A host of commercially available Foreign Language home study products employ The Comprehension Approach to teach a level of proficiency in the target language. The Comprehension Approach allows for that “period of silence" that all of us went through when learning our native language as children. This is the time period when we learn functional vocabulary and core grammar.
"The child trying to learn Spanish will go through a period of listening intensely to thousands of repetitions of the target language. He will not speak much—he will just listen. During this “period of silence, ” the child does almost no repeating but only listens to the sounds of the language and the meaning of the words. He sees pictures and actions associated with words and sentences. This is how children learn vocabulary and functional grammar.
Then one day, after the “period of silence”—poof—he starts talking and he has largely conquered the basics of the new language. It seems fast and easy as we adults observe it but it is only the natural and fluid manner by which we all acquired our first language. "
These Spanish home-study courses imitate this process. The same dynamics involved in language acquisition of your native language as a child are at work in second language acquisition in a child or adult. In other words, the same mechanism needs to be working in order for you to acquire a second language-"The Period of Silence. "
The Comprehension Approach, utilizing a host of methods, is probably the best way to induce second language acquisition. This method uses the following:
a.before learners are taught to speak, there should be a period of training in listening comprehension;
b.comprehension should be taught by teaching learners to understand meaning in the target language;
c. the learners’ level of comprehension should always exceed their ability to produce language;
d. productive language skills will emerge more naturally when learners have well-developed comprehension skills;
e. such an approach reflects how children learn their first language.
An additional course I've recently discovered online, on that is FREE, is the “Destinos: An Introduction to Spanish. "(Google this entire phrase)
This high quality video program is clever, professionally done, easy to follow, and meets the need for true immersion in Spanish for your Period of Silence. The best part is that it is FREE!
I am going through this course now and it is great! The second course, which I used when I began my Spanish Learning adventure, is “The Learnables. " Try goggling Learnables Spanish for the company's website and information.
Learning Spanish Has Never Been Easier!