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How to Succeed on Reading Comprehension Assessments Reading in a second language can often be one of the most difficult tasks required of a non-native speaker. Starting at the very first level, however, many Spanish courses immediately require the fulfillment of reading comprehension requirements. How can students tackle this seemingly impossible task? Here are a few tips for increasing one's score on reading comprehension activities. 1. Read the questions BEFORE you read the passage. This allows you to focus on pertinent information as you read the text. 2. Answer the easiest questions first. This ensures that you get credit for the questions you know the answers to, and can then spend extra time on the more difficult questions at hand. 3. Eliminate any wrong answers. Then, make an educated guess. This statistically ups your chances at scoring higher on the assessment than leaving any answer blank. 4. Make sure you can always find supporting evidence... read more

Creating Confidence When Speaking a Foreign Language Studying a foreign language? Feeling tongue-tied, unable to spit out what you're trying to say? You aren't alone. One of the biggest challenges in learning a foreign language is training our tongues (literally) to speak in a way that is rather unnatural. Ever tried to roll an "r" in Spanish? Or (for me) speak a lick of French? It is exhausting, at best. One way to ease your fear of speaking a foreign language is - you guessed it - to SPEAK the language! And I don't mean go out in public and ramble at any random person you meet (although in some scenarios, a version of this may be highly recommendable). Instead, have you ever thought of RECORDING yourself speaking the new language? Listening to our own voices pronounce new words and phrases not only creates confidence in our speaking skills, but it allows us to focus on our pronunciation, and the intonation of our voice. Most computers nowadays... read more

Vocabulary Help - Flashcard Tips and Tricks Tired of boring flashcards? As a teacher, I got tired of them, too. Until I discovered interactive games my students could play with their self-made cards. What's even better is that some of these games can be played individually, or with a partner. This is a great way to accommodate both the inter and intrapersonal learners in our classrooms. Before we get to the games, here are a few tricks when making the flashcards themselves: If you are a visual learner, DRAW a PICTURE of what the new vocabulary term means to you. This is great in a foreign language classroom such as Spanish, where we try to stay clear of as much English as possible. Writing the vocabulary word on one card and a picture to represent the word on another card sets you up for either of the two great games listed below. GREAT FLASHCARD GAMES 1. Concentration/Memory - This game may be played individually, or with a partner... read more

Vocabulary Acquisition Techniques Vocabulary acquisition is the basis for learning any language. Most education professionals agree that learners of any language acquire new vocabulary in one of two ways: 1. Incidentally, through conscious or unconscious use of context clues in novel texts, or listening activities 2. Explicitly, through direct instruction or studying Here are a few vocabulary acquisition techniques that you can conquer yourself through independent studying. 1. Repetition, repetition, repetition! When you learn a new word, you should repeat it as often as necessary. Constant exposure to new or difficult words helps us acquire them more quickly. Make flashcards, or post the new word on the fridge or bathroom mirror - anyplace you frequent. 2. Keep a vocabulary log. Write down the new word, and the context in which you first saw or heard it utilized. Then, use it in a new sentence. If you are a more visual learner,... read more

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