1. Education
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum

From the forum: "I was wondering if people could share what has helped them to improve their listening comprehension. I find that mine fluctuates and I get frustrated sometimes. I suppose it's not just the comprehension, but the ability to hear the actual words, even if I'm not familiar with them. Sometimes I understand most of the words on my novela, but other times it's like I'm starting all over again. So, if anyone has some ideas, please share them." Share in comments here, or join the forum discussion.


November 25, 2007 at 9:40 am
(1) Liz Hood says:

Not knowing where you live, I can only offer what I tell my students–eavesdrop shamelessly at Walmart! Or wherever there is a great confluence of Spanish speakers in your area. Television AND short wave radio are a great help also.

November 25, 2007 at 3:52 pm
(2) Spanish says:

One good thing about many of the shortwave broadcasts is that newscasters and announces usually enunciate carefully and speak fairly slowly. It isn’t too hard to find broadcasts from Radio Havana, and there are a fair number of religious shortwave broadcasters as well.

June 23, 2008 at 2:06 pm
(3) Catalina2244 says:

I believe that I made the greatest strides in comprehension after taking conversation classes where proper pronunciation was stressed.
My pronunciation was not as good as I thought it was and I know now that I needed to be corrected until I got it right. Following one particularly rigorous such class, where the instructor did not cut us any slack, my comprehension improved immediately and dramatically.

Interestingly enough, I’ve shared this with other students of Spanish and almost all have said, “Oh, I don’t need that. My pronunciation is fine”.

July 26, 2009 at 9:48 am
(4) Natalie says:

Watching Spanish tv and picking a favorite novela to watch REALLY helps! Once you find a favorite program, you will listen more carefully! If you don’t get any Spanish-language channels, you can watch novelas online from YouTube (which is another great resource!)

Visit anywhere where Spanish speakers might be present and eavesdrop on their conversations – just like another person suggested! Most good size cities have a Tienda Morelos, Mexican restaurant, car repair shops, etc!

Attend church services in Spanish! Many Catholic churches offer a Spanish Mass. Even if you aren’t Catholic it’s a good way to improve listening skills! It’s nice because the entire service is the same every week, so you can really practice and learn what is being said, but, the homily and readings from the Bible change each week, so you get some variation and practice that way too!

Music…listen to as much music in Spanish as possible! Not sure where to start? Go to AOL RADIO online (it’s free!) and listen to their Spanish language channels! You will soon learn the names of a few artists that you like! Look up the lyrics to your favorite songs to see how well you are doing at comprehension.

Get a Spanish speaking pen pal or phone pal and make some Spanish speaking friends. SEEK THEM OUT! The only way you will really get better and more comfortable speaking and listening is by doing it!!

Read in Spanish. Books, plays, magazines, newspapers…whatever! I can’t stress this enough! The more you read, the more your vocabulary will expand, and you will soon be understanding more and more of conversations because you will recognize the words!

March 24, 2011 at 7:32 pm
(5) Sean Young says:

There’s a website that lists radio stations broadcasting online for thousands of radio stations around the world. For example, the one for Mexico is http://www.radio-locator.com/cgi-bin/nation?ccode=mx&go.x=18&go.y=5&sid=

I usually have my students listen to Spanish in this way, or go to the BBC’s website and get the Spanish news there.

May 5, 2011 at 6:05 am
(6) Andrew Troup says:

I find it works well to rent or buy DVDs of decent movies with a Spanish option under the spoken and subtitled languages.

You can watch each scene with no subtitles, then with the subtitles of your native language, and then again with Spanish subtitles. Often the subtitles are truncated and use different words than the Spanish spoken version, which can be good practice at working out from context what was probably said.

It’s good to work with a computer DVD player with enhanced replay options, like looping a given phrase, slowing down without pitch change, adding markers, etc.
The trickiest Spanish language DVDs I have are seasons of “Los Simpson”. Because of the funny voices, the Spanish versions are very difficult, but this is good ear training.

February 5, 2012 at 5:29 pm
(7) Lauren says:

I have been studying Spanish for nearly 7 years and I can read, write and translate very well but my listening comprehension is terrible. I have been watching Spanish films which has helped but wanted something I could listen to when I was out of the house. For this, I discovered Spanish radio podcasts; they are free from iTunes and so I synced them onto my iPod and have since began to improve my listening skills.

September 5, 2012 at 9:16 am
(8) finn says:

My first language is spanish, I hep you if you like, spanish is easy to read but is a litle dificult to learn grammar

October 24, 2012 at 6:42 pm
(9) HELP says:

I am a high school student in 9th grade and on my 2nd course of Spanish in school. I am perfect at everything except comprehension and rolling my r’s (which is a major problem, if you can help me with that please do) on all my tests i do perfect until it gets to the listening part and I really don’t know what to do. Help!!!??!!

October 29, 2012 at 2:41 pm
(10) Spanish Guide says:

I would simply say, “Soy Colton.” It’s often easier if you try translating ideas rather than a word at a time.

December 1, 2013 at 7:35 pm
(11) rico_suave says:

I recommend to everyone that they watch “las novellas” on telemundo. Mostly because the actors tend to emote what they are doing and in my opinion tend to speak slower than the average Spanish speakers (to me different countries sound faster than others), and the women are easy on the eyes (as I am sure the men are also…lol! ) but as important as learning the language is listening to the language being spoken, watch movies that you know in the secondary audio program (or change the language on the dvd) listen to the news in Spanish after watching it in English then you know the jist of what is being said. Even if your not paying attention and it is on in the background (the tv in spanish you will pick things up). I have also taken to listening and watching the movie with subtitles on IN Spanish because I can read it better than I can understand the spoken word. As with anything, commit and practice.

Leave a Comment

Line and paragraph breaks are automatic. Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title="">, <b>, <i>, <strike>

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.