A Collection of Day of the Dead Songs

A Collection of Day of the Dead Songs

Inside: The best Day of the Dead Songs, or canciones para Día de Muertos. 

 

With Día de Muertos drawing near, I’ve pulled together a variety of songs to use at home or in the classroom and add this link to my Spanish songs for kids page. These songs may be fun to sing, and the images are a great springboard for discussions about the holiday.

If you’re looking for an entire collections of resources and ideas for Day of the Dead, check out my Día de Muertos activities post as well! I’ve gots lots of links to free resources and ideas for celebrating or teaching traditions. 

 

Day of the Dead Songs for Kids

 

We’ll start off with some options for a younger crowd! These are a mix of traditional songs, and learners songs designed to teach about the holiday.

(Honestly, I am not sure how much I would show with really young kids. It seems like it would be hard to share without lots of English to explain what we are watching, and that some families might be uncomfortable with the graveyard images. However, you know your class and context! I am sharing these so you know your options, and can plan accordingly!)

 

Los Esqueletos – Chumbala

 

I like this one for the very clear singing voice, and the graphics are sweet too. (It works in telling time too, by describing what they do the night of Día de Muertos.) Though it portrays the calaveras in a whimsical way, the graveyard backyard might be scary. 

 

Las Calaveras – Chumbala

 

Another version of Chumbala, with slight different lyrics. 

 

 

Día de los Muertos

 

This song from Rockalingua is an introduction to Día de Muertos — the date, location, activities, etc. The music slogs a little, but still comprehensible and the graphics are useful when working with kids. 

 

El Día de Los Muertos

 

Another comprehensible Day of the Dead song for introducing what the day is about, the graphics here are also helpful for teaching. I didn’t love the music itself, and feel like it doesn’t coincide with the cultural context of the holiday. 

 

Tumbas Por Aquí Tumbas Por Allá

 

This one is a littler creepier, and sort’ve falls under the Halloween category too. 

 

 

Recuérdame – Coco

 

How could I not include music from Coco? Here are two different version, both of which includes scenes from the movie. 

 

Day of the Dead Songs for Teens or Adults

 

Here are some options for older students or adults as well!

 

Calaverita – La Santa Cecilia

 

This is a Day of the Dead classic: a lively song with a comprehensible chorus. Kara Jacobs has some fantastic resources that go with this song too! Just a heads up that Donald Trump appears briefly in one scene– this was before he was elected president, but it may feel political for some.

 

Recuérdame – Natalia Lafourcade

 

I love this re-mix of Recuérdame from Natala Lafourcade. It includes scenes from Coco, mixed in with scenes of Lafourcade singing and Day of the Dead contexts. Really lovely, folksy version that includes lyrics. 

 

Recuérdame – Natalia Lafourcade

 

A traditional Mexican folk song, this is not exactly a Day of the Dead song, but it fits in with themes of death, and the afterlife. This story is difficult for me to hear or teach (rooted in a story of a jilted woman who drowns her children and then forever after haunts her former lover and weeps for her children), so be aware of that if you use this. 

 

Cumbia de los Muertos – Ozomatli

 

In a totally different musical genre, here’s a cumbia twist on Día de Muertos with some reggae thrown in. It also includes an English portion. (I’ve included two version below.)

 

 

 

Day of the Dead Songs

Happy Birthday Songs in Spanish

Happy Birthday Songs in Spanish

Inside: Different versions Happy Birthday songs in Spanish, on YouTube.

In English, the song Happy Birthday is a staple at any birthday celebration– and wherever you go, it will basically sound the same. In Spanish, however, there are different versions, and they vary by country as well.

Here in Peru, for example, you’d better be prepared if you’re the cumpleañero! You’ll be sung at least three different songs, including Happy Birthday in English, before you get to blow those candles out. Though you say feliz cumpleaños to directly wish someone a Happy Birthday in Spanish, the words get switched to cumpleaños feliz in most cases, to fit the cadence of the song.

 

I’ll share several ways to sing to someone on their birthday, and you can pick your favorite. I wish there were a good version with lyrics on YouTube to recommend for free, but the pickings are slim. If you have more suggestions, let me know in the comments below for sure. 

If you are a classroom teacher, and would like to have quick, nice version with lyrics for your students to follow, you may want to look into this $5 version from Minute by Minute Spanish, which includes several regional options. 

 

If you prefer just to sing without music, here are the lyrics to some simple versions:



Cumpleaños, feliz,

Cumpleaños, feliz,
Cumpleaños feliiiiz,
Cumpleaños feliz.


Cumpleaños feliz
Te deseamos a ti
Que los cumplas feliz
Cumpleaños feliz



Cumpleaños, feliz,

Cumpleaños, feliz,
Te deseamos todos,
Cumpleaños feliz.


 

Happy Birthday Songs in Spanish

 

Let’s get started on our tour of Feliz Cumpleaños songs in YouTube, with option for kids to adults!

 

1. Cumpleaños Feliz with Lyrics

 

*Update!!* An awesome reader just sent me this link, which actually does show the lyrics during the song. WIN!

Cumpleaños feliz,
Cumpleaños feliz,
Te deseamos todos,
Cumpleaños feliz.

 

2. Cumpleaños Feliz – Canción Infantil

This one has a nice audio of children singing, though the images are a bit outdated!

Cumpleaños feliz,
Te deseamos a ti, 
Que los cumplas felices,
Cumpleaños feliz. 

 

3. Happy Birthday – Spanish Version

 

A slower version, sung by adults. Here are the lyrics:

Cumpleaños feliz,
Te deseamos a ti, 
Que los cumplas en tu día,
Que los cumplas feliz. 

 

 

4. Cumpleaños Feliz en Español

 

The graphics and lyrics are great in this version, though the audio is a little hard to sing along to.

Cumpleaños feliz,
Cumpleaños feliz,
Te deseamos todos,
Cumpleaños feliz.

 

5. Las Mañanitas

 

Work in some beautiful, cultural music with Las Mañanitas, traditionally sung on birthdays in Mexico and other Spanish-speaking places. 

 

And with lyrics:

6. Cumpleaños Feliz – Kids Songs

 

This one *does* show the lyrics, but unfortunately also show wine on the table! You may still want to use the audio, so here are the lyrics:

Cumpleaños feliz,
Cumpleaños feliz,
Te deseamos todos,
Cumpleaños feliz.

 

7. Festeja Tu Cumpleaños

 

Another version that sings Que los cumplas feliz, mixed in with an original version from Plim Plim.

 

8. Cumpleaños Feliz – Tambor Urbano

 

 

9. Feliz Cumpleaños

 

An original mix from Toobys. If you introducing vocabulary related to birthday, it includes words like pastel, globos, velitas, regalos, etc. 

 

10. Rompe La Piñata – Dale, Dale, Dale

 

You could also include traditional songs that are sung for the piñata part of a birthday party.

 

 

 

And just for fun– a bonus video poking fun and how long it take to sing all the songs in most countries! Maybe not for class, but a funny watch:

 

 

Do you know of any good Happy Birthday songs in Spanish that I missed? Let me know in the comments!

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Happy Birthday Songs in Spanish

The Ultimate List of YA Spanish Books for Teens and Pre-Teens

The Ultimate List of YA Spanish Books for Teens and Pre-Teens

Inside: Authentic YA Spanish books for teens and pre-teens.

 

Some of my most formative companions as a pre-teen were books. I read them over breakfast, after school, and returned to my favorites over and over. They formed such a deep part of my imagination that anyone who loved the same books felt like an instant friend. 

As I raise my bilingual kids, I’m very aware of the books they’re surrounded by. We’ve gathered a good collection of Spanish children’s books, but I’ve just started reading chapter books with my 5-year-old. So I’m diving into the world of Spanish chapter books!

At the end of this post, I’ll include links to classics translated into Spanish like Harry Potter and Magic Treehouse. However, if you’re like me, the most exciting finds for me are really the authentic books, first written in Spanish. I want my kids to develop their literacy in Spanish, obviously, but on a deeper level I want them to grow up with bicultural book-companions. 

When I sat down to write this, I thought authentic YA Spanish books  would be very hard to come by. Thankfully, my readers saved the day by offering all sorts of titles that were new to me. If you have a chapter book in Spanish you love that’s not on the list, make sure to let me know in the comments below!

Please note that this post was written with bilingual readers in mind, or students with high intermediate-advanced skills. If you are looking for learner novels for novice-intermediate skills, I have a post on Spanish books for beginners too. 

 

YA Spanish Books

 

I’ve done my best to categorize and describe the books below. Some I’ve read personally, and some were recommendations from other teachers and parents. Any age recommendations are based on information from Amazon. 

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support!

 

YA Spanish books for teens

Immigration-Themed

 

Cajas de Cartón: Relatos de la Vida Peregrina de un Nino Campesino by Francisco Jiménez
(Ages 10-12+)

Told in short autobiographical vignettes through the eyes of a 12-year-old, Cajas de Cartón relates the story of a Mexican immigrant family working in California in 1947. Though they experience many setbacks, their determination and hope shines through.

Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan
(Ages 8-12+)

Esperanza has a good life in Mexico, with everything most girls would want. But one day, her world is turned upside and she ends up escaping with her mother to California, who is forced to labor as a field worker. In spite of everything, she discovers her own strength and happiness.  

Devolver al Remitente by Julia Alvarez
(Ages 10-12+)

Tyler lives in Vermont and meets a Mexican girl, Mari, when his family hires a group of migrant workers after an accident. As everyone fights to save the farm, Tyler wrestles with his own questions about immigrants and the law, while Mari finds her way between her Mexican identity and new life in the U.S.

Yo, Naomi Leon by Pam Muñoz Ryan
(Ages 9-12+)

Naomi’s quiet life her grandmother and little brother is uprooted when her mother reappears after seven years. As Naomi discovers her family’s past (and why her mother left), the grandmother decides they must leave California for Mexico. (Not recommended for 10 and under.)


Trilogies / Series

 

La Ciudad de las Bestias
El Reino del Dragon de Oro
El Bosque de los Pigmeos (Memorias del Águila y del Jaguar 3) 
(Ages 10+)

La Ciudad de las Bestias is the most well-known book from this trilogy by Isabel Allende, also available as a set. The series delves into the world of magical realism, set amidst the South American rainforest. 15-year-old Alexander Cold leaves behind his life in the U.S., to accompany his eccentric grandmother on an expedition to the Amazon that will change his life forever. Along the way they are joined by Nadia Santos, another teen whose path becomes linked to theirs, as they make their way into uncharted territory.

Memorias De Idhún by Laura Gallego García
(Ages 12-18)

A fantasy trilogy that follows three teenagers born on earth, but join a resistance movement connected to another world: Idhún.

Marina and the Prince of Mist Trilogy by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
(Ages 12-18)

15-year-old Oscar disappears from school, after meeting Marina and making the fateful decision to follow a mysterious old woman in a cemetery. A gothic-horror adventure trilogy set in Spain.

Hacia el fin del mundo by José Ignacio Valenzuela

When her friends Patricia mysteriously disappears, Ángela must put her Anthropology studies in action to find her– by delving into the secrets of the “Leyenda del Malamor,” in which an entire village was bewitched and never again felt love. 

Manolito Gafotas by Elvira Lindo
(Ages 9-12+)

A classic from Spain, Manolito Gafotas stars the adventures of a 10-year-old boy and his friends (and arch-enemies) in a working class neighborhood. 

The Tía Lola Series by Julia Alvarez
(Ages 8-12+)

This heartwarming series from Dominican writer Julia Alvarez tells the stories of Tía Lola, who arrives from the Dominican Republic to visit her relatives in Vermont. She brings music, food, dance, and a bit of magic to the family, and eventually the whole town.

Los Futbolísimos by Roberto Santiago
(Ages 10-12+)

A light mystery series centered on a group of young soccer players, who solve mysteries and learn about friendship, teamwork, and sportsmaship along the way. 

El caso de la pluma perdida by René Saldaña Jr.
(Ages 9-12+)

Mickey is a kid detective, certified by an online he took two years before. The witty and smart star helps his friends and classmates find out the truth in this mystery series.


El Barco de Vapor

This is a series from Mexico, with readers that range for ages 6 to 10+ and cover a variety of topics and genres. I’ll include a few examples in the Amazon link below for 10 and up, but if you end up browsing around, the books are color-coded for the different levels:

Seria Blanca (6 and up)
Seria Azul (7 and up)
Serie Naranja (8 and up)
Serie Roja (10 and up)


Modern Classics

 

El Polizon Del Ulises by Ana María Matute

One day, three sisters find an orphaned baby on their doorstep. While they devote themselves to bringing Jujú, as he comes to be called, he creates his own world of books and imagination.

El principito by Antoine de Saint-Esbury

Although this one was originally written in French, the Spanish version is a long-time classic for Spanish speakers as well, as one of the best-selling children’s books. Accompanied by watercolor illustrations from the author himself it tells the story of a French pilot who crashes in the Sahara desert and meets a prince from another planet. 

Cocorí by Joaquín Gutierrez

Cocorí is perhaps the most famous Costa Rican book for children. It tells the story of a young black boy, Cocorí who meets a white girl and receives a rose from her. She asks for a spider monkey in return. This interaction sets off the rest of the story, with some lovely life lessons and culture too. The book has had some controversy, though it continues to be read widely in Spanish-speaking schools. 

La Casa en Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

An acclaimed coming-of-age novel about a young Latina teen wanting to escape her impoverished Chicago neighborhood, told through vignettes. This is a powerful work that deals with deep themes like sexual trauma, and recommended for older teens. 


More Titles

 

La casa imaginaria by Pilar Mateos
(Ages 7-10+)

In Claudia’s house, the rules aren’t normal: there’s no bedtime, for example. But when she and her friend find the keys to a secret door, everything changes.

Me llamo María Isabel by Alma Flor Ada
(Ages 7-10+)

María Isabel is a new student at school, where the teacher insists on calling her Mary because there’s already another María in class. María must make her teacher understand that her real name is important to her because she is named after her Puerto Rican grandmother. 

Aventuras de Picofino (El Duende Verde) by Concha López Narváez
(Ages 7-10+)

An endearing story about a rooster who runs away from his farm to avoid being dinner, and embarks on a series of adventures.

Cartas del cielo by Lydia Gil
(Ages 8-12+)

While Celeste is still grieving over the recent loss of her grandmother, mysterious letters begin to arrive in the mail– from her grandmother! As Celeste deals with her changed life after her grandma’s death, the letters guide her into a celebration of Cuban food and traditions. 


Copo de algodón by María García Esperon
(Ages 9-12+)

Copo de Algodón is the princess of Tacuba in ancient Mexico, and the story of her people during the arrival of Hernán Cortes is told through her eyes in this historical novel.

Antes de ser libres by Julia Alvarez
(Ages 12+)

Anita is a 12-year-old living in the Dominican Republic, during the dictatorship of Trujillo. When her uncle disappears and the secret government police begin to hound her family, Anita must find her strength and freedom. 

Diez cuentos y pico del abuelo Perico by Juan Muoz Martin
(Ages 7-9+)

One of many titles by Juan Munoz (this one is book 9 in a series), for beginning readers of chapter books.

Con cariño, Amalia by Alma Flor Ada
(Ages 8-12+)

Amalia finds comfort in her grandmother’s stories and time together after her best friends moves far away. When she suffers another loss, she must find strength she didn’t know she had, to go on.


El Puma de la noche 


Chapter Books Translated into Spanish

 

Below you can find lots of ideas for popular books in English that are available in Spanish. These are so well-known that I won’t include a little synopsis of each one; you can just grab the titles from the covers!

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YA Spanish books and chapter books in Spanish:

Spanish Speaking Countries Flags and Free Printable Banner

Spanish Speaking Countries Flags and Free Printable Banner

Inside: Spanish speaking countries flags (free printable banner). 

 

For Hispanic Heritage month, lots of people are looking for decorations. How about a string of flags from Spanish-speaking countries? I’ve created a little free printable that you can grab and put up in no time. These would be perfect for a bulletin board or to hang from a table or mantle. 

 

Spanish Speaking Countries Flags

Included are all 21 Hispanic countries, plus the United States in case anyone wants to use it (the U.S. has the second largest population of Spanish speakers in the world!). I simple cut them out, punched holes, and string them up with string. 

You’ll notice these are representations of each flag, and vary a tiny bit from the originals. 

 

Grab your free printable here! 

Why Spanish Learner Novels Are Changing Everything

Why Spanish Learner Novels Are Changing Everything

Inside: Why learner novels are important and how to find the best Spanish books for beginners.

 

The face of teaching language is changing. We’re moving towards living language, what I call the magic stuff: things we get lost in. Like stories and books.

Today’s post is for everyone: tired teachers, insecure speakers, homeschoolers, eager high-flyers– all of you! Because everyone needs stories, and everyone teaching Spanish needs learner novels.

Students in classes that include time set aside for voluntary reading in the form of sustained silent reading do better than those in similar classes without sustained silent reading on tests of reading comprehension, vocabulary, writing, and grammar.

This is true of first- and second-language studies and holds for children, teenagers, and university students.
(Krashen, 2004; 2007; Krashen and Mason, 2017).

Language Magazine, The Conduit Hypothesis

Language Latte just put out an amazing podcast that covers the “why” and the role of reading in language classrooms. (Really- it’s excellent. Go and listen!)

This post here is sort of written to my younger self; the information that would have helped me as a new teacher and mom to bilingual kids. At the end I include where access novels and more links on teaching with them.

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support! For authentic book lists and suggestions, be sure to see my Spanish children’s books page. 

 

Authentic Resources Aren’t Everything

 

With our limited time, authentic resources must be used wisely. If you hand your students a picture book, or sit on the couch to read The Hungry Caterpillar with your toddler Spanish-learner, you’ll quickly realize even children’s books are VERY advanced. 

Sometimes, it’s good to practice the skills of navigating authentic resources: picking out words you know, matching text to picture, and getting the general idea. 

But here’s the thing: to efficiently learn new vocabulary and get the grammar of a language subconsciously imprinted on your brain, you should be reading things that are comprehensible and enjoyable. 

Enter Spanish learner novels: books written for beginners.

You can re-tell La oruga muy hambrienta with comprehensible language, but that’s not your only option. You can also choose from leveled readers that only use simple language from the get-go, building up to the day that The Hungry Caterpiller is pan comido.

For Spanish learners, tuning into the local Spanish radio station sounds like noise. It’s a good thing to do, but it will take years of tuning in for your brain to turn that “noise” useful language you’ve acquired and can use. Think of how many people live in foreign countries without learning to speak– surrounded by language, but not taking it in. This is why beginners need learner materials.

Novels for Non-Native Parents & Teachers

 

Those of us who aren’t native speaker need to stay ahead of our kids. You need immediate language to use (like, the next day while putting on everyone’s shoes on or telling a story in the past tense). 

So guess what? You need a Spanish learner novel on your night stand. I love Spanish shows on Netflix and Spanish podcasts for improving fluency, but there’s something about written language that sticks with us and cements all the things we know from here and there. If your Spanish is totally fluent, go ahead and read Cien años de soledad! For others, simplified language will improve your skills more efficiently. 

If you are teaching Spanish three and need to “cover” the subjunctive, be reading a “level 3” novel. You will be filling yourself with the exact language you need to flow while chatting with your class or writing a story. 

Maybe you’re a parent trying to give your kids a bilingual boost and feel insecure about your Spanish. Read a level 1 or 2 novel, and you’ll notice that it becomes easier to speak to your kids in simple, whole sentences. 

 

Novels for Students with Non-Native Teachers

 

As a non-native teacher and mom, I know I can’t be the only source of input. Beyond songs and shows, learner novels are an excellent, excellent way to provide accurate, whole language on just the right language level. 

If you are a parent who is doing a once-a-week class or learning together at home, buy a pack of novels. Once your child has a very basic foundation, have him or her read at least 10 minutes a day. It is THE BEST way to acquire Spanish and no teacher is needed. You might feel confident to read aloud, just not coming up with things on the fly. Some novels also come with audio, and you all can listen together.

 

Novels for Stressed Teachers

 

That’s probably most of us! Learner novels are for every teacher, but they really have been game-changers for lowering my stress-level. I’m doing something wonderful for my kids, while giving my voice and brain a break. That makes me a better teacher, win-win!

Here are some ways novels will rock your teaching world:

  • Set up a free reading time as your bell-ringer.

    This is life-changing. For Spanish 1 first semester, I do bell-ringers. After that, everyone comes in and reads quietly for 10 minutes, in all my classes. It is a soothing, peaceful way to start class. I have a minute to collect myself before we jump in, and the students have that transition time of “switching to Spanish” before class starts, and can choose according to their interests. I don’t quiz, or do assignments. Some teachers are able to set up awesome, comfy classroom libraries that give an extra touch of “reading is special.”

Credit: Blair Chalker Brown

 

  • Use a novel as you dip your toes into CI.

    It’s not easy to teach in a new way. If providing lots of comprehensible input is a new thing for you, purchase a set of class novels with a teacher’s guide. If you teach with novels, you will quickly see how vital it is that your students know high-frequency words. If throwing out the textbook feels scary because you lose a clear plan, find a novel or two to study. Look at the glossary in the back, and you’ll know what you’re working towards. Build up to that glossary: week by week, add in new words, and use them in stories, chats, and songs.

 

  • Teach a class novel across several levels

    Multiple preps are stressful! Get around this with novels. Many books can be adjusted across several levels, and you can concentrate on developing a quality unit. Robo en la noche, for example, contains both present and past tense versions. Spend a month on the book, studying Costa Rica, conservation, travel, etc. and adjusting the conversations and resources slightly, for each class. Save your brain space!

 

  • Use novels for absences, special circumstances, and extra credit. 

    I always have a deer-in-the-headlights look when a student announces they are leaving to go to Disney tomorrow, and can I please give them the work they’ll miss all next week? Dude, I don’t have any of that stuff ready. Unless we’re doing something uber-specific, I hand them an appropriate novel and say, “Read this on your trip.” They can do a simple quiz or chat with me about it after. I’ve also done this with students out for extended illnesses. Novels can also be great for students wanting extra credit, adjusting a class to be an “honors class” (this sort of things happens in small schools), or for heritage speakers who need more challenge. 

 

Where to Get the Best Spanish Beginner Books

 

Some learner novels are available on Amazon. Here is a sampling!

 

 

 

More sources:

TPRS Publishing – Fluency Matters

TPRS Books

Spanish Cuentos

Information on teaching with novels:

How to Teach Spanish with Novels, 101

Novels Sorted by Level from Bryce Hedstrom

Common Spanish Verbs & Words You Need to Know

Common Spanish Verbs & Words You Need to Know

Inside: Common Spanish verbs every Spanish learner needs to know, and a guide for parents teaching Spanish.  

The Spanish language has a lot of words. It’s impossible to calculate exactly how many, but the Diccionario de la Real Academia Española (DRAE) contains about 93,000. Don’t worry, though! There’s good news for Spanish learners: only a tiny percentage of those words make their way into daily conversation.

I’m going to give a brief intro explaining why high-frequency is a better way of thinking than by “difficulty” or only themed lists. If you are here to see my lists of high-frequency Spanish verbs and words, click here to jump directly to them. 

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support!

Today’s post is for any Spanish language learner, but I’m actually writing fro parents. Many parents tell me they want to learn Spanish with their kids (or teach it to them), but they’ve forgotten their high school Spanish or never studied it. If that’s you, this post was written with you in mind!

The secret to effective, communicative language lessons is focusing on high-frequency structures. One problem with mainstream textbooks and programs is that they teach by themes, and introduce by “difficulty.” This means you could go half a year in Spanish before learning how to express I have or I like. Many of you probably took classes like this. You might have “learned” the word scarf before you could express liking or having something.

 

Themes aren’t all bad. The problem is when you try to learn every word in a theme–like stepsister and great-grandfather— even if they are sort of obscure. You’ll probably just forget them!

Here’s the solution: zero in on the core of the language: common Spanish verbs and phrases. Learn just mom, dad, sister, brother, as a beginner. You’ll pick up more specific, less frequent terms later. 

And — when you learn high-frequency phrases– you’ll more quickly have access to authentic Spanish books, songs, and materials. Why? Because they’re more likely to show up, of course!

So instead of thinking in terms moving through a sequence of “difficulty” and boxed “themes,” think in terms of frequency: starting at the core, and slowing expanding outward to absorb less-common words. Begin with the words you need to be understood, as a beginner, and eventually you’ll be expressing yourself more precisely. 

 

 

 

If you are trying to self-educate a bit, here are some helpful links. None are as ideal and having a teacher, but you can use these resources at home, for free. 

Teach Yourself Spanish, with Free Online Resources

Load Up Podcasts in Spanish

Make a playlist of Songs that use High-Frequency Phrases

Order learner books like these examplesl(novels that use high-frequency words– made for teens, but fun reads!):

 

  

 

Now, let’s get started with our high-frequency lists! You can download all of them as a PDF by clicking below:

Spanish High Frequency Phrases and Verbs PDF

Spanish High Frequency Phrases and Verbs PNGs

Common Spanish Verbs

Spanish verbs are very complicated, especially if you set out to memorize all the endings and mathematical-like rules. You might be able to get them into your short-term memory that way, but here we are focusing on daily communication.

Instead, focus on what you want to say.Ser” (to be) is a messy verb. As you start out though, all you *really* need to know is how to express core phrases like is, I am, you are, etc. It’s how 2-year-olds begin, and reach fluency without knowing how to conjugate!

Here I’ve gathered 11 high-frequency verbs in Spanish, plus gustar (it’s essential when teaching kids.) I only included the he/she/it forms, along with I and you underneath. Eventually, you’ll acquire the forms for we, they, and you all, but these are the basics. When you are ready, the past tense forms are included as well. 

I made a Quizlet sets so you can access the pronunciation on each word:

Present Tense Verbs

 

Common Spanish Words

Here are some of the top Spanish words you’ll need to know as you get startedEspecially with words like these, memorizing them out of context is probably the slowest path to acquiring them. They are most memorable when read and heard in context.

But if you’re trying to work Spanish into your daily life, you’ll need to use these! First, you can see a list of core questions phrases. If you are teaching and reading books in Spanish with your kids, it’s very helpful to know how ask. Work them into daily life as you point out things during the day. 

For pronunciation help and clarification of use, here’s are Quizlet sets I’ve made:

Phrases for Parent and Families

Common Words / Question Words

This Quizlet set also uses most of the phrases I’ve shared

 

 

Common Spanish Phrases for Parents

 

If you would like to work some Spanish into daily routines and family life, here are some core phrases that you can post and begin to use right away. If you use phrases in context and attached to an action (Come here!), you’ll be amazed how much they stick!

 

More Lists

 

If you want more phrases, here are some more! I’m also sharing some Spanish-only lists, if that’s more helpful to you. 

 

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