Let’s Learn to Speak Spanish: Conversational Workbook and CD is a set of worksheets and activities by Susana Murphy, published by the non-profit One World Foundation. Susana sent me a copy of this book because she realized it would be helpful to many Spanish Playground readers. These activities are an excellent supplement to an elementary Spanish program. The book is also a great choice for parents who want to reinforce a school program or introduce their child to Spanish at home. The exercises cover the most common introductory topics and the pages can be photocopied. It takes tons of material to give kids enough exposure to these basics. This workbook gives teachers and parents an easy way to reinforce what kids are learning.
Most of these Spanish activities are based on translation and there is a glossary in the back of the book. This format makes the book is a good choice for parents who do not have much knowledge of Spanish but want to introduce school-age children to Spanish at home. The workbook comes with an audio CD of native speakers from Costa Rica, Colombia and the Dominican Republic. With this support, parents and kids can hear the correct pronunciation and practice the sounds of Spanish. These are written activities, but I really like how consistently this book reminds kids to use the spoken language. They need lots encouragement to speak Spanish!
Let’s Learn to Speak Spanish includes activities on topics like the alphabet, greetings, numbers, the days of the week, the months of the year, and the weather. There are also worksheets for units like colors, food, animals, clothing, body parts and places. The grammar practice is basic and appropriate for many elementary programs and even middle school programs. In addition to the singular forms of regular -ar verbs in the present, the book has exercises on ir, tener, querer and gustar.
For each of the topics covered, there are several different Spanish activities. You will find word searches, scrambled words, and pictures to color. Kids will choose which word does not belong, match words to pictures, copy Spanish sentences and complete sentences by filling in the blank. The book includes flash cards of common phrases and vocabulary and also mini-books to practice the verbs quiero, voy and tengo. All of the worksheets provide sufficient practice, but are not so long that they become boring. Also, I love the choice of vocabulary in this book. It is truly representative of a standard Spanish that will be understood worldwide.
Many of these topics include a section called ¿Sabes? on one of the worksheets. These sections are a wonderful collection of cultural and linguistic information. The explanations are short with clear examples and include all kinds of fun, useful and very accurate information.
There is no doubt that this book will save teachers time and provide students with an opportunity to practice the basics. I think that Let’s Learn to Speak Spanish is also a great model of the kinds of Spanish activities that teachers can make. For parents who want to introduce kids to Spanish at home or reinforce a school program, there are a variety of activities that will keep kids entertained while giving them some of the essential practice that it takes to learn Spanish.
Disclosure: The company sent me a copy of the book to write this article. All of the ideas and opinions are my own.