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When teaching a language, listening and speaking skills should precede reading and comprehension skills. Writing skills should then follow so the second language learner can express himself using even short simple sentences even if he is unable to understand some of what he hears and reads. His reading skills will serve as good base for his writing, since he will imitate what he has learned. Written activities in the Spanish should focus on topics of interest which the student has read, discussed or experienced.
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The following written exercises centers around two popular topics of interest. The first one is a discussion about dinner. The second deals with writing a letter or email to book a hotel room.
Fill in the gaps in the following dialogs. Take your cues from the English phrases in brackets:
Amigo: Quieres un helado de postre? [Friend: Do you want an ice cream for dessert?]
1. Tú [You]: (Say you can’t eat anymore.)
Amigo: Pero te gusta el helado. [Friend: But you like ice cream.]
2. Tú: (Say you only eat desserts from time to time.)
Amigo: Oye, es tu cumpleaños. Come bien.Yo voy a tomar un helado. [Friend: Listen it’s your birthday. Eat! I’m going to have an ice cream.]
3. Tú: (Say Ok, as you wish. I’ll have an ice cream too.)
1. No puedo comer más.
2. Tomo postre de vez en cuando.
3. Bueno, como quieras. Voy a tomar un helado también.
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Students will practice drafting the body of a letter or an email to a hotel in another city to book rooms for certain number of people. Here is an example which they can change around regarding number of rooms, dates of arrival and departure time, facilities needed and length of stay:
Quisiera reservar dos habitaciones en su hotel para siete días a partir del tres de marzo. Necesito una habitación doble y una individual, las dos con cuarto de baño y teléfono. Espero llegar a su hotel sobre las cinco de la tarde del tres de marzo y saldremos por la mañana del día diez del mismo mes.
I would like to reserve two rooms in your hotel for seven days from March 3rd. I need one double room and one single room, both with bathroom and telephone. I hope to arrive at your hotel about 5 pm on March 3rd. and we shall leave on the morning of the 10th of the same month.
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These two exercises for written exercises in the Spanish classroom, can lead both teacher and students to brainstorm other ideas for other exercises related to interesting topics of everyday life.They can be quite effective in improving written skills.
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Source: Author's Own Experience