Spanish Reading Practice Tools for Spanish Learners of Every Level
Reading is fundamental to fluency. It’s also entertaining, and, at best, it can even be enlightening!
In 2012, literary scholar Natalie Phillips and Stanford neurobiologists studied all the ways that reading benefits the brain. The fMRI images from their research suggest that reading provides “a truly valuable exercise of people’s brains.”
This type of mental exercise proves even more valuable when you do it in a second language—which brings us to today’s topic: Spanish reading practice!
Reading fluently means reading naturally and accurately at a smooth pace and rhythm. Rereading a story multiple times, reading with a fluent speaker, or hearing a fluent Spanish speaker read regularly are all helpful activities when it comes to improving your language skills.
Whatever your level of experience with Spanish, you’ll find a gold mine of tips and resources in this blog post tailored to where you are in the process!
Spanish Reading Practice for Beginners
Are you ready for some good news? You can learn Spanish by reading, even as a total beginner! By finding topics that interest you along with a reading level you can enjoy,, it becomes a fun and inspiring experience. The key to success for your Spanish reading practice is to enjoy the learning process so that you’ll be compelled to continue. Through Spanish reading practice, you will gain the skills you need to eventually attain Spanish language fluency. Let’s look at some strategies to accomplish this.
Spanish Reading Practice: Strategies for Beginners
1. Read A Lot—At Your Level
Practice makes perfect, as the old saying goes. As a novice student, you’ll benefit from access to texts you can easily read. Look for print or digital materials such as picture books, newspapers, magazines, blogs, and more (See the list of links below to get started!). Aim to read enjoyable texts at your independent reading level, ideally for at least 20 minutes per day.
2. Read Along with Audiobooks
It’s important to note that if you spend your time exclusively reading, your progression to higher levels of fluency may be slower than you’d like. To remedy this, try reading along with a Spanish audiobook, which will expose you to the cadence and rhythm of native Spanish while it improves your overall comprehension. Sooner than later, you’ll start imitating words, phrases, and rhythms of speech that you hear while you read! Exposure to new sentence structures and themes of vocabulary will give you the tools you need to tackle more challenging texts in the future.
3. Read Aloud
When you read en voz alta (out loud), you engage your senses and attention more than when you read silently. Try reading a Spanish book as if you’re reading from a script and have fun playing with enunciation and tone! What’s more, if you record yourself reading aloud, it becomes the perfect opportunity to refine your pronunciation.
Spanish Reading Practice: Resources for Beginners
- 10 Websites Offering Short Stories in Spanish for Beginners
- 10 Spanish Articles for Beginners: Learn to Read the News
- The Ultimate Resource List: Spanish for Beginners
- The 15 Most Common Spanish Verbs for Beginner Conversation
- 5 Spanish Podcasts for Beginners
- No More Boring Textbooks! Top 5 Spanish Books for Beginners
- 20 Fascinating Spanish Books for Adult Beginners
- Beginner Spanish Books for Middle and High Schoolers
- International Children’s Digital Library
- 200+ Spanish Passages with Quizzes
- Spanish Short Stories for Beginners Audiobook (The audiobook comes with a PDF of the text.)
PRO TIP: If you don’t have an Audible account, you get one complimentary audiobook when you register for a free trial!
Spanish Reading Practice for Intermediate Students
As an intermediate learner, your number one question is likely, “How can I read better?” Check out the strategies and resources below to use your improving Spanish reading skills and move toward greater fluency.
Spanish Reading Practice: Strategies for Intermediate Students
1. Active Reading
Using active reading techniques is a powerful way for you to boost your comprehension skills. Whereas passive reading means you read just to finish the text, active reading is where you become more involved in the process, constantly thinking and adjusting as you read.
In contrast, by actively reading, you read the text with the intention of understanding and evaluating its relevance to your needs. When possible, underline or highlight key words and phrases as you read. You could even take notes. The learning starts to saturate your senses and enrich your memory. Learning a language by reading actively is a powerful strategy for retaining comprehension.
2. Deeply Understand
A key aspect of reading comprehension is deep understanding. Deep understanding goes beyond surface comprehension to organize information, connect it to your prior knowledge, interpret, and analyze it. Once you authentically understand something, you can create, design, generalize, reflect, and think critically about its implications. Deep understanding requires metacognition.
3. Think About Your Thinking
Metacognition is the awareness of your thoughts, when you think about your thinking. Cultivating this skill will help you attain a precise understanding of how you best learn. It is the ultimate reading skill. By noticing your thoughts as you read, you contemplate how you are thinking about the language material.
Ask yourself, “Do I understand what I’ve read?” and “What is the main point or idea?” If you didn’t understand, go back and re-read. With close attention and a questioning mindset, you can determine the relevance of new information and put it into the context of what you already know.
Spanish Reading Practice: Resources for Intermediate Students
- Best Intermediate Spanish Books for Adults (B1-B2)
- Spanish Podcasts! Learn Intermediate Español on Your Way to Work
- Spanish Stories & Practice: Spanish Reading Comprehension Series: A2
- Spanish Grammar Exercises with Answers for Intermediate Learners
- 100+ Sophisticated Adjectives in Spanish for Intermediate Speakers
- 22 Spanish Audiobooks with Text That Delight and Entertain Every Learner
- 20+ Free Online Spanish Books for Self-Motivated Beginners
- Top 6 Free Apps to Learn Spanish
- One-to-One Spanish: Intermediate Spanish Readings
- Practical Spanish: Intermediate Level Texts
Spanish Reading Practice for Advanced Learners
As an advanced Spanish student, it’s likely that you delve into Spanish literature, novels, and texts that are longer and more complicated. However, I recommend starting off with high-quality books written for young adults that will spark your interest. These types of books are written with easier vocabulary and simpler sentence structure.
By this point, you’re seeking resources that help you sound like a native speaker, including the natural usage of Spanish idioms and common colloquial expressions that you can weave into your conversation and writing.
Let’s take a look at some strategies to empower your Spanish fluency with native-like accuracy.
Spanish Reading Practice: Strategies for Advanced Learners
1. Engage with the Content
Monitor your own comprehension by paying attention to what you are reading, noticing how much sense it makes, and evaluating the thoughts and feelings that arise as you read. Rather than reading just to get through the text and be done with it, read to engage with the material. Look up what unfamiliar words mean, and notice the form and flow of the sentences.
2. Activate Your Imagination
As you read the words of any Spanish text, transform the sentences into a movie in your mind. This technique trains your brain to associate Spanish words with their meaning so that you can bypass translating from your native language. By processing and organizing information this way, you are more likely to retain it in your long-term memory.
3. Change It Up
Do you find yourself constantly reading the same types of texts? In order to improve, diversify your reading material. Invigorate your Spanish reading practice by reading books, magazines, online blogs, and native Spanish forums—explore both formal and informal writing as well as fiction and nonfiction. This will help you become comfortable with a wide range of genres and styles, including the “everyday Spanish” of native speakers.
4. Incorporate Idioms and Expressions
Using idioms and expressions in Spanish is a sure sign of your increasing fluency. And you’ll notice that the advanced Spanish texts you read are full of them! By incorporating certain expressions and dichos into your regular speech and writing habits, you enhance your fluency by leaps and bounds. Plus, you can impress your native-speaking friends by correctly and appropriately using Spanish idioms.
Spanish Reading Practice: Resources for Advanced Learners
- The Most Amazing Advanced Spanish Books for Adults (C1-C2)
- 4 Must-Read, World-Famous Latin Cartoons and Comic Books in Spanish
- 20 Free Spanish Books, Novels, and Stories in PDF and Printables
- Online Newspapers in Spanish
- Wikipedia in Spanish
- One-to-One Spanish: Advanced Readings
- Practical Spanish: Advanced Texts
- Advanced Spanish Reading Exercises
- Spanish Reading Passages
- Spanish graphic novels on Amazon
Time for Spanish-Speaking Practice!
Reading is key to mastering a foreign language, as it lays a solid foundation from which you build your path to fluency. Having a strong language base is like planting a seed in fertile soil: the mind fills with words and grows into a flourishing plant whose roots support continued growth.
Speaking is another essential skill when learning Spanish. Sharpen your conversational skills by talking to one of our native Spanish-speaking teachers from Guatemala. They’re equipped to meet you at your level and would be delighted to meet you for a free trial class.