Try This Solid Spanish Study Plan – Don’t Miss These 4 Essential Parts

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Spanish Study Plan Featured

For a quick start to learning Spanish, get the free Simple Guide to Learning Spanish. The roadmap inside walks you through all the stages of your language learning journey ahead. The guide will help you start a simple study plan, aka practice routine, today. Learning Spanish is not as tricky as you think!

But first, let’s take a look at what goes into a Spanish study plan.

You have crossed over from the interested zone into the beginning stages of language learning. You know what you want to be able to do in Spanish, but you’re not sure how to get there. (If not read this).

Spanish is one of those languages that has it all. It’s beautiful, spoken everywhere, and easy to learn. Being bilingual in English and Spanish puts you in a special group of capable global communicators. Opportunities abound!

Spanish Study Plan

A good study plan covers all the basics. There are four basic elements of a study plan:

Goals / set goals, objectives, milestones, rewards

Planner / daily, weekly, monthly

Lists / projects, tasks

Trackers / track your progress, evaluate

A study plan will help motivate you and be consistent throughout your learning process. Ultimately, helping you to accomplish your language learning goals.

Download the basics for beginners.

white ceramic teacup with brown liquid inside

What is a good study plan?

Some traits of an effective study plan are:

+ A good study plan outlines your language learning goals, projects, study tasks and times.

+ A specific schedule or study routine, as I call it, is important for making learning Spanish fast.

+ It takes into account the four language skills.

+ It fits into your daily life without a hassle.

+ You enjoy following through on your plan.

If any are missing, it’s highly likely you won’t follow through. To avoid burn out make sure your study plan has each of these essential traits.

I mentioned fast which brings us to the next point.

Spanish Study Plan – Timeframe

How long does it take to become fluent in Spanish?

Before you start a study plan, it’s smart to know how long it will take to complete. There are no guarantees about your outcome, but an estimate is helpful. A few factors affect the length of time, such as your experiences, methods, amount of study, attitude, mental roadblocks, and motivation. All can change the timeline.

Based on 1 hour of study per day and your study method is effective.

Beginner Spanish Proficiency

3 months, 100 hours

For starters, you learn the basics of Spanish – the letter sounds, and 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, and 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
)

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?

Being able to talk to natives about your proficiency level is important. In the professional and academic world, testing is used. Each testing service uses their own proficiency scales with different labels. They all have the same general categories when you compare them.

photography of a smiling woman

5 Tips for Creating an Effective Spanish Study Plan

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 plan for learning Spanish?

For a quick start, grab our free Simple Spanish Learning Guide to implement a simple routine today. Inside the guide, the roadmap lays out the learning stages so you know exactly whats coming next. It will help your refine your study plan as you go and flex to your learning styles and schedule.

Spanish Self-Study Plan

Follow the guidelines below to consider while you create your Spanish study plan:

#1: Set your language learning goals

Think about what you want to accomplish. What are the benefits you’re wanting from learning Spanish? What is your motivation for this desire? This could be any number of objectives you’re hoping to achieve.

There are many good reasons for learning Spanish:

Benefits / career, financial, opportunities, personal, relationships, business

Skills / to be able to read, write, listen, speak Spanish

Experiences / travel, literature, entertainment, education, translation, conversations

Enlightenment / heritage, cultural perspectives, thinking skills

Your reasons for learning will keep you motivated as you go. At times you may struggle to make progress or experience negative feelings about learning. Knowing your purpose will keep you moving forward when language learning gets tough.

#2: Turn your goals into an action plan

Now, take your big goal and break it down into smaller parts.

One common mistake is to learn about Spanish, instead of understanding and using Spanish. In reality, the whole point is to communicate in Spanish. To avoid this mistake you’re going to spend your study time practicing the language skills – reading, writing, listening, and speaking.

Practicing skills combines with the building blocks of the Spanish language:

Sounds / inventory of sounds connected to print.

Vocabulary / collection of Spanish words defined.

Verb Conjugation / changing verbs for meaning.

Grammar / structuring words into meaningful units.

A natural progression happens between the language skills and building blocks above.

woman lying on white chair while reading book

#3: Determine your best learning style

Think about what works and what doesn’t work for you. Every learner performs best with a different learning styles. Most people are a mix of styles. Each learning style has a different learning method. Naturally, they also have ideal types of resources that work best for the learner.

There are four learning styles: auditory, visual, kinesthetic and read-write. When you make your study plan make sure you spend your study time using your most effective methods and resources.

To discover your study strengths check out this article and take the quiz.

#4: Develop a schedule

Use a calendar to block out your current commitments. This includes work, travel, school, family, sleep and other activities. This may leave little or no time for your study plan. Life can be busy. Now is the time to reevaluate your priorities. Another approach is to rearrange your schedule to open up slots for your study plan.

How many hours a day should I study Spanish?

Now, plug your study time into your calendar. A study plan that is scheduled will be consistent. The first six weeks sets a study habit into place. Over time, practicing the language skills consistently makes learning Spanish fast. I recommend:

  • Minimum 15 minutes of practice each day
  • 1 hour per day for faster progress

Reverse engineering is a good way to calculate your target practice time. Starting with your yearly goal, divide it by the number of study weeks. For example, I want to reach beginning proficiency (100 hours). Divide 100 by the total weeks of study. In a years worth of study, about 15 minutes per day will do (100 hours / 50 weeks = 2 hrs per week).

Estimates of time to proficiency are in the section above titled Timeframe.

#5: Track your language abilities

Setting a measurable goal is best practice for any type of planning. In language learning planning, there are a few way to measure your progress.

Skills rating / listening, speaking, reading, writing abilities

Sounds / inventory

Vocabulary / count of new, passive, active words

Grammar / analysis of words, phrases, sentences

Testing / proficiency scales

Before beginning your study plan, assess your Spanish abilities. Take into account your experience using Spanish, including every language skill.

Then as you implement your study plan, track your progress over time using the same measures. These metrics are helpful to evaluate your study plan. With this data you can change and refocus on your strengths to improve your study plan.

Assess your Spanish skills.

spanish study plan

Language Study Plan

An effective language study plan needs to be written and scheduled. It consists of big goals and an action plan. Implementation is the next step after planning. Only practice will close the gap between where your skills are and your desired abilities.

Your goals will keep you motivated.

Your schedule will keep you on track.

How do I write a Spanish study plan?

Set aside an hour for a planning session. Without distractions put some thought into what you want to accomplish. Make sure to make it actionable and measureable. The tips above will guide you in the right direction.

Language Study Plan Template

Include these sections in your Spanish study plan:

Spanish Learning Goals / big goal, milestones, language skills goals, building blocks goals

Spanish Sources / audio, print, visual

Skills Practice / time listening, speaking, reading and writing Spanish

Study Schedule / Yearly, monthly, weekly, daily

Everything does not need to be detailed all at once. In fact, your big goal and milestones are on your yearly plan. Your study schedule is on your daily calendar. Place your Spanish source with your pratice time. As you choose more sources, fill them in on your weekly or monthly calendars.

No need for any of this to be overcomplicated. One sheet of paper can contain your study plan. The front can have the four sections above. The back can detail your weekly or daily routine.

Study Plan Examples

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.

Examples of Goals for Spanish Study Plan

Big Goals

  • Become fluent in Spanish.
  • Talk to and read to my children in Spanish.
  • Become a translator.

Practice Goals

  • Listen to audios for 15 minutes daily
  • Read from a Spanish book for 30 minutes, three times per week
  • Every day 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.

Vocabulary Goals

  • Add 200 new words to my Spanish vocabulary.
  • Finish the 300 most frequently used Spanish words list this year.
  • Pull 5 new words from an audio or book each week
  • Define each new word in my vocabulary within two weeks
  • Discover 20 new phrases for my career

Grammar Goals

  • Label the parts of speech for 1 sentence per week
  • Diagram 1 sentence per day
  • Record new grammar rules and exceptions I learn

Example of Spanish Sources for Spanish Study Plan

A large amount of sources are out there for you to use for your practice time. Some are audio format to listen to. Some are in print format to read. Another great option are visual sources. From any source you can find vocabulary and examples of how words are used and structured into sentences.

Self-taught language learners need two types of learning materials: a source and reference material. The first provides new words and examples. The second is essential to understand meanings, translate between native and second language, and explain key grammar concepts.

  1. Print, visual, or audio language resources
  2. 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 students 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 in listening, speaking, reading, and writing is crucial from the beginning.

In the beginning, you want to start with an easy book. Any of these are good options for beginners’ books.

Spanish Audio

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. 

  • Audiobooks
  • Movies and Episodes
  • News reports
  • Podcasts
  • Music

Each of these sources gives 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 inspiration for telling a story, describing something, or talking about a concept. With visual sources, you are responsible for telling about the observable details. 

  • Artwork
  • Nature walks
  • Workplace
  • Homelife
  • Chores and tasks
  • Hobbies
  • Recreation
  • Fully Engaging Spanish Activities
  • Useful Spanish Resources
  • Most Effective Learning Tools

Examples of Skills Practice for Spanish Study Plan

Skills practice involves listening, speaking, reading or writing Spanish. An audio, print or visual source is part of the practice time. They provide the vocabulary and examples of Spanish you need.

  • read books
  • crafts
  • cooking
  • travel
  • exercise
  • vocabulary challenge
  • describe art
  • recreation
  • audio books
  • copy work
  • hobbies
  • nature walks
  • listen to music
  • watch movies
  • read the news
  • keep a journal
  • social outings
  • letter writing

In reality, every activity can be a skills practice time. Simply replace English with Spanish even at the most basic level. Use your sources for examples of what to say or write. Listen and read about the topic in Spanish. Increase your vocabulary and use it the next time.

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 +

family making breakfast in the kitchen

Spanish How to…

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

How to Read Books to Learn Spanish

Artwork is a visual source for new words. The artwork has a lot of details and actions 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.

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 on how to structure a read aloud time and  beginning book lists too.  

How to Listen 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. Listening time is ideal for growing oral skills, especially for auditory learners.

Also, adding a book, subtitles and lyrics combines 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 Describe Art to Learn Spanish

For more about talking about art

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 also stimulates the nervous system’s 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.

elder sister and brother studying at home

Spanish Immersion at Home

It is possible to create a language-rich environment at home. You don’t have to go anywhere. Fill your space with Spanish audio and print sources. Include Spanish in your everyday experiences. You don’t need a Spanish speaker. Talk to yourself, a pet or objects around you for practice speaking.

Real audio and print sources are your models. You can learn new words and ways of expressing yourself in both conversation and print.

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 source

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 in 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. 

Take Action

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 seem out of reach. Many learners give up too soon. The struggle is real. The transition from beginner 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, responsibilities or irresponsibility may be your biggest obstacle. A good backup plan will give you a simple alternative source and activity, as follows:  

  • For a 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 the 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 good study habits.
  • 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 toward 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.

Now it’s your turn! Please answer these questions in the comments: What is in your study plan? What are your favorite sources? How are you doing skills practice?

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