Lights, Camera, Spanish!
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  • Lights, Camera, Spanish!
  • Bill Van Patten, Michael Lesser, and Gregory Keating.
  • Published by: McGraw-Hill
  • Level: Intermediate
  • First Published in:

Lights, Camera, Spanish! takes a unique and innovative approach to language learning. The book comes with a DVD that students must watch and follow along with as they work with the book. As students watch the dramatic story line unfold, they will learn important grammar structures, new vocabulary, and get to practice their listening skills.

Review posted: 24/10/2013
Have you used this book?

Lights, Camera, Spanish is a book that takes an entirely unique approach to teaching Spanish. As many people know, soap operas and dramas are a big part of Latin American culture, since many native Spanish speakers grow up watching these dramas on television it would make perfect sense to use soap operas as a learning tool, wouldn’t it?

The Film

This book comes with a 90-minute movie (on DVD) that students follow as they work on the exercises in the book. The film tells the story of an American businessman who travels to Chile to take over a family-owned winery. The film has a number of colorful characters and the movie constantly takes unexpected twists which bring elements of suspense, tension and even romance to the story line. The pace of the actors’ speech is also not too quick, but also not “dumbed down” and slow; the typical intermediate student will have little to no problem understanding the dialogue. For those who struggle a bit more with listening comprehension the DVD comes with the option of turning on Spanish or English subtitles.

The Book

The book has a specific structure which helps students fully absorb and not just memorize the grammar and language structures used in the film. Each chapter focuses on a particular situation in the movie and the activities in each chapter are organized in a very specific way. In every chapter students will work on a “pre-viewing” section of activities to prepare them for the language structures they will encounter while watching a specific scene. After watching the scene one time, students must work on a section labeled “A primera vista” which focuses on grammar and vocabulary activities. After working on these exercises students are encouraged to watch the scene a second time and then work on the “A segunda vista” section where they must analyze the scene a bit closer and answer comprehension questions.

"Get swept up in the romance, danger, and intrigue when an American businessman goes to Chile to take over a family winery and instead falls in love. As he learns his life lessons, you start your own Spanish adventure" - Bill VanPatten (Author)

In my opinion the structure and teaching method that this book uses is very creative and effective. Not only are students watching an engaging and interesting movie while they are studying, but they are also getting a taste of how Spanish is used in a real life context. Many students may not realize this, but there is an overwhelming amount of information being presented in this book. This book is literally a Spanish crash course but because of how the content is organized and presented, it challenges students without overwhelming them.

Teachers may use this book with private students or large classes and they may also use this material along with other books or by itself. Independent students may also use this since even in the most challenging chapters there is no need to seek help from a teacher or tutor. I would highly recommend this book and DVD to intermediate level students who want to prepare themselves for the upper intermediate level. This book is also perfect for students who are thinking of travelling or who simply want to improve their listening and speaking skills.



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