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Spanish Resources

Rocket Spanish
3.8 
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Rocket Spanish is a pretty good Spanish course, but it’s not my personal favorite. Although I find the lessons tend to be very boring, the content is well structured and fairly comprehensive. There is a good mixture of listening, speaking, grammar, and review activities.

Chatterbug
3.7 
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Chatterbug is a language learning platform designed with the aim of bringing together the convenience of digital learning apps and the value of one-on-one speaking practice. It was founded in 2016 and currently offers courses in German, Spanish, and French. Some of its features are available on iOS and Android; the full version is available for desktop.

Olly Richards 101 Conversations
3.7 
Price: Kindle books cost $0.99
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Olly Richards, the creator of I Will Teach You A Language, has written a series of books for beginner and intermediate learners to improve their conversation skills in several languages. He also has a Short Stories series, but this review focuses on 101 Conversations.

His 101 Conversations series has a beginner and intermediate book for every language, though both books are appropriate for level A2 on the CEFR scale. You will learn natural phrases that you can use in everyday conversation through following the story of six people. Each chapter has a dialogue between some of these characters, which you can engage with through the practical learning methods that Olly outlines at the beginning of each book. While the first chapter in the first book may have one-sentence exchanges, the characters get chattier and the grammar becomes more complex as you continue reading.

Overall, Olly’s 101 Conversations series is fun to follow, particularly because each book sets out to solve a mystery. They are less expensive than his Short Stories series, but also contain less content (there are no comprehension questions or summaries at the end of the chapters, but there are short vocabulary lists). Nevertheless, both are probably a good investment to advance your conversational Spanish abilities.

The current rating is our best estimate. We haven’t had the opportunity yet to more thoroughly evaluate this resource, as we do for our full reviews.

uTalk
3.7 
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uTalk is a software program and mobile app offering learning material in over 140 languages. Its approach is based on learning keywords and phrases through gameplay. It covers a wide range of phrases, each spoken by a female and male native speaker, consequently offering listening and pronunciation practice.

uTalk is most useful for beginners who want to get started in a language by learning key phrases. It could also be useful for intermediates looking to fill gaps in their vocabulary and pronunciation, but it does not offer any in-depth language instruction or grammar explanations.

DeerPlus
3.7 
Price: Freemium; $8.99/month, $35.99/year, $59.99/lifetime
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DeerPlus, also known as LingoDeer Plus, is a cute, gamified app from the makers of Lingodeer. It sets out to teach you words, phrases, and grammar through 11 different games, but it’s best used as a supplementary tool.

You’ll drill vocabulary, build phrases, select the right particles, decide if a sentence is grammatically correct or not, do conjugation exercises, answer listening comprehension questions, and more. What you won’t do is learn the material prior to being tested like you do with LingoDeer (review), DeerPlus’ sister app. 

DeerPlus is a fun supplementary tool that would work well alongside most resources, but especially LingoDeer. However, it’s a shame that there aren’t SRS features in what is essentially a review app.

A word of warning: you can study in a range of languages, but not all the games have been translated. We were shocked when we switched from studying Japanese via Spanish to Japanese via English and discovered grammar and “integrated” games in addition to the five vocabulary and phrase-based ones we had been playing.

The current rating is our best estimate. We haven’t had the opportunity yet to more thoroughly evaluate this resource, as we do for our full reviews.

Lingo Mastery Short Stories
3.7 
Price: Kindle Books cost $4.60
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Lingo Mastery provides 20 short stories in a series of advanced beginner books (about A2 on the CEFR scale) for various languages. Each book has a vocabulary list, reading comprehension questions, and a summary in both English and the target language.  

If your primary goal is to acquire new vocabulary, then Lingo Mastery’s Short Story series may be helpful to increase your skills. Each chapter has a specific language focus, such as directions, verbs, nouns, or activities. These stories have a considerable number of unique words, so you may find yourself referring to the vocabulary list more frequently than in other graded readers.

Keep in mind that the stories are not as engaging as a novel you might read in your native tongue, but the repetition is helpful to familiarize you with different concepts. Other graded readers, like those by Olly Richards, ESLC, and Mandarin Companion follow a single storyline — each chapter in Lingo Mastery, however, follows a separate storyline. Therefore, although the chapters are a manageable length, finishing one may not make you eager to move onto the next.

If you do decide to invest in these readers, make sure to buy the Kindle version, which is about 20% of the paperback price.

The current rating is our best estimate. We haven’t had the opportunity yet to more thoroughly evaluate this resource, as we do for our full reviews.

Speaky
3.7 
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Speaky is a social language-learning app for people interested in language exchange. It’s available for iOS, Android, and the web. Users can chat with other language learners, share photos, leave voice messages or even have voice calls. The basic features on Speaky are free to use, but access to more than five translations per day requires a subscription.

HiNative
3.7 
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HiNative is a Q&A app for language learners that want to have questions answered by native speakers. It’s available for iOS, Android and desktop, and it has over three million registered users. A free version is available that offers the basic features of the app.

A.C. Quintero
3.6 
Price: Books range from $4.03 - $8.00
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A.C. Quintero has written a series of Spanish graded readers for beginners. Most of the books focus on adventures beyond the everyday norm, which may appeal to mystery lovers.

Each book’s language level is not clearly identified, but there seem to be four main books for beginners that gradually increase in difficulty: Las Apariencias Engañan (300 unique words), El Escape (350 unique words), El Armario (400 unique words), and Las Sombras (500 Unique words). Two other books (Las apariencias engañan and El Último Viaje) have unidentified reading levels, but you can read a sample on Amazon to see if they are appropriate for you.

A.C. Quintero’s books seem to be effective at helping you review basic concepts, and each book adds a manageable number of new words to increase your vocabulary. They probably aren’t as engaging as the Read It! Or ESLC series, which retell famous plots in simplified Spanish, but A.C. Quintero’s storylines seem to carry more emotion and complexity than those of Paco Ardit or Lingo Mastery.

The current rating is our best estimate. We haven’t had the opportunity yet to more thoroughly evaluate this resource, as we do for our full reviews.

Altissia
3.6 
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Altissia is a language learning platform developed by academics at the Catholic University of Louvain-La-Neuve in Belgium. The creators emphasize a humanistic vision, believing that people are at the centre of everything we do and that language empowers us.

A monthly plan gives you access to their unique platform, a social network, virtual classrooms, and professional modules. You can choose lessons that are most applicable to your learning goals and watch videos of native speakers interacting in realistic situations.

The courses will help you improve your pronunciation through recording your voice and comparing it to that of native speakers, improve your spelling through dictations, improve your listening comprehension through different exercises, and learn grammar through progressive exercises. Each month you can take a placement test to see where you stand on the CEFR scale (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages).

There does not seem to be a Spaced Repetition System within the program, but they have an interactive dictionary to help you review.

The publicity videos and webpage have a modern feel, but it seems like some of the content within the platform may date back several years. Additionally, it is very expensive compared to other products that offer similar content.

The current rating is our best estimate. We haven’t had the opportunity yet to more thoroughly evaluate this resource, as we do for our full reviews.