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Spanish Resources

1001 Reasons to Learn Spanish
4.3 
Price: Free, Courses cost €60 and €49
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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.

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.

Read it!
4.3 
Price: Kindle books start at $1.26
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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.

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.

Easy Languages
4.3 
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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 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.

 

Language Transfer
4.3 
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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.

Speechling
4.3 
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Speechling is a website and app that makes it easy to improve your speaking skills in several languages. The free version is an incredbily valuable resource that makes it easy to practice mimicking native speakers. The Unlimited Plan provides unlimited corrections of your recordings by a teacher.

Beelinguapp
4.3 
Price: Freemium, $29.99/year
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Beelinguapp makes it easier to read and listen to interesting content in a number of languages. You’ll find short stories, news, fairy tales, music, and more. Their side-by-side reading functionality highlights the sentence in the language you’re learning, as well as in a language you’re familiar with. The karaoke feature makes it easy to follow the audio with the written text. Some of the content and features are available for free, but there are also premium plans to unlock more.

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.

Fluencia
4.3 
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Fluencia is one of the better online Spanish courses I’ve come across. The course content is very well designed including tons of detailed explanations and exercises to practice what you’ve learned. While some similar courses are more gamified and less challenging, Fluencia is more challenging and less game-like. While I like Fluencia quite a bit, you’ll probably want to get more speaking practice elsewhere.

Destinos
4.3 
Price: Free
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From the producers as the French video series, French in Action, Destinos is an award-winning beginner Spanish video course from the 1990s that will train your listening comprehension and speaking abilities. Each of the fifty-two 30-minute episodes follows a dramatic storyline of a lawyer investigating a family secret. Throughout the course, you will learn about Spanish-speaking cultures and accents in Spain, Argentina, Puerto Rico, and Mexico.

Destinos seems to follow the Capretz Theory for language learning, throwing you into full immersion from day one. You shouldn’t worry if you have difficulty following the conversations between the characters; the context and body language of each episode should be enough to help you understand what’s happening. You will gradually be able to understand more as you listen, respond to the lawyer, Raquel’s, comprehension questions at the end of each episode, and complete the accompanying exercises that are linked below each video (be careful you don’t miss them — the text is quite small). Also, the Spanish-speaking narrators speak at a slower pace, so you will gradually be able to pick up new words through them as well. Nevertheless, if you’re struggling to keep up, try watching BBC’s series, Mi Vida Loca first, then dive into Destinos.

Although the videos themselves are outdated, the developers seem to have kept up with current resources. The additional vocabulary, grammar, dictation, and multiple-choice activities contain external links at the end for supplement practice.

Overall, Destinos provides an excellent introduction to Spanish. Please note that the original website may not be available in all countries, but you can find the episodes on YouTube  and KET Education without the supplementary exercises.

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.

DLI Courses
4.3 
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The DLI and FSI language courses are still some of the most comprehensive resources for language learning today, and probably the most comprehensive free resources you will find. 

Although the DLI and FSI courses are comparable in quality, DLI courses focus more on military terminology in the later lessons, while FSI courses focus on everyday communication and communication for diplomats. Another key difference between them is that the DLI courses may go into more depth, and also seem to provide a more comprehensive guide to the study of each language; the FSI courses either have briefer explanations or dive straight into the content. Both of them have outdated content, which is understandable considering that they were developed in the mid-1900s and have scarcely been updated since then.

Often the DLI courses outline clear practice strategies to reproduce your target language’s sounds. Also, depending on the language, literal translations are sometimes used so that you get accustomed to each language’s grammar structure.

All the PDFs and audio files are available for download on various sites, although Live Lingua has made navigating between the material quite intuitive. If you can’t find your desired language in the DLI courses, check out the FSI courses for different options.

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.

FSI Courses
4.3 
Price: Free
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The Foreign Services Institute developed their language courses to help diplomats quickly reach professional working proficiency in a language. They would attend 5 hours of language instruction per day, plus homework, for 24-88 weeks (depending on the language). The table at the bottom of this page indicates the average time it would take for a student to reach professional working proficiency.

The FSI program places a strong focus on listening comprehension, in addition to extensive exercises for grammar and vocabulary. If you follow along with the audio and respond to the prompts in each drill, you will also develop confidence in speaking the language.

With hundreds of pages of text, dozens of hours of audio, and several levels in many languages, the FSI courses are still probably the most comprehensive, free courses you can follow. Just remember that they are decades old, so the audio is not very clear and the vocabulary often includes both sexist and obsolete language. Also, some of the topics will not be relevant to your everyday life.

Several sites host these free, open-source courses, but the site linked below is  easy to navigate. Beware of any site selling courses “originally made for diplomats,” as these are probably free FSI courses with a price tag. You can also check out the DLI courses, which are equally as comprehensive (and free!).

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.