Tutoring Spanish

We mostly reviewed for the test that was the next day. Went through questions and how to respond to them orally.

Talked a bit about gender and singular/plural. Looked at how ‘a + el’ combines into ‘al’.

Saw how the sentence structure connects different parts, though it can be a bit different than English.

Tutoring Spanish #8 Jugo/Juego & Prima/Primera

We reviewed a few things for the upcoming test.

Started looking at verb conjugation for some verbs on a review list. Spent a bit more time on the irregular verbs.

Then looked at numbers from 1 – 1,000,000. Catorce and quince were a bit less familiar. And a few of the other numbers we reviewed. There are two ways to say some of the numbers,

por ejemplo

treinta y dos

Practiced speaking Spanish describing a typical day.

A few words that look similar but have different meanings are




Two other words that might be useful are ‘tarea’ and ‘usualmente’.

Learning to roll the ‘r’ in Spanish

My Spanish student from China has been learning to roll the letter ‘r’. Being able to do that is necessary when you see a double r (‘rr’) in Spanish words like carro.

At first she did not think she could do this.

And I remember thinking the same thing as I first was learning Spanish. But I wanted to be able to do it.

So I listened and started trying to be able to roll the ‘r’. At first, it wasn’t comfortable and was hard to put into words. Eventually I got it.

She is starting to be able to roll her tongue, but the sound of ‘t’ is more comfortable.


For me, rolling the letter ‘t’ is a higher pitch and for the letter ‘r’ is a lower pitch. I can go higher in pitch than the letter ‘t’ also.


The transition from the ‘t’ sound to a ‘tr’ sound may be easier than the transition directly to the ‘r’ sound. Seems like the middle of the tongue is a bit lower in the mouth going towards the ‘r’ sound.

I also found this post by Benny about rolling the letter ‘r’.

Let me know if you have any thoughts!

Tutoring Spanish #7 El Viento y El Sol, Animated Story

Saw this video which I used in a lesson today.

Much of it was understandable for my first year Spanish student (from China).

We paused it to figure out some words. Some words we skipped over which I did not think were all that common

And some words you could figure out from what you saw in the video.

Talked about some related words. For example, we saw barcos and I talked about how botes are similar. But botas are more like zapatos.

Sonreir, reir, sonrisa

These three words are related. First is to smile, second is to laugh, third is smile (noun).

Double negatives

In Spanish you use double negatives, unlike in English.

More vocabulary

Wrote down some new words that could be useful.

Sentence structure

Also saw a few new types of sentence structure.

Tutoring Spanish #6 ‘e’ vs ‘i’ sound

We started by looking at an essay.

Mis mañanas Típicas

Singular/plural and masculine/feminine have to all match up.

Looked a bit at reflexive verbs, such as ‘me visto’ for getting dressed.

Spent some time on the pronunciation in the Luis Miguel song and the flow of the words.

Something to focus on for pronunciation is ‘e’ vs ‘i’. Me, te, le vs mi, ti, etc.

Read a bit in Calvin and Hobbes in Spanish, comprehension is getting better.

Could be good to listen to another podcast.

Also made some progress working on rolling the ‘r’. It’s similar in some ways to a saxophone reed. Your mouth should not be too open. Good to sustain the sound and then add it into words with it. Can take a bit of practice. Was glad to see it’s improving.

Tutoring Spanish #5 Listening to a song

We started by listening to ‘Historia de un Amor’ sang by Luis Miguel. We got through three lines completely.

The sound you had the most trouble with was the ‘v’ sound in the beginning of ‘verte’.

We looked at the library card instructions. One word that was difficult to pronounce was devuelvan.

In general, be aware of pronouncing words as you should in Spanish not as they would be in English. Words like ‘con’.

Talked a bit about the structure of verbs in the future tense since they came up in the song. Learn more of the song and say the words along with the singer and/or sing if you want. It will be good to work on the flow and rhythm of how you speak Spanish.

Tutoring Spanish #4

We started with the Calvin & Hobbes book in Spanish, ‘No Me Gusta Tu Cara’.

The word cara looks a bit like carro, but has a very different meaning.

We looked through a number of the comic strips and connected the words to the illustrations sometimes to figure them out.

Some new words,

cielo, estilo, lejos, caliente, espalda

We also listened to the choruses of some songs in Spanish.

It would be good if you picked a song in Spanish you like, we can work on learning the words.

Talked a bit about some cities in California and how to pronounce them, including Santa Barbara, San Francisco, Los Angeles.

Three new verbs for today, saber, pensar and crear.

Tutoring Spanish #3

We started by looking at a test from class. Mostly done correctly, a few words not known here and there. The main section with problems was distinguishing between estar and ser.

Looked at an essay as well.

A few things to be aware of,

de el -> del

a el -> al

los/las for plural

Beginning to learn past tense and starting with some regular verbs. Probably should learn some other common verbs that may be irregular. Two that came to mind are tener and estar.



Those two are actually similar.

We listened to more of Slow News in Spanish. Doing better with it. Want to be aware of when you need to add the letter ‘h’ to the front of words.

For listening/pronunciation, good to pay attention to the difference between the letters ‘e’ and ‘a’

santos vs sentir
Salinas vs cenemos

Sometimes words are spelled with the letter z instead of s and it sounds very similar, that’s probably a matter of learning more words and how they are spelled.

One thing we also heard in the podcast is that the ‘y’ sound in ‘ya’ and ‘me llamo’ sometimes sounds like a ‘j’ sound depending on who is speaking.

Also, you would say ‘somos amigos’ not ‘estamos amigos’.

Tutoring Spanish #2

We started by looking at three sentences I came up with to focus on a few issues

Mis padres con mi hermana y yo somos cuatro personas.
Cuadros y círculos están en el pared de mi cuarto.
En una semana en Julio vi seis ciudadanos de Perú.

Partly for grammar, mostly for pronunciation.

After that we looked indirect object pronouns in the book for a little while.

Then we listened to a podcast called ‘news in slow spanish’.

Listening and then writing and correcting both how to write things and pronunciation.

Went over the days of the week and the months.

And focused on pronunciation a bit in ‘El Principito’.

A few other things to remember are that z/s have the same sound. And that b/v are kind of a mixture. Revisited that you don’t pronounce ‘h’ in words like ‘hablar’.

Tutoring Spanish #1, Verb Conjugation and Gender

We started by looking at an early test. There were a few mistakes, but mostly she understood the corrections.

I listened to counting from 1-10 which was mostly fine. A few problems from 11-20 and 30, 40, 50, etc.

We looked at verb conjugation a bit as well as the genders for adjectives as well as making adjectives plural.

Corrected a few issues with pronunciation including making the letter ‘t’ sound like ‘d’.

Compared three somewhat similar sounding words


Talked a bit about accent marks and where the accent usually falls.

It seems like listening to more Spanish could help, possibly a podcast. And continuing with duolingo could also help since it does become more challenging.