Spanish listening is one of the most complicated things when you are learning Spanish.
In my Spanish online lessons, all my students have problems when they listen to some audio or when I tell any long anecdote or story. I can see their faces trying to understand the story but they not always have success on it.
No problem with that! It’s to be expected!
It is impossible to understand every single word, especially if you have a beginner Spanish listening or intermediate.
How are you practising your Spanish listening?
When students tell me that they have problems with Spanish listening I always ask «how are you practising it?»
The frequent answer is «I watch movies and listen to native podcasts».
Well, that is great if you have a very good level. I also study languages and let me say that movies and native podcasts are a good tool. But I usually use them when I have a good level and my hear is used to the rhythm and intonation.
In my experience, when a student watches a movie they are focused on it, I don’t know – 3, 4 or 5 minutes? maybe 10 minutes? But after that, their listening gets passive.
To avoid that, my recommendation is practised the Spanish listening with short audios. I mean, practice your active listening every single time.
For me, it makes much more sense. Why? Because a conversation is bidirectional – you talk first some seconds, and then someone answers or say something some seconds.
So, if you have a conversation with a native and you have to listen to «short audios» during the conversation – in an active listening way – why are you are practising with movies or 30-minutes audios?
With this idea, I made podcast from Spain, a place where you can find short audios divided by levels in order to practice your active listening.
How Should You Work Spanish listening?
If you want to practice your Spanish listening in this way, you can find a bunch of Spanish listening practice and if you want to find more, you can consider getting a premium member. It is very cheap.
The effective way you do your listening practice is:
➡ First, read the questions.
If you read the question first you can have an idea about the content of the audio and more important, you can know what that you have to listen to carefully to answer the test.
Click on «empezar el cuestionario» to read the question and know the topic.
➡ The second step, listen to the audio and try to answer the questions.
In this step we recommend listen to twice if you are beginner or intermediate.
In the second listening, try to focus on that part that you couldn’t understand and edit your answers if you think that is necessary.
➡ Third, listen to again – I mean, the third time – but now reading the transcription at the same time.
Extra work to accelerate the results on your Spanish listening skills
After listening, they are more thing that you can do to improve your Spanish.
✅ First bonus: improve your pronunciation and rhythm.
I love this part.
Choose one or two sentences and try to imitate the pronunciation and rhythm. Every language has its own music! Try to feel it and pay attention to the linking sounds to speak more fluently.
– ¿Qué has hecho de comida?
The native rhythm would be:
– /Cas hecho de comida?/
¿Que estás haciendo de comida?
– /Questas haciendo de comida?/
Está todo super desordenado
– /Está tó super desordenao/
If you imitate them you will sound great when you speak with a native. They will think your Spanish is even better!
✅ Second bonus: learn more vocabulary.
We always suggest some vocabulary in our «vocabulary key section» but every student is different and has a different vocabulary. So, check the transcription in order to find your great vocabulary!
Use the dictionary if you need and write just the vocabulary which is interesting for you.
Always, it is easier to study things which are interesting to you. And then, study with flashcards like Anki or whatever technique good for you.
✅ Third bonus: learn and practice more grammar.
Remind that we have grammar points in many of our Spanish listening activities.
Despite we aren’t grammar fans we know that it is necessary to read if you want to reach an accurate Spanish.
You can practice many points of grammar enjoyably, you can read about that in our Spanish past tense guide