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Spanish Resources

Wordreference
4.5 
Price: Free
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WordReference is one of the best websites for single-word translations. It uses a combination of its own dictionaries and Collins’, depending on the language, and relies on professional translations rather than machine-translations. With each word you look up, you will receive multiple examples of how to use it, nuances of each meaning, and a list of how to incorporate it into multiple phrases. Whereas sites like Bab.la seem to have machine-translated examples that sound quite random at times, WordReference’s examples can be applied directly to your everyday conversation.

You can also find conjugation tables and the Collins COBUILD English Usage dictionary, which shows you how to use individual English words correctly — through its explanations, English learners will be able to differentiate between words that are easily confused (such as ‘current’ and ‘currant’). If the explanations don’t make sense, you can ask questions in the WordReference Language Forum — there you will find an active community of language learners discussing language learning topics.

Unfortunately, not all words have audio pronunciation, but those that do can be played back at different speeds and with different accents (depending on the language).

Although WordReference is a thorough resource, SpanishDict is probably a better option for Spanish learners, and Pleco is the only dictionary you will ever need for Chinese. Linguee is also similar to WordReference but specializes in formal language, and Forvo has millions of words pronounced by native speakers in hundreds of languages.

The rating is our best guess, but we haven’t yet had the opportunity to fully test and review this resource.

SpanishVIP
4.5 
Price: Starting at $49/month
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SpanishVIP is a service that connects students and teachers of Spanish for online video lessons. It offers an “unlimited lessons” model for a monthly subscription and could be extremely cost effective for learners that take several lessons per week.

It’s best suited for learners of Latin American Spanish at any level that want to improve their listening and speaking skills. It might not be the best fit if you’re mostly interested in Iberian Spanish or if you live in an Asian time zone.

italki
4.5 
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italki is the most flexible and affordable place to find a tutor for the language you’re learning. They have a huge number of teachers offering classes to students of over 100 different languages. As a learner, you’ll be able to find a tutor that best fits your learning style, schedule, and personality. Teachers are able to set their own prices and make their own schedule.

Spanishland
4.5 
Price: Freemium, Premium subscriptions start at $47/mo
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Spanishland school has both free and paid resources to help intermediate and advanced learners advance their Spanish.

The paid Parcero membership creates an environment that encourages perseverance, routine, and structure. It is a monthly program that provides 2 activities per week, a one-hour live class, a one-hour recorded class, videos, audio recordings, articles, movies, worksheets, quizzes, cheat sheets, and the ability to ask questions at any time. The community forum on the Parecero platform allows you to interact with other parceros, take part in challenges, participate in contests, and share tips. For those who have 2-3 hours per week to dedicate to their Spanish studies, taking part in this community could help maintain motivation and structure.

Their free content includes two different types of podcasts that are 99% in Spanish: 10 minute grammar episodes with a native speaker speaking at a slightly slower than natural speed, or 30 minute conversation episodes at a relatively natural speed but with both a native speaker and a Spanish learner. For new vocabulary and grammar with more English explanations, you can check out their Youtube Channel.

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.

ESLC Short Novels For Beginners
4.5 
Price: Kindle Books range from $2.28 - $3.10
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The Easy Spanish Learning Centre, with Álvaro Parra Pinto, edits, simplifies, and translates well-known stories into Spanish for upper beginner learners (perhaps at the A2 level on the CEFR scale). The workbook series includes ten volumes of about 120 pages each, following stories such as The Canterville Ghost, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, The Picture of Dorian Gray and Gulliver’s Travels. 

The stories are engaging and will help you improve your reading abilities. At the end of each chapter, there are vocabulary lists (with some questionable English translations) and a variety of exercises to test your reading comprehension — and, if you go to the ESLC website link at the beginning of the book, you can get a free ebook with some tips on effective reading techniques.

The dialogues use a noticeable number of exclamation points, which may be distracting at times, but this is more of a stylistic quirk rather than a pedagogical disadvantage. Overall the ESLC Short Novels provide over a thousand pages of engaging material for advanced beginners to start reading in Spanish.

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.

Readlang
4.5 
Price: Freemium, Premium subscriptions start at $5/mo
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With Readlang as your Google Chrome Extension, you can have instant translations for words or sentences in over 45 languages at the tip of your mouse cursor (or fingertip)! Browse the internet and effortlessly click on unknown words to get a translation that stays on your screen until it is no longer needed.

If you can’t find anything to read on the internet, you can access a bank of public texts organized by word count and difficulty, browse the most popular websites for Readlang users, or upload your own text to study.

The best part is, Readlang will collect flashcards for you from words you have translated. It will only record the most useful words for you to practice based on word frequency lists, which could be either a pro or a con depending on your study goals. The flashcards follow a Spaced Repetition System that will prompt you to study words based on the natural forgetting curve, so you will be quizzed on the words you are about to forget. Each flashcard also includes audio pronunciation and the sentence from which the word was taken for reference. You can choose to reveal the flashcard to check your comprehension, or type in your response for more effective recall.

The free version provides enough for an average user, but upgrading to an affordable premium membership both supports this awesome resource and allows for unlimited phrase translations. Although there may be some problems with translations in beta languages, and sometimes it fails to recognize text, overall Readlang is an excellent resource for language lovers.

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.

HelloTalk
4.5 
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HelloTalk is a mobile app for language learners interested in language exchange. It facilitates communication between native speakers and those learning their language with the use of built-in language tools. It also offers audio lessons in 10 languages as part of a separate subscription.

Baselang
4.5 
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Baselang offers unlimited Spanish classes for $149/month. It’s much more than just a tutoring service though as they also have an excellent curriculum, along with elective lessons and assessments. I was really impressed with Baselang. Anyone with enough time and money to fully utilize the service should strongly consider using it.

gospanish
4.3 
Price: Paid plans start at $35/mo
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You can sign up for Go Spanish for 5 days free without providing any credit card information, giving you access to unlimited small group classes that start every hour. Without having to register in advance, you can find yourself in an online class with about 4 other students in a couple clicks, risk free! If you would like lessons in a 1-on-1 setting, you can add either 2 or 4 lessons to your monthly plan, or register for an 8 week crash course.

On one hand, the theme of each class is set beforehand and the tutor’s attention will be divided among multiple students; on the other hand, Go Spanish is mind bogglingly affordable compared to other services, especially with the yearly plan. The tutors seem to be located in Argentina, but you can probably adapt the pronouns you use in class based on what you would like to practice.

If you’re interested in unlimited 1-on-1 classes, check out our review of Baselang.

Go Spanish was created by Yabla, a language-learning platform that helps you learn through videos with interactive subtitles and games.

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.

Juan Fernández Graded Readers
4.3 
Price: Kindle books range from $3.06 - $3.94
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Juan Fernández used to teach Spanish at University College London and has written a series of graded Spanish readers for A1 – B2 learners. He is also the author of the podcast, Español con Juan.

Unlike other graded readers, the A1 book doesn’t throw you directly into a story. Instead, it starts out with a list of basic sentences that gradually repeat with increased complexity until they turn into a story in the later chapters. Although this may seem repetitive at first, it seems like an effective way to incrementally expand and reinforce your vocabulary. This technique sets you up for success in future reading endeavours by helping you master the basics through repetition. The A2 – B2 books maintain the same level of repetition to reinforce new, level-appropriate words. You can find extra material for these books on his website here.

Overall, Juan Fernández’s books are one of the few series that has a book for true A1 learners. If you have little background in Spanish, you can still follow along and gradually move onto the more advanced books in the series. Nevertheless, the graded reader series by ESLC or Read It! may be a better option for upper beginners who want something that resembles a book that you might read in your native language.

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.