As of August 2020, this is my new favorite way to learn Spanish. I have read numerous Spanish textbooks. It’s what I do. I am always looking for a better, faster way to learn languages. Of all I have read, Madrigal’s Magic Key to Spanish may actually be what it claims to be… the Magical Key to Spanish. I am very, very impressed with this book. The explanations are so simple, and so clear. See my full review here: https://dwanethomas.com/madrigals-magic-key-to-spanish/
I have been looking forever for something like Hans Ørberg’s Lingua Latina… for Spanish. THIS is the book Hans Ørberg himself recommended while he was still living. So far, I am moderately happy with it. I continue to look for something else. Meanwhile, this is the book I am using in all of my Spanish classes.
If you are tired of plowing thorugh Spanish grammar books, and want a different approach, you may enjoy Spanish Through Pictures. I have a couple of old, torn up copies I found at either a yard sale, or in an old bookstore. This link (Spanish Through Pictures) will send you to a reprinted copy on Amazon.com. Evidently, someone has already filled in some of the answers to the questions in the latter half of the book. That’s ok. The real value is in the pictoral approach to learning Spanish.
Ignore the picture. I know it says Spanish Through Pictures Book 1… but, I made sure. It’s book 2. This book, naturally, picks up where Book 1 leaves off. If I could figure out how to use this book online, I would. I really like this series. But, honestly, you really don’t need a teacher with this series. It’s designed for self-study.
I really enjoyed reading this book. It is divided into three parts. With an emphasis on reading, the first part is pretty simple. It’s a story about a couple of school kids as they work their way through a typical high-school day. The second part, a little more difficult, is the story of the Spanish conquest of Mexico, and the third part, quite challenging, is a traditional Spanish folk tale.
Well worth your time, this is a great way to advance your understanding of the Spanish language.
Almost as soon as you begin learning, I recommend listening to the New Testament in Spanish. Don’t worry about understanding. Understanding will come. Listen to get used to the sounds of Spanish. This is a fantastic, and free way to listen to Spanish for hours. This version even includes video with the audio: https://live.bible.is/bible/SPANVI/MAT/1
This is a non-dramatized reading of the New Testament in Spanish. https://live.bible.is/bible/SPAR60/MAT/1
This is a dramatized reading of the New Testament in Spanish. There are different voices for each character. Unfortunately, there is some strange music playing in the background throughout the recording… and, quite often, the music does not match the mood of the story. Here is the link: https://live.bible.is/bible/SPAR95/MAT/1
Honestly, you could probably find a used copy of the Bible in Spanish at a local Goodwill/Thrift store. However, if you are having trouble finding one, or if would like to read in Spanish and English at the same time, you may find this side by side Spanish/English Bible helpful.
Ana is one of my Favorite YouTube Spanish teachers. She covers all of the basics and more, and all of her videos are free on YouTube! If you become a fan, and you want to support her, you can drop by her site and donate to her right here: https://www.butterflyspanish.com/.
Her YouTube playlist is here: https://www.youtube.com/c/ButterflySpanish/playlists
Great for beginners and beyond.
SuperHolly is another of my favorite online Spanish teachers. She has lots of videos on YouTube as well. Her dad was an archeologist and she spent a lot of time in Central America. Her skills in Spanish are unbelievable. She speaks fast. You may need to wait until you are intermediate or advanced before you start watching her.
The Extra series is pretty funny. Unfortunately, it can be mildly inappropriate at times, but nothing major. I would give it a PG, maybe PG-13 rating. All in all, this is a really fun way to review what you have learned once you reach an upper beginner/intermediate level.
This video instructional series for high school classrooms and adult learners teaches Spanish speaking and listening skills.
This series is dated, that’s for sure. But, the storyline is good… and, if you are here to learn Spanish, this series is worth your time.
One of the challenges with Spanish is the speed. Spanish speakers really do talk fast.
In this series, the speakers speak slowly and clearly.
There are currently four seasons of Buena Gente and hopefully more to come. This series is super helpful and is very well done!
I read as much as I can in Spanish. But, reading can only go so far. To speak the language, you are going to need something to imitate. This is one of the best recordings I have found to imitate as I continue to learn this beautiful language.
I’ve been listening to the Coffee Break series for years. Italian, Spanish, French, German and more.
This is a really impressive, professionally developed and recorded product.
Their work is impressive. I would simply start with the free podcasts and level up to a paid subscription only if you decide you really want to master the language.
As of 2021, I have to add a warning. It’s disappointing, but the series has added paid advertising, and the advertisements often push disturbing advertisements (horror podcasts, for example) as well as advertisements promoting far-left ideas and lifestyles. Honestly, it’s enough for me to reconsider recommending the Coffee Break series.
DuoLingo has changed quite a bit over the years. I am no longer as eager to recommend it as I once was. I still use it, but only sporadically. Like so many things online it has been “improved” and the improvements have made it cumbersome. That’s just my opinion, of course. After all, millions of people all over the world use it every day. This is a great, free way to practice French pronunciation (and the pronunciations of many other languages as well).
As of 2021, I have to add a warning. It’s disappointing, but DuoLingo is now promoting far-left ideas and lifestyles. Honestly, it’s enough for me to reconsider recommending DuoLingo.
I still use it, but I avoid the podcast.
These guys get it. They understand that those of us studying Spanish need to spend some time listening to Spanish speakers speaking s-l-o-w-l-y. And, that is just how they have set up their videos. I have found their site extremely helpful.
If you want to listen to Spanish at a speed you can keep up with, start here. There are many, many videos to get you started.
As far as I can tell, Audible provides some free foreign language reading via Audible Stories. It appears there are stories and fables available in multiple languages. I have tried this site with Spanish and it has worked. There is a lot here… in Spanish, German, French, and more!
Scholastic has turned many classic books into little cartoons.
Here, you can watch them in English, Spanish, and even Mandarin.
Here you can read famous fables and stories (there are about a dozen of them on this site) in Spanish, French, German, Italian and English.
It looks as though the stories are free to read, and are available as audio stories with a paid membership.
On this site, Unite for Literacy, you can read (and listen to) many books in English and Spanish… for free.
Not great literature, but if you are just starting out in Spanish, or if you are trying to learn new words in a subject unfamiliar to you, then check out Unite for Literacy.