How to seriously boost your Spanish using short stories – Part 2

Welcome to part 2 of this series where I share with you how to improve your Spanish using short stories. Today, we’ll discuss how to use stories to learn grammar.

If you didn’t have the chance to read part 1, you should start there:

How to seriously boost your Spanish using short stories part 1.

During the first part of this article:

  • We discussed some benefits of using stories to learn Spanish.
  • I walked you through an example of how to use short stories to increase your vocabulary.
  • We saw how to understand a story by chunks.
  • I showed you how to internalize the new vocabulary so you may understand it automatically when you hear it in real life.

In this post, we will see how time traveling is the perfect tool to learn grammar.

And no, I’m not joking, I’m literally talking about time travel.

Just stick around and see it for yourself!

Note: This is a long, 3-part series. If your time for reading is limited, why not sign up for my checklist + Email course: Spanish Mastery For Intermediate Students In 10 Simple Steps?

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How to learn grammar: the wrong way to use your brain

Grammar may be overwhelming if it’s presented in an analytic way.

Sadly, this is how most students are introduced to grammar in Spanish.

The process is always the same:

  • The teacher talks about a rule.
  • He writes a title on the whiteboard.
  • He explains the formula.

Later on, students are expected to make sentences following the formulas that are given by the teacher.

If you think about it, this is exactly the same academic way that we use to learn mathematics or physics, and language is way far from that.

When we learn grammar this way, we use the left hemisphere of the brain (Our analytic little voice).

And yes, I know the left hemisphere involves language.

However, it involves producing language, which means speaking, not learning it!

What the experts say

little girl's face looking at a mathematical formula written in the left

In his book: Learning Another Language Through Actions, Dr James asher says that the brain learns perfectly when we use the right hemisphere, which is our creative side of the brain.

In fact, he says that in foreign language learning, we should follow the natural order that babies follow when they learn to speak:

1- Understand the language.
2- Produce the language (speak).
3- Reading and writing.

Dr. Asher found that when our body gets involved in language learning, we learn perfectly and we remember words for a longer time, just like kids do!

Also, he suggests that being stress-free and relaxed during our learning time helps us to internalize the new language.

This, in other words, could be thought of having fun while learning Spanish naturally.

Note: Dr. Asher came up with a language learning approach called TPR (Total physical response) which is perfect for beginners, if you want to know more about it, go to TPR-World.com.

Now, influenced by the same line of principles, Dr. Blaine Ray developed a method called TPRS (Teaching proficiency through reading and storytelling).

This method combines having fun through compelling stories and understandable input.

Using Dr. Blain Ray’s method will teach your brain how to use grammar correctly in Spanish and intuitively.

  • You will not need to know any of the grammar rules.
  • You will not need to think about correct or incorrect verb conjugations.
  • It will not be necessary to learn grammar academically.
  • Still, you will know how to use the grammar!

All you need to do is to have fun with the stories and let your right hemisphere of the brain do all the job of learning.

In the end, your left hemisphere will produce Spanish automatically, naturally, and grammarly perfect.

So… how does it work?

That’s where time travel comes in…

Part 2: “Doc, we have to go back… back to the future!”

Gray Delorean parked in front of a park

In the 1985 film Back to the future, we see Dr. Emmet Brown and Marty Mcfly time traveling in the DeLorean.

They go from the past to the present and to the future.

“Your future hasn’t been written yet. No one has. Your future is whatever you make it. So make it a good one.” – Wise Dr. Brown quote.

When you learn grammar through TPRS, it is basically all about hearing the same story in different tenses.

In other words, what you need to do is to get “in the DeLorean” to time travel the story!

Listen to the story in the most common tenses:

  • Past.
  • Present.
  • Future.

Make the story fun for you. If you can, ask somebody to make questions to you in each tense of the story.

Repeat this simple process many times and you will intuitively notice the difference between each tense. What’s even better is that, in the end, you will be able to produce Spanish using grammar correctly.

Let’s time travel the story that I helped you understand in part 1 of this article.

Let’s learn grammar!

En el avión ─ Present tense

Sandra duerme tranquilamente mientras vuela a España, pero de repente, el avión se sacude bruscamente y empieza a caer precipitadamente.

Todo el mundo empieza a gritar muy asustado y Sandra finalmente le dice a su esposo:

─Amor, antes de morir quiero confesarte que lavé el sanitario con tu cepillo de dientes la última vez que peleamos─

El avión se estrella y Sandra despierta ─Solo fue una pesadilla ─susurra─Creo que debo confesarle a Ernesto lo del cepillo de dientes─

En el avión ─ Past tense

Sandra dormía tranquilamente mientras volaba a España, pero de repente, el avión se sacudió bruscamente y empezó a caer precipitadamente.

Todo el mundo empezó a gritar muy asustado y Sandra finalmente le dijo a su esposo:

─Amor, antes de morir quiero confesarte que lavé el sanitario con tu cepillo de dientes la última vez que peleamos─

El avión se estrelló y Sandra despertó─Solo fue una pesadilla ─susurró─Creo que debo confesarle a Ernesto lo del cepillo de dientes─

En el avión ─ Future tense

Sandra dormirá tranquilamente mientras vuela a España, pero de repente, el avión se sacudirá bruscamente y empezará a caer precipitadamente.

Todo el mundo va a empezar a gritar muy asustado y Sandra finalmente le dirá a su esposo:

─Amor, antes de morir quiero confesarte que lavé el sanitario con tu cepillo de dientes la última vez que peleamos─

El avión se estrellará y Sandra despertará─Solo fue una pesadilla ─susurrará─Creo que debo confesarle a Ernesto lo del cepillo de dientes─

Grammar analysis

Did you notice any difference between the three versions?

If you don’t… then you must know that the differences are in the verbs, the actions.

That’s how you know in what tense each version is.

Now, Do you have any questions about the way the three versions are conjugated?

What about that part, in the future tense, that says:

Sandra dormirá tranquilamente mientras vuela a España?

What the heck is the problem with that “vuela”? Isn’t that in present tense?

Oh!… the subjunctive you might say?

DON’T WORRY ABOUT THAT!

As adults, we tend to question everything.

However, Spanish or any other language is just that! A language.

It is completely creative!

For that reason you must learn it with the creative side of the brain.

Let Spanish come naturally to you, don’t question it!

Don’t analyze it!

Listen to the stories, have fun, and relax.

If you follow this natural process to learn grammar, Spanish will come out of your left hemisphere automatically.

Not only that, but your speaking will just come out of mouth easily and grammarly correct.

Where will you find stories to learn Spanish this way?

In the next part of this series, I will point out different sources that may be used the TPRS approach.

The goal is to really help you improve your Spanish, and learn grammar automatically.

I will also recommend some stories from sources that I like to learn Spanish. Most importantly, they are good to have fun while learning.

If you don’t want to wait until next article and you want to learn more about this way of learning Spanish, you may sign up for my checklist: Spanish Mastery For Intermediate Students In 10 Simple Steps in the form below.

 I want to shout a big thank you to my tutor: AJ Hoge. Without him, I would’ve never gotten interested in language learning or to the powerful methods TPR and TPRS. Check out his sites at EffortlessEnglishclub.com or AJhoge.com.

 

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