This post comes from one of our Spanish tutors, Claire Hammond. This guide provides a list of useful A Level Spanish resources to help students maintain their learning over the summer months.
Keep your Spanish learning up during the summer. Below I have designed a summer study Spanish guide to help prepare you for Year 12 or 13. Research an aspect of Hispanic culture that you are curious about and find out more.
Here are some ideas to get you started thinking about an area of Hispanic culture or society that you would like to learn more about:
Examples of Historical Characters/Intellectuals:
Gabriel García Márquez, Colombian novelist and journalist.
Rosa Montero, Spanish journalist and El País newspaper columnist.
Mario Vargas Llosa, Peruvian novelist and essay writer.
Pablo Neruda, Chilean poet.
Federico García Lorca, Spanish poet.
Eduardo Galeano, Uruguayan writer, novelist and journalist.
Examples of Interesting Historical/Political Topics:
Spain - Franco/ The dictatorship,The transition, Democracy, the ‘pacto del olvido’/ The Basque Conflict and ETA/ Catalonia, Puigdemont and the independence referendum/ Pedro Sánchez and the PSOE/ Aznar and the Madrid Terrorist bombings/ The anti-austerity movement – ‘15-M’/ The role of the Catholic Church in Spain/ Surrealist Art of Dali and Picasso/ Madrid culture post Franco “La Movida Madrileña” /The second republic in Spain/ The changing role of the Royal Family. / The rise of new political parties Vox/Podemos/Ciudadanos/ El Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage.
Latin-America - The disappeared in Argentina/ Pinochet’s Chile/The Zapatistas in Mexico/ Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution/ Indigenous rights in Chile and Bolivia/ Hurricane Mitch and the Havana Latin-American School of Medicine/ The “Plan Colombia” war on drugs by the US/ Afro-Colombians/ Chile, a successful democracy and its growing economy/ The Mexican Revolution and Porfirio Díaz/ Femicide in Latin-America/ The Chavez years in Venezuela/ The Maduro crisis in Venezuela.
Here are Some Sources to Help Your Research:
Use the following sources and look into contemporary topics you are interested in (make sure that the majority of them are in Spanish).
- http://www.rtve.es – contains news articles, video clips and TV programmes in Spanish
- Vertaal : http://www.ver-taal.com
- es.wikipedia.org (I know you’re discouraged from using it but it’s pretty good as a PRELIMINARY source as long as you follow through with better sources)
- El Pais online : https://elpais.com
- El Mundo online : https://www.elmundo.es
- BBC : http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/spanish/tv/onlinenews.shtml
These are in English but could start you off thinking about something
- https://www.theguardian.com/world/americas (this will also include content on non-Spanish speaking countries, e.g. Brazil and Canada), so make sure that you focus on a Spanish-speaking country!
Examples of Films and Documentaries About Spain and Latin-America
Over the summer try and watch some films or documentaries in Spanish and try the following activities.
1) Listen and match the subtitles in English to the Spanish.
2) Watch the film and write down all the words that you understand in a scene.
3) Pause the film and describe the scene in Spanish, or what has just happened.
4) Listen to a scene in the film without watching and then watch it again with subtitles to see how much you understood.
5) Watch the film and make notes in English (or Spanish).
- ‘No’: (Chile. Pinochet's government.young people and politics, monarchies and dictatorships, protests and demonstrations)
- ‘Diarios de motocicleta’:
- Cuba, Argentina, Bolivia. Che Guevara when he was young. The influence of famous people, immigration; young people and politics, monarchies and dictatorships.)
- ‘También la lluvia’: (Spain, Bolivia. Cultural Heritage, young people and politics, protests and demonstrations.)
- ‘Maria llena eres de gracia’:
- (Colombia/United States. Immigration, drug trafficking)
- ‘Volver’: (Spain, family values)
- ‘Las 13 rosas’: (Spain. Franco, la guerra civil and the role of women)
To watch documentaries go to http://www.rtve.es/.
Here are some short clips for some summer listening:
- Extremadura. Un rapero por la dehesa extremeña.
- Calor, deporte y mucha fiesta en la semana grande de Bilbao
- La fuerza de la mariposa- El Padre Ángel.
- La obra de un pueblo.
Spanish Books for You to Read
Federico García Lorca - La casa de Bernarda Alba
Gabriel García Márquez - Crónica de una muerte anunciada
Laura Esquivel - Como agua para chocolate
Ramón J. Sender - Réquiem por un campesino español
Carlos Ruiz Zafón- La sombra del viento
Isabel Allende- La casa de los espíritus
Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer - Rimas
Fernando Fernán-Gómez Las bicicletas son para el verano
Luis de Castresana - El otro árbol de Guernica
Gabriel García Márquez - El coronel no tiene quien le escribe
You can find some of these books in the school library. Otherwise, why not take a trip Foyles bookshop where there is a whole floor just for languages, they don’t mind you browsing. Foyles, 107 Charing Cross Road, London, WC2H 0DT
Claire Hammond is a Spanish tutor in Hackney. She is a fully-qualified teacher and has a Degree and P.G.C.E in Modern Languages. She has over 10 years teaching experience in Highgate, Camden and Islington and provides GCSE and A Level preparation as well as conversation classes.