7 Tips to help teenagers learn a 2nd language

While younger children tend to have a natural affinity for learning a new language, teens tend to be the ones who most need language acquisition to be meaningful for it to be successful. And what better way to make it meaningful, than by putting teens into situations where they are forced to use the language they are acquiring?

1. Read comic books together

Our daughter is all over dystopian future novels, in English. But she is less interested in reading chapter books in French or Spanish. Comic books are easier to read. “Les Légendaires” is a great French comic book series that she got hooked on.

2. Get the Fifa video game in French

If your teen likes soccer, purchasing his or her favorite video game in another language s a great way to practice listening skills. I happen to like Fifa 2018, because there are many play-by-play comments, great for developing listening skills and vocabulary.

3. Plan summer camp abroad

Our nephew from Spain is spending 2 weeks with us in the US this year. 1 week of outdoor summer camp is the best way to make new friends and practice the 2nd language.

4. Whatsapp group in Spanish

We have whatsapp groups with our families in Spain and France. Sharing updates and reacting to pictures is a fun way for Elena to write and read in Spanish.

5. Watch the 2018 World Cup games in another language

“GOOOOAAAALLLL”. Watching the games with commentators from Latin America is so much more exciting. With live streaming of games, you can watch almost any soccer game in a 2nd language.

6. Support a charity

We signed up Elena and Pablo for “Ayuda en Accion”. It is a penpal program that includes an annual contribution to help pay for school supplies for a child who is studying in a rural area of Ecuador. Our kids exchange short letters in Spanish.

7. Music, music, music

Despacito anyone? Probably the song that most helped teenagers practice their Spanish in 2017. While I drive, I like to put Joe Dassin, Claude François or Dalida in French. Old fashioned 70s music, but our 13-year old Elena is now used to it and sings along.

If you have other tips to help teenagers practice a 2nd language, please share them here!