Do your students need Spanish writing practice? Considering that Spanish is one of the world’s most widely used languages with just under 600 million speakers, it’s important for students to be fluent in all aspects of Spanish communication. This means that aside from speaking, understanding, and reading it fluently, students of the Spanish language should also know how to write it. After all, writing is just as much a part of language fluency as speech and comprehension.
Since most Spanish students tend to focus on just speaking Spanish or writing formally, it’s important for teachers to encourage diverse writing exercises. If done regularly, these writing exercises can even help students to better understand Spanish nuance and feel more confident in their abilities.
1. Recount readings in your own words
Reading comprehension exercises are some of the most fun and engaging activities students can do. Traditionally, though, students just practice key reading skills to test how well they are able to understand written Spanish. However, to add another layer to this exercise, why not ask students to recount what they’ve read? This can be particularly fun during Spanish cultural reading comprehension activities because the topics range from holidays to celebrations. Some reading comprehension materials you can use for this activity include La Tomatina, Martes el Trece, and El Día de la Rosa. Another useful book is the 100 Spanish Short Stories for Beginners by the World Language Institute Spain, which is aimed at those learning the language. The language is written in simplified Spanish that will be much easier for students to recount in their own words. As the students progress they can tackle more difficult texts.
2. Write social media posts
Realistically speaking, Spanish language students will most likely be connecting with other Spanish speakers through social media. With that in mind, it’s important to get them comfortable with writing for this particular medium. When students are able to effectively communicate in Spanish on social media, they could potentially make this a career. It’s important to consider that online data researchers have found that social media misinformation is most rampant in Spanish-speaking communities. For example, 70% of Spanish posts on Facebook contain misinformation and are openly shared and unlabeled as such.
This is among the reasons why social media writers are some of the leading careers in liberal arts currently. After all, professional writers must be able to accurately research, create, and compose compelling content that is true and reliable in the bustling online space. With that in mind, ask your students to write relevant social media posts for different occasions. This can include writing a photo caption, creating a news-type headline, or even just a simple greeting. Through this, they can grasp how to use Spanish in an online setting while also preparing them for any future content assignments.
3. Create your own advertisements
Because Spanish is among the most common languages globally, it’s easy to find advertising and marketing materials written in Spanish. More interestingly, though, according to inclusive marketing strategist Sonia Thompson’s article on Forbes, many marketing professionals are making it a point to tweak their ads for different Spanish cultures. This includes immediately offering Spanish translations and creating their copy from the Spanish customer’s perspective. Among students, these materials make for great resources that illustrate how Spanish can be used in varying instances for different regions. As an exercise, writing an ad can help students practice how to describe items, how to use numbers or cost identifiers, and how to speak in a way that is polite yet persuasive. If you’d like, you can even provide specific prompts for this exercise, to keep the writing more targeted. You can even gamify it by “rewarding” students who create the most compelling ads that make you or the rest of their class want to “buy” what they offer.
Being able to write in Spanish is not only an exciting and empowering skill, but it’s also crucial to learning the language. As highlighted by the ACTFL, knowing how to write is a non-negotiable part of climbing up the five major levels of proficiency. In order to ascend from Novice Low to Distinguished, practicing your writing using fun and immersive exercises can make the process more enjoyable and effective. Ultimately, the earlier that a student can write well in Spanish, the sooner they can begin appreciating the language and all its colors.
Written by Kerry Emerson for srtaspanish.com