Finding credible resources for language learning can be difficult and time-consuming, but don’t worry…I’m here to help! Welcome to a new Don Quichotte blog series called The Best Resources. Every month, I’ll bring you trusted and reliable apps, courses, books and more.
The series kicks off with one of the most popular languages among learners everywhere: Español!
In a Hurry? Get These By Email!
I’ve put all of my top Spanish resources plus 5 more indie tips into a handy PDF page so you can access everything from one page. Get it for free by singing up to the Fluent Cool Kids Club, my huge online library full of awesome bonus content.
Insider Info Comin’ Right Up..
Here at Fluent Language, I love supporting independent language producers. So my indie Top 9 means that these resources are not part of a big corporation or brand of language businesses. They’re insider tips that you might have not discovered otherwise.
There has never been a better time to learn Spanish, and with these 9 indie resources you’ll be using the language comfortably in no time.
1. Fluent Spanish Academy
My friend Olly Richards is fluent in a whole bunch of languages, but I’m never more impressed than when he speaks Spanish. ¡Que sexy! Olly knows what it takes to become confident, and he knows that being stuck on “intermediate” can be frustrating.
He runs Fluent Spanish Academy, a programme designed to guide you through the plateau and into language fluency. His programme includes:
- Live training and weekly audio Spanish lessons to take with you wherever you want
- Real recordings of conversations between native Spanish speakers, plus transcripts
- Engaging short stories
- A private online community for his Spanish Academy members
- Motivating monthly challenges where you can work with other members
There is currently a waiting list to join the Fluent Spanish Academy, however Olly offers free samples of their material while you wait for your place.
Easy Spanish have numerous videos that help you learn 100% authentic and natural Spanish. Created by polyglot favourite Easy Languages, the videos offer a mix of language and culture by chatting to people on the streets about certain aspects of their culture or language.
It’s informal, it’s not very time-consuming – each video is less than 10 minutes, perfect to cram in as a working break between your studies. And most importantly it’s fun and fulfils that wonderful language learning motivation: wanting to hear from real people who live somewhere else!
3. XKCD (Comic En Español)
Randall Munroe’s beloved XKCD webcomic has a global following, so much so that the community of fans decided to create a Spanish version! XKCD en español is available for all strips that the translators found “translatable”, and there’s enough to keep you going for days and days.
Another perfect study break, or try adding XKCD it into your daily routine. Reading one comic strip a day won’t make you fluent, but it will get you used to seeing and reading written Spanish, and these short strips fit into the busiest of days.
When I ask Spanish learners for their online favourites, one resource that was always mention is StudySpanish.com. This site offers Spanish courses for three different levels: beginner, intermediate, and advanced.
StudySpanish has been around since 1988, when it was a pioneer in educational websites. They have two different membership levels, one of which is free! Don’t worry, the site’s design is not stuck in 1988 and I found it inviting and easy to navigate.
5. Madrigal’s Magic Key to Spanish
Margarita Madrigal’s textbook on how to learn to read, write, and speak Spanish in only a few short weeks with her proven method has become something of a cult classic as far as language books go. Madrigal’s Magic Key to Spanish begins by teaching you the past tense since this is the tense we use when we tell stories, and telling stories is a lot more interesting than repetitive sentences introducing ourselves.
The book’s approach is focused on communication, so you’ll get most out of this for boosting the speaking skill. Serious students will do well to support this with a grammar book.
The book was originally published in 1953 and is still praised today, more than 60 years later! A must-have for keen learners.
Language Transfer is a platform providing language courses for free in podcast and PDF-form. Project costs are funded through a voting campaign and occasional donations from users. The founder, Mihalis Eleftheriou, works with native speaker volunteers that he sources from the users of LT. The courses are user-funded and users can vote with a small sum of money to decide on the language or level of the next course. They have a complete Spanish course just waiting for you to get listening!
El Blog para Aprender Español, written in Spanish with the occasional English translation or guideline, offers free materials for download to use to practice your Spanish. The blog is run by Raquel and María, both Spanish ELE teachers from Madrid with experience from classrooms across Europe.
El Blog offers you everything from an insight into Spanish culture and life in Spain to basic grammar lessons. And if you like these two ladies, you can book them for one-to-one Skype Spanish lessons.
Hiring a tutor is one of the best investments you can make. Getting a professional tutor can make the difference between “Una cerveza, por favor” and true, authentic communication.
PractiSpanish is a tutoring site created by Lucía, Sonia and José, three experienced and certified Spanish tutors. The website was born out of what they viewed as the most important thing that Spanish students need: a place to practice and apply all the theoretical knowledge available.
These guys are different from giant directories like italki because they are obsessed with encouraging our students to “refresh” their Spanish brain cells between the sessions: replying to emails in Spanish, writing feedback, recommending new Spanish songs, suggesting not to wash the dishes unless there is a Spanish radio or TV channel playing, etc.
If you want creative and enthusiastic Spanish tutors, PractiSpanish is an option you must not miss.
9. Say Something in Spanish
I am a HUGE fan of Say Something in Welsh, so imagine my excitement when I found out about their Say Something in Spanish range!
Say Something In Spanish’s system is simple: they say something in English, you say it in Spanish, and then you hear it twice in Spanish.
By turning language learning into a game of words, SSI allows you to explore a new language without the pressure of instant perfection. SSI started out with a very successful Welsh version of their language course, and their Spanish version is just as good.
Try a sample and Say Something in Spanish immediately on this sample page.
Do You Want Even More Insider Tips for Learning SI’ve put all of the above Spanish resources plus 5 more indie resources into a handy PDF page so you can access everything from one page. Get it for free by singing up to the Fluent Cool Kids Club, my huge online library full of awesome bonus content.panish?