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Beginner Spanish


    Beginner sessions are for those who have never had Spanish or had it many years ago, perhaps in high school or college. 

   You learn to read, speak and understand Spanish in a step-by-step process. Initial sessions focus on language fundamentals including alphabet, numbers, colors, days of week, and months of the year. Basic grammar and parts of speech are taught, which enables participants to focus on nouns, verbs and how to conjugate them, and other grammatical rules.  Throughout the sessions participants focus on pronunciation, reading, listening, and writing skills. 

   Beginners typically participate in multiple six-week sessions before moving to intermediate Spanish and where they study verb tenses other than present tense and other more advanced topics.

We are currently reassessing which books we use for this class. We will notify you as soon as we have completed our decision process about which book or books will be used in your class.

   Two books, listed below, are used for Beginner Spanish I, II, & III. You can purchase them from Amazon ($31.02 for both) or another source, or from the instructor on the first day of class. Or you can include the additional $31.02 as part of your payment (just let us know when you call with your credit card information) and we will have the books mailed directly to your home. It takes about 3 days after order placement for the books to be delivered.


  • Practice Makes Perfect Basic Spanish Third Edition (ISBN: 978-1260453492) Amazon Cost: $17.12 ($16 plus $1.12 tax)

  • Easy Spanish Reader 4th Edition by Tandy (ISBN: 978-1-260-46360-6) Amazon Cost: $13.90 ($12.99 plus $.91 tax)

    An example of how a participant might progress is as follows: 

Level 1: For new Spanish participants with little or no Spanish background, it is necessary to learn alphabet, rules of pronunciation, definite and indefinite articles, adjectives, interrogatives, cardinal numbers from one to 1-million, ordinal numbers and their usage, colors, conversational present-tense verbs, greetings and dialogs. Participants are introduced to the Spanish verbs “ser” and “estar” (which means "to be") and to basic listening, written, and oral exercises enabling them to gain basic conversational skills.

Levels 2 and 3: Subsequent sessions are designed to prepare learners for Intermediate Spanish. Topics include more practice with present-tense verbs, creation of written dialogs, more advanced oral, written, and listening activities. Participants also read a level 1 Spanish-language novel. New vocabulary includes review of basic and complex numbers (e.g. dates), days of the week, months, giving/receiving directions, discussing family relationships, and telling time and weather. Learners are taught how to engage in public using the Spanish language in scenarios such as ordering food at a restaurant, purchasing items in a store, and asking for directions.


   The instructor and participant make a mutual joint decision regarding when the learner should move to the intermediate level classes. 

Beginner Spanish
Outcomes & Topics
Beginner-level outcomes and associated topics to achieve them are included in the following sections. Topics are derived from beginner and intermediate Spanish Practice Makes Perfect books and other instructional resources.
Learners initially encounter a moderate level of spoken English in beginner-level classes, but over time Spanish is spoken more than English.
Duration: How many sessions/classes before moving to the intermediate level?
SW Florida Spanish offers seven six-week sessions per year, with at least a one-week break between sessions. Learners typically require five-to-seven sessions (30-to-42 classes) to learn the beginner-level topics and achieve the associated outcomes. 
At that point, learners are encouraged to enroll in intermediate Spanish in order to continue making progress. Beginner Spanish focuses on the present tense which is useful for traveling, shopping, and placing restaurant orders. But it does not provide instruction on speaking in past or future tenses (e.g. yesterday; last week; two years ago; next week), an essential conversational capability. For this reason, learners are encouraged to enroll in intermediate Spanish when they feel ready to do so.
Outcome & Topic List Uses
The topics list can be used by learners to self-assess their comfort-level with and understanding of each topic. Self-assessment results help instructors determine topics to include when they develop instructional plans.
Instructors use this information to develop lesson plans and track student progress.
Spanish beginner-level classes are designed to achieve the following outcomes. 
  • Comprehension: Has a basic level of listening, speaking, reading and writing skills. Understand basic phrases and how to ask and respond to questions in Spanish. Can introduce herself or himself, know how to greet people, and respond to basic questions such as, “How are you?”
  • Alphabet & Pronunciation: Can correctly say the Spanish alphabet; knows pronunciation rules, can correctly pronounce vowels & consonants and properly pronounce Spanish words.
  • Vocabulary: Able to say days of week, months, weather, seasons, numbers, time, dates, and colors. Has sufficient vocabulary to discuss parts of body, animals, family members, food, and professions. Familiar with a variety of everyday words such as con, en, mucho, el dinero, a, algo, siempre, más, a veces, cada, todo, también, al lado de.
  • Grammar: Recognizes and correctly uses noun gender and number. Knows basic set of adjectives and associated gender & number rules in their use. Recognize and correctly uses articles (definite and indefinite). Understands and uses subject pronouns and direct object pronouns.
  • Verbs:
    • Can conjugate & understand present tense regular -ar -er -ir verbs. Know and use a variety of frequently used present tense irregular and stem-changing verbs including tener, querer, ir, hacer, poder, saber, llegar, salir, conocer, and dar.
    • Understand and use challenging word pairs such as ser/estar, saber/conocer, and por & para. Understand and use hay and hace.
    • Recognize and use reflexive pronouns and conjugate and use the most common reflexive verbs.
  • Conversation: Has sufficient confidence to engage others in conversation at the basic level. Can discuss weather, tell time, express age, ask for and give directions, order food in restaurants, and indicate preferences (me gusta/no me gusta).


Since learners come into and leave the program at various times, the selection of materials for each class may involve repeated topics that are new for some students and a review for others.

Beginner Levels 1 and 2 (two sessions; 12 classes) 

1. Alphabet
2. Accent m
arks & pronunciation

3. Cognates (words that are similar in Spanish and English)

4. Numbers (cardinal)

5. Colors

6. Week days, months, & seasons

7. Overview: Parts of speech (nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, etc.)

8. Definite & indefinite articles

9. Noun gender (masculine/ feminine) & number (singular/plural)

10. Subject pronouns (yo, tú, el, ella, usted, nosotros, ellos, ellas, ustedes)

11. Adjectives

12. Spanish verb overview: subject pronouns, verb Infinitives & conjugation

13. Present tense verbs: Conjugating regular -ar -er -ir verbs

14. Introduce yourself & others, greet family & friends

15. Vocabulary:

  • family

  • in & around the house

  • animals

  • classroom

  • clothing

  • food & drink

Beginner Levels 3 and higher (three-to-five sessions; 18-to-30 classes)

16. Asking questions

17. Present tense verbs entirely irregular (ser, tener, estar, etc.)

18. Present tense verbs irregular in "yo" form

19. Present tense verbs irregular stem-changing (o > ue, e > ie, e > i)

20. Adverbs (-ly)

21. Two-verb constructions

22. Reflexive verbs

23. Gustar & verbs like gustar 

24. Para y por

25. Adjectives: possessive, comparative & demonstrative

26. Direct object pronouns (me, te, lo/la, nos, los/las)

27. Personal a

28. Age, weather, telling time, & measurements

29. Diphthongs (double-vowel pronunciation)

30. Spanish idioms

31. Dialog: Place order in a restaurant

32. Dialog: Ask for & give directions.

33. More vocabulary:

  • more clothing

  • sports & games

  • transportation modes

  • things to read

  • human body

  • in & around the house (more)

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