For an overview, read the section about learning styles above. Here, I list some practical activity ideas for each learning style:
- 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
- Listen and repeat
- Chant to rhythm
- Make speeches or presentations
- Guest speakers
- Discussions, conversations and chats
- Dramatic read alouds
- Audio recording of notes
- Play games
- Role playing
- 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 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
Definitely, adding some sensory activities will increase thinking and memory of the language source. New and meaningful language pathways are created with the different senses and motion. Truly, all the learning points will be enhanced by including some engaging activities as part of the activity time.
For this reason, include the best learning style activities before, during or after the activity time. For example, during a read aloud time draw pictures, or for vocabulary exploration write definitions and synonyms. The variations of learning style activities is limitless.
Create Your Spanish Study Plan
Finally, we have arrived to the point of writing down a detailed study plan. This key act will help you form a solid study habit. This study plan includes everything we covered above, plus the time details.
Setting Language Learning Goals
As a starting point, this is the basic information you need to make your study plan. You already figured out your goals for each language skill. Now you will add the details of the activities and time for each goal. I give a format and example below.
I will do _______________________________________________________ (activity) for ____________________ (amount of time) ________________________ (how often) for _____________________ (length of time).
Activity: one of the three study points and learning activity
Core Language Activity, Vocabulary Exploration, Grammar Memory Work
Amount of time: number of minutes for activity
Read Aloud 30 minutes – this includes vocabulary exploration and discussion
Art Study 30 minutes – this includes observation, drawing, discussion and writing
How often: number of times per day, week, month, year
Read Aloud – A regular scheduled reading time can be during breakfast, after lunch, bedtime, weekends…
Art Study – Rotation is very flexible. Example: one artist for six weeks with one artwork per week
Length of time: quantity of days, weeks, months
Language Skill Goal Example
Goal: Increase listening skill level from 0 to 1
I will do read aloud time for 30 minutes 3 times per week for 6 weeks.
Goal: Increase writing skill level from 1 to 2
I will do vocabulary with word exploration sheets for 15 minutes 2 times per week for 30 days.
Goal: Increase writing skill level from 1 to 2
I will do grammar memory work with verb conjugation sheets for 10 minutes 5 times per week for 4 weeks. (Conjugate present tense 10 irregular verbs)
Instructions for the Spanish Study Plan
This practical planning tool is perfect for writing down all your study plan details. Step by step instructions are listed below.
Follow these step by step instructions. For more details on each step go through the sections listed above
- Decide which core activity time is best. 1 – Core Language Time
- Select your resources for the core language time. 1 – Core Language Time- Read Aloud, Art Study, Audio and Video Sources
- Select your resources for vocabulary exploration. 2 – Vocabulary Exploration – Word Exploration, Topical Lists
- Select your grammar reference book for memory work. 3 – Grammar Memory Work
- Include quantity of minutes, frequency and the skills core activity time uses
- Select your vocabulary topic. 2 – Vocabulary Exploration
- Set a quantity of words and time frame for vocabulary
- Select your grammar topic. Grammar Topics and Facts Examples
- Set a quantity of facts and timeframe for grammar
- Choose your best learning style
- Select an engaging activity for three learning points
- Select the learning tools for the activity
- Set a quantity of time and frequency for engaging activities.
- Write name on top and date on bottom.
One thing to remember is to keep it simple, practical, easy and fun. Do not overload yourself with too many things to do, because you won’t do any of them. Instead, start with one simple activity. Then add more as you successfully complete that one.
Have a Backup Spanish Study Plan
Without a doubt, some unexpected event or your own thinking will stop you. Whether your perfectionism, illness, schedule change, responsibilities or irresponsibility gets in the way, you can still move forward with a backup plan. This will ensure consistency.
Really quickly, think of a simple alternative source and activity. It could be your same plan, just scaled up or down. Some times change will allow more time too.
Backup Plan Examples
- 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 and add some more word exploration time, number of words.
When the original schedule is impossible, this will take it’s place:
Goal: Increase speaking skill level from 0 to 1
I will do ____________________ for _____________ (amount of time) ____________________ (frequency) often
Often, future circumstances are not predictable, yet having some sort of alternative will help you continue to make progress towards your ultimate objective.
Language learning takes consistent practice and study. A willingness to struggle with a good attitude will pull you through to advanced study. Developing these good habits and methods of learning are necessary to succeed.
I have included a second planning sheet for a backup plan. Make sure you fill this out too, now and later when it becomes necessary.
Now, enjoy using Spanish with your favorite book, art, music, movie. Do the plan. Don’t just think about it. Let your big dream motivate you. Or, let your future opportunities pull you forward to grow some real language skills.
Mindset for Growth
- Get comfortable with struggling to understand and express yourself. That is to be expected, because you don’t know anything yet. Love frustration, it is a sign of growth.
- Stay consistent. You will not be perfect. But, following through and making attempts are all that is necessary.
- Always celebrate small progress and big milestones, often. Reward yourself regularly for your accomplishments. Add that to your plan too.
- Review and refocus regularly. Be honest with yourself on your progress. And adjust where needed. If anything is stealing your study time, eliminate it and make Spanish study a priority.
- Expect to work hard.
- Remember why you are doing this. Keep on going strong.
Congratulations, you made it!
In brief, a solid Spanish Study Plan really engages your thinking and memory. Each learner’s unique way of learning through visual, audio, movement and reading and writing is important to learn effectively. With this as a guide the best resources and activities work together to create a language rich environment.
Your language skills goals are clearly stated in your custom study plan. This plan and backup plan will help you to consistently persevere. Although it is a challenge to learn a second language, action, realistic expectations and regular refocusing will help you reach your future potential.
Ready to get started?