My son and I have been studying Spanish together for about four years now. He has done many lessons on Visual Link Spanish, and we’ve taken a class at a local co-op. I have sat and reviewed grammar and vocabulary with him in game format and as we read picture books together. We practice praying in Spanish. All of the things we’ve learned have prepared us for an inevitable step: getting comfortable putting Spanish words together to build basic sentences.
Building Spanish sentences can be intimidating. To practice building basic Spanish sentences during these months when we’re not doing a lot of more formal school, we made our brief Spanish practice time into a game: Who will make the silliest Spanish sentence today?
We made some cards with nouns, others with adjectives, and others with verbs. These are words he’s already heard many times in the past.
We each take a card from each pile: noun, adjective, verb. Then we read aloud the sentence, translate it, and then change it some way to make it even more funny.
As we build these Spanish sentences, my son is practicing the following concepts:
- Vocabulary. This has been years in the building!
- Subject/Adjective agreement (La maestra preocupada or El maestro preocupado). We practiced noun/adjective agreement with a picture book.
- Conjugation of a verb (I also printed out the verbs already conjugated in third person present tense). We’ve already practice present tense form for regular -ar, -ir, and -er verbs!
We also have a challenge to “change” the sentence. He can do this by practicing any of the following things:
- Adding a noun or pronoun to the subject of the sentence, and thereby changing the adjective’s form and changing the conjugation of the verb
- Adding an adjective
- Adding a direct object to the sentence or a direct object pronoun
- Adding a prepositional phrase
In the future, I imagine we can use the same sentence building cards to practice changing things in to the past tense!
I’ll admit that because there is this overwhelming feeling of “summer break” around our house these days, he does not want to practice speaking and listening to Spanish. He often fights it.
“It’s not school time!” he’ll wail. “Stop speaking Spanish!”
I won’t say he’s now always eager to make his daily sentence. But, together we have found that it is a quick way to get at least some Spanish practice into our day! And by aiming for the silliest, the changes we make to the sentence are great sentence building practice.
Besides, the silly Spanish sentences we make together do bring a smile!
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