When you are learning Spanish there are so many things that you have to do on a daily basis: practice verb conjugations, study new vocabulary, read books or news papers, practice speaking with new people, etc. etc. Fortunately there is one really fun thing you can do that will really help you take your Spanish to the next level, watch movies!

Developing your aural skills is one of the most important things you must do when learning a language. That is, you must train your brain to interpret the words that people are saying to you. Each language has its own rhythm and cadence and Spanish is no exception. Unfortunately there is no magic bullet for developing your aural skills. It takes time and practice. That's where watching lots of Spanish movies and tv shows comes into play.

For all the time you put into actively learning (conjugating verbs, learning new vocabulary, etc.) you need to spend an equal amount of time passively learning. Passive learning means just immersing yourself in the language, and not focusing to hard on learning new words or phrases. When you watch a Spanish language movie you can choose how active or passive you are. If you are tired don't force yourself to study, just turn on the movie and enjoy!

Here are three important tips on how to get the most out of every movie you watch.

1. Watch movies with Spanish subtitles turned on. You never want to mix English subtitles with the movie, but having the subtitles in Spanish will make it easier for your brain to parse the words. You'll be surprised how quickly you start recognizing phrases and slang that would otherwise sound unintelligible once you have read and heard it at the same time.

As your Spanish improves gradually begin watching 10-15 minute sections of the movies without subtitles. Try to work your way up to watching a whole movie without subtitles after a couple of months.

2. Choose movies that you want to watch. Just because you are watching movies in a foreign language doesn't mean you have to watch "the classics". Just like in English there are Spanish language movies of all genres. Choose the ones you like. There are several good directories of movies in Spanish online.

3. Watch movies more than once. Repetition is key to improving your aural skills. This is another reason you need to choose movies you like! You should try watching the same movies several times. My personal preference is to watch a movie with Spanish subtitles turned on, and then watch the same movie 3-4 days later without subtitles. I find that this really helps me understand new phrases and colloquialisms much better.