||Apr 27, 2006 by World Languages Editorial Board
|| Enrique Yepes Páginas de Ayuda para Estudiantes de Español, provides a rich
resource for Spanish instruction for students and language educators. The
"Herramientas de español" has been designed as an extensive outline of essential
Spanish structures based on John Turner's "All the Spanish Grammar You Really
Need to Know." The site also links to other outstanding websites for
grammar tutorial drills, e.g. the Nelson and Arana sites.
In addition, the user will find a complete grammar guide for most of the
grammatical concepts of the Spanish language, a guide for use in writing, and a
writing style manual.
|| According to Yepes, the site is intended for students already familiar with most
of basic Spanish grammar to refine, practice and feel comfortable about
grammatical structures while striving for a more advanced level. The site also
serves as a reference for developing writing skills. The grammar explanations
and tutorials are also very useful for beginning language learners, who can
benefit from particular grammar drills and explanations specific to their level
in the L2 continuum.
|Target Student Population:
|| Spanish-language students demonstrating language skills at an intermediate to
high proficiency level. Beginning students can also be guided to use particular
materials. The site is also beneficial for Spanish-language educators as a
general review before teaching a grammatical concept.
|Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
|| Intermediate to high proficiency in speaking and writing skills, and comparable
|Type of Material:
|| Tutorial drills and reference material.
|| The materials are ideal for grammar explanations (a reference grammar guide)
followed by tutorial drills for practice in learning or reviewing grammatical
concepts. In addition, a writing style manual provides handy strategies and
reference tools for improving writing in Spanish.
|| Application of Flash, Java applets, and Adobe Acrobat for pdf files.
|| The site is divided into three major areas for grammar practice, a grammar
guide, and a writing style guide. In the Herramientas de español (Spanish
Tools), there is an impressive table of contents with 56 + grammar topics.
The modules are well written and learners can easily engage the practice
examples. All pages of the different modules are connected and easily
accessible with the click of the mouse. The designer of the site keeps the
material updated and learners who visit can select a single grammatical concept
by content as each is well identified. The modules follow Spanish grammar in a
chronological order from beginning to the more advanced. In addition, the user
can access the grammar topics by alphabetical order. The site's items can be
used as models for tests and quizzes.
The "Guia de gramática" web page includes the following items necesary for sound
writing and that are generally problematic for developing writers: Concordancia,
Tiempos verbales, Acentos, Infinitivo y gerundio, Demostrativos, Ser/ Estar,
Preposiciones, Voz pasiva, Género, Ortografía, El subjuntivo, y / o, and Pero/
The "guía de estilo" includes: 1)a list of troublesome English words that are
used incorrectly in writing. 2) "Estrategias para evitar la repetición de
palabras" and, 3) "Expresiones de orden y transición" for use in writing
expository texts, e.g., comparison and contrast, and cause and effect.
4)"Estructura" provides suggestions for paragraph construction, e.g.,
introductions audience, and conclusion.
|| Initially, the instructor may need to clarify for students how specific
buttons in the navigation bar link to specific pages within the site. Note that:
1) The "Libro de gramática" links to "Herramientas de español,
" which is the
Table of Contents. 2) The "Ejercicios de español" links to Página de ayuda
para el estudiante de español," which provides an alphabetical order of all
items. 3) The "Guía de gramática" links to "Guía para verificar la escritura
correcta," for writing the following items accurately: Concordancia
(Agreement), Tiempos verbales (Tenses), Acentos (Accents), Infinitivo y gerundio
(Infinitives and Gerunds), Demostrativos (Demonstratives), Ser/Estar,
Preposiciones (Prepositions), Voz pasiva (Passive Voice), Género (Gender),
Ortografía (Spelling Rules), El subjuntivo (Subjunctive), y/o (and/or), and
Pero/Sino (But/rather). 4)The "Guía de estilo" refers to "Guía para verificar
estilo corecto," which includes four areas of strategies and expressions for
developing writing skills.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
|| In the "Libro de gramática," otherwise known as "Herramientas de español,"
Yepes provides a grammatical explanation for each topic, followed by tutorial
exercises with immediate feedback. Many of the exercises include audio
listening practice. There is consistency with each of the topics presented,
e.g., explanations, drills, feedback. When the activity is successful, there
is a musical "accolade." With a click, instructions for doing the exercises can
be viewed in Spanish and English.
Yepes also provides further practice on the web by providing related links to
sites that deal with the same grammar topic, e.g. Learn Spanish site (www.
studyspanish.com). Most links refer to the exceptional sites authored by
Barbara K Nelson, Mathew D. Stroud, J.M, Soto Arriví, and Juan Ramon de Arana.
The "Libro de gramática" tutorials are presented in chronological order from
beginning to advanced levels of accuracy as found in most textbooks.
Instructors can select from the menu of topics related to the level of their
students' language proficiency. These materials can be easily integrated into
almost every lesson and assigned as homework at 100,
200 or even 300-level
The "Guia de gramática", also known as "Guía para verificar la escritura
correcta," for writing provides major help with basic problematic areas,
e.g., ser vs. estar or use of prepositions when developing writing. In the
section reviewing the use of prepositions, there is a direct link to an
appendix page that includes some common verbs requiring a preposition. An
instructor can create a great variety of written and oral tasks using this
preposition list alone.
The "guía de estilo" is divided into three parts: 1)a list of troublesome
English words that are used incorrectly in writing. In this area, there is a
direct link to a dictionary site (diccionarios.com) to reassure the user that
the meaning is the precise one that the writer wishes to use. 2) "Estrategias
para evitar la repetición de palabras" provides strategies for searching for
synonyms, employing pronouns and demonstratives, and uses for connecting
sentences. 3) "Expresiones de orden y transición" provides a great variety of
basic expressions for use in writing expository texts, e.g., comparison and
contrast, and cause and effect. 4) "Estructura" provides suggestions for
paragraph construction, e.g., introductions audience, and conclusion.
Yepes "Guia de gramática" and "guía de estilo" sections are a much needed
resource for developing writing at the paragraph or composition level. It is
beneficial in helping a writer develop narrations, descriptions, and expository
texts. Since these resources can be found in one locale, it serves as an
exemplary source for use in online and hybrid courses at 300 and above college
level courses, e.g.,
advance grammar and composition, and Spanish for Heritage
Speaker courses. One could develop a complete online course using this website
for the first four semesters of college Spanish, or for other comparable courses
The site provides for a variety of diverse and multiple exercises for in-class
or independent study learning. Learners will improve, understand and acquire
knowledge of most grammatical concepts and develop writing skills in Spanish.
The grammar tutorials can also be used for discrete-item testing in formative
types of assessment.
|| Instructors may need to guide the students to check for correct answers by
clicking for answers that appear in a Java applet.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
|| There is evidence throughout of excellent web design features, and application
of modern technology to the site. For example, the site is easy to navigate.
Top and bottom navigation links are consistent throughout. There is a site map
that assists clear and smooth navigation. The site is updated continuously, and
all links are maintained as active links. The use of colors is pleasant to the
eye good use is made of white space. Wherever necessary, color is used to help
words stand out, or to contrast one are from another. The webpage incorporates
a variety of technical formats, e.g., Flash, Java applets, and pdf files.
Sensitive to the use of correct accents and other diacritical marks, the author
has provided a link to a web page that guides the user to employ the computer
keyboard in creating these necessary Spanish-language characters.
Students will not have difficulty navigating the fifty six modules, review pages
or find seven appendices. This site does not require technical support beyond
basic computer skills.
|| The font size may be somewhat small for certain users. A larger font may be
necessary to accommodate learners with visual processing problems. However, the
design element is easily solved by increasing the text size when clicking on
|Other Issues and Comments:
|| This site is an excellent model for analyzing "best practices" in webdesign.
Because of this outstanding design, the site provides excellent and complete
access to Spanish grammatical concepts. Language learners dont need to search
other web pages to learn Spanish since this one stands alone. Instructors can
guide students to work independently and to bookmark the site for future
reference. When accessing Yepes' homepage, the user enters into the author's
personal life, as he shares many moments with his family and friends. Yepes
invites the visitor to his page to view a very hispanic/latino cultural