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.
ESLC Short Novels For Beginners
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.
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. If you read on the Readlang website, you can see words that you have previously translated highlighted across every text.
Readlang collects SRS flashcards for you from words that 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. Each flashcard also includes audio pronunciation and the sentence from which the word was taken. 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 the casual user, but upgrading to an affordable premium membership allows unlimited phrase translations and unknown word highlighting across texts. 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.
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 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.
Juan Fernández Graded Readers
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.
1001 Reasons to Learn Spanish
Juan Fernández used to teach Spanish at University College London and has since developed his blog, 1001 Reasons to Learn Spanish. This website offers activities, courses, additional material for his graded reader series, and his podcast, Español con Juan. You will also find videos from his YouTube channel incorporated into various grammar and vocabulary activities. All of his resources are entirely in Spanish, but they support beginner to advanced learners.
Juan is an animated teacher who uses props and gestures in his YouTube videos to increase understanding. In his podcasts, he speaks at a relatively natural speed and includes a full transcript of each episode. His recordings from his home have a better sound quality and are more structured than those that are recorded while he is out walking.
His free course on improving Spanish in 30 days supports upper A2 learners to improve their Spanish and prepare for the B1 level. It is designed to encourage 20-30 minutes of study per day and provides vocabulary and grammar in context. There are videos, grammar explanations, and quizzes, and the content difficulty increases weekly.
Overall, Juan seems dedicated to improving his viewer’s Spanish, and his years of experience as a Spanish teacher shows in the quality of his material.
Read It! has published a handful of graded Spanish readers for A1 and A2 learners. These readers are more advanced than the A1 and A2 readers by Paco Ardit or Juan Fernandez, so you may want to have a basic understanding of the imperfect and past perfect tense before diving in.
You can be sure that Read It! has engaging storylines, as they are all simplified versions of famous novels, including Sherlock Holmes, El Quijote, Moby Dick, and Journey to the Center of the Earth. For the most part, the writing seems to flow naturally — you will probably forget that you are reading to learn Spanish as you become immersed in the story.
Read It! does not have a vocabulary list or reading comprehension questions at any point during the books. If you are looking for these tools to accompany your studies, check out the Spanish books by ESLC, Olly Richards, Juan Fernandez, and María Danader.
Overall, Read It! is an enjoyable series with which you can confidently begin your Spanish reading journey.
Easy Languages gets people involved from all around the globe —from Brazil to Mongolia — to film authentic interviews about everyday life with locals on the street.
A typical episode format starts with the interviewer (or interviewers) introducing the topic and location for the day. Then, they will approach various locals to ask their opinion or test their knowledge. Only a handful of languages, like Hindi, and Swahili, don’t follow this format — these are also typically the languages with fewer videos.
Easy Languages invites co-producers to join their channel, which means that anyone can apply to create videos, as long as they are filmed according to the Easy Languages guidelines. These co-producers receive multimedia training if they don’t already have experience in the field, so the videos typically have a baseline quality standard (although sometimes the filming can be a bit shaky).
Most of the interviewers have a bubbly personality, and some of them appear in multiple language interviews within Easy Languages. Overall, the interviews are enjoyable and will train your ear to understand a range of voices and accents. Also, for anyone who uses Seedlang for German, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see Cari’s friendly face in the Easy German episodes!
The Language Transfer’s courses approach language learning with what has been coined as “The Thinking Method’. These audio courses serve as a great introduction to the nine languages currently available. They go into lots of depth on how each language works, teaching you all of the main grammar points and giving you the tools needed to learn independently and intuitively. For beginners looking to learn a language, these free courses are an effective and efficient way to start your journey.