Weekly Tip & Optional Homework Week of 7/7 for week of 7/14/14

Weekly Tip:

Goal written by one of PBO’s Students: “Quiero entender cuando veo la tele.”


The only way to get to a point where you can understand when you’re watching tv is to put the time in until you start to understand. Comprehension is something that needs to be practiced – it doesn’t just come naturally. With consistent practice, you can achieve your goal.

To get started, you need to find something that is right for your level.

For anyone under Intermediate 2, I would recommend Destinos: An Introduction to Spanish – http://www.learner.org/series/destinos/. It’s a telenovela/mystery made for Spanish learners. This is a great place to start.

For Intermediate 2 & 3, I would recommend a telenovela (although these are good for all levels). Telenovelas are overly dramatic and they talk about the same thing 17 times. This is exactly what you need when you’re learning a language – repetition. The drama also helps because you can usually tell what is going on by looking at the screen.

For advanced & bilingual levels I would recommend the news or movies (and of course telenovelas which are great for learning slang and sayings). Movies are definitely more difficult to follow than a series and with the news you will learn more complicated vocabulary.

Apart from finding something that is right for your level, you need to find something that you can tolerate watching, preferably something that you look forward to. My only recommendation is that you give any new program a real chance by watching at least 3 episodes, preferably 6. If after 3 – 6 you really can’t stand it, then look for something else. Most students find that they’re learning so much from any show that they watch, that even if they would never watch it in their own language, they are enjoying the learning experience.

So after you have found something appropriate in your level and something that you like, you need to come up with a schedule to watch it. My recommendation is 15 minutes (or more) of your program every day. The more often you watch, the faster your comprehension skills will improve. It really is better to spread out your show over 5-7 days a week, than to watch the entire episode only once a week.

Last thing – If you don’t have Univisión or other Spanish channels, Hulu+ ($8/month) has a bunch of telenovelas as well as some news shows, dance shows, and all other types of shows in Spanish.

Optional Homework

The optional homework this week is dedicated to Benny Lewis, who was in San Diego to do a book signing last week. I went to see him and it was well worth it. Very inspiring really! Anyway, the optional homework is to check out his website http://www.fluentin3months.com/. I would also recommend following his blog.

For those of you who are not familiar with Benny Lewis, there are also 2 Ted Talks that you can google.

En español:

La tarea opcional de esta semana…se la dedicamos a Benny Lewis, ya que estuvo en San Diego la semana pasada J La tarea opcional es echarle un vistazo a su sitio web http://www.fluentin3months.com/ y les recomiendo seguir su blog.

Para los que no saben quién es Benny Lewis, también hay dos Ted Talks que pueden ver si googlean (a Lalo le está dando un infarto en este momento) “Benny Lewis Ted Talk.”