20+ Free Online Spanish Books for Self-Motivated Beginners
Think about your favorite books in your native language. Don’t you love being engulfed in their stories? With some effort and dedication, you can have this experience when reading in Spanish, too! As you begin your literary journey, load up on free online Spanish books to help build your skills.
Spanish is not only the lilting language of over 20 countries around the globe, but it is also connected with a rich culture of literature, art, music, film, and more. By diving into our list of free online Spanish books, you’ll explore these themes and more.
Benefits of Reading in Spanish
While speaking the language that you’re learning is crucial to its development, conversational learning is simply not enough on its own to reach a high level of proficiency. Reading is the answer! It also provides a welcome break from formal grammar study, vocabulary flashcards, and rote memorization methods.
Reading is a more intellectually stimulating and effective way to learn than casual conversation or watching television. Even reading at a slow pace as a beginner exposes you to more sentences per minute than the average mind-numbing telenovela. As well, sentences in books tend to be more developed and complex than those you might hear on a show. Best of all, getting cozy with Spanish and Latin American literature offers a window into Spanish culture that can motivate you to keep learning.
So, be sure to balance out your screen time (whether it be TV, movies, YouTube videos or Spanish learning apps) with good old-fashioned reading time.
Use Context Clues
By reading, you’ll naturally begin to absorb new vocabulary words via context clues. When reading in your native language, and a new word comes up, you can usually guess its meaning simply by the sentence’s syntax, or structure.
The same is true of Spanish; using context clues is a great way to learn new words without having to rely on a dictionary all the time. This is a natural way to see more complex verb tenses in use and to acquire a more expansive vocabulary.
Free Sites Offering Spanish Books for Beginners
It can be a struggle to encounter interesting Spanish books that are appropriate for beginners. Choosing the right material is key. It’s okay to begin with children’s books!
Start where you are. The practice of reading will only be useful if you can find a book you’ll stick with—meaning it’s at your reading level and the subject matter interests you. This list contains a ton of resources for accessing books from the most basic level to more nuanced literature.
- Maguaré is a site sponsored by the Colombian Ministry of Culture. Access over 100 picture books, poems, and tongue twisters, some of which are set to music or include audio.
- Read Conmigo provides over 45 free bilingual titles for all levels of elementary learners. The books can be downloaded onto your phone, computer, or tablet one by one or via the Read Conmigo app.
- Children’s Books Forever offers a small collection of free online books in a variety of languages.
- Grimm Stories features dozens of classic fairy tales in Spanish, from the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson. They can be read online or downloaded as a PDF for easy printing.
- Fables in Spanish is a site where famous fables are retold in language suitable for beginners.
- El Huevo de Chocolate is a comprehensive site with all sorts Spanish books, guessing games, fables, folktales, and more. The books and stories on offer here mostly come from classic works in Spanish.
- The Spanish Experiment provides well-known children’s stories translated into Spanish and spoken by a native Spanish speaker. Great for learners of all ages.
- Spanish Uno offers books for both beginners and advanced learners, as well as jokes, sayings, slang and more.
- Loyal Books is a directory of free public domain of audiobooks and ebook downloads in a wide array of genres and languages.
- Free Spanish E-books is a Spanish language site with a large selection of Spanish language books.
- Project Gutenberg contains almost 50,000 free ebooks to download, hundreds of which are in Spanish. Although the site’s interface is a bit antiquated, there are loads of great reads waiting to be found here!
- Many Books features approximately 33,000 free ebooks and a bevy of languages to choose from.
- Kindle Books: Did you know that the Amazon Kindle Store has a free e-book section? Simply visit the Spanish version of the website to find a treasure trove of free e-books in Spanish.
Which brings me to my next list…
Bonus: Free Titles in Spanish for Beginner and Intermediate Learners
- “An Elementary Spanish Reader” by Earl Stanley Harrison
This free Kindle ebook consists of 21 short stories designed for novice Spanish learners. It also has a vocabulary glossary in the back for ease of reference. The stories are short and manageable, so this is a great resource to start with!
- “La Mitología para los niños” by Fernán Caballero
This primer was designed to introduce children to the magical, mystical world of mythology. If you’re already familiar with some Greek mythology, you’ll find these stories exciting and understandable.
- “Fortuna: Historia de un perro agradecido” by Enrique Pérez Escrich
Perhaps the most popular dog story in Spanish, this short book makes for pleasant reading. Employing clear and simple language, Pérez was a master of the serial story (or folletín), page-turners featuring fictional dramas that are both entertaining and easy to understand
- “Los Extraños trabajos de Paulino y Eusebio” by Eloy Barba Dominguez
Friendship, adventure, music and working towards your dreams are the themes of this story. It’s about two friends trying to become rock stars by buying the perfect drum set. The story follows the odd jobs they come across along the way.
- “Novelas cortas” by Pedro Antonio de Alarcón
If you’re into historical fiction, this might be an ideal choice for you! From acclaimed Andalusian author Pedro Antonio de Alarcón, these novellas were published in the late 19th century and offer insight into Spanish life and history.
- “El Sombrero de tres picos” by Pedro Antonio de Alarcón
This story depicts the tale of a wealthy magistrate in love with a miller’s wife and his attempts to seduce her. It became so popular, it was eventually made into a ballet.
- “El Capitán Veneno” by Pedro Antonio de Alarcón
The compelling story of a famed fire-eater, this book is set in mid-nineteenth century Spain and based on historical fact. It follows a captain’s domestication through love during a time of immense social change.
- “Spanish Tales for Beginners” by Louis Reinhardt and E.C. Hills
This collection contains various tales and poems by acclaimed Hispanic authors. Flip through the compilation to find a piece that grabs your attention.
- “Vida de Lazarillo de Tormes” by Anonymous
This is the first known modern Spanish novel, and its unknown author is considered the founder of the picaresque (picaresca) literary genre. This style of prose depicts the adventures of a lower class, roguish hero who lives by his wits in a corrupt society. The story follows a little boy who becomes the apprentice to a blind man.
- “Don Quijote” by Miguel de Cervantes
Last but not least, Miguel de Cervantes’ classic novel is widely considered a Spanish masterpiece. It follows a nameless gentleman (hidalgo) who sets out on an adventure under the name Don Quixote, and is later joined by farmer Sancho along the way.
Take the Lead and Read!
What are some other Spanish books you’ve enjoyed reading as part of your learning journey?
Once you reach an intermediate to advanced reading level, you can enjoy the works of famous Latin American authors such as Gabriel García Márquez, Isabel Allende, Jorge Luis Borges, and Pablo Neruda in their original language.
Set up a free class today with one of our professional teachers who will help you find more great literature to continue improving your Spanish reading ability!
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