The Ultimate Resource List: Spanish for Beginners (PDFs, books, movies, etc.)
Learning Spanish for beginners is a wonderful journey! But, where do you start?
Diving into watching movies or talking to native speakers in Spanish can be overwhelming, so what are the best options for total beginners? Tons of fantastic resources are available, so let’s check out how you can get started learning Spanish for beginners effectively.
Spanish for Beginners: How to Get Started
Learning a language involves time, dedication, and lots of repetition. Make sure you are prepared with these tips!
- Keep a Spanish journal. Separate it into vocabulary, verbs, and phrases. You don’t necessarily need to write every word you learn, but do take note of those that are more difficult.
- Make a schedule and stick to it. If you focus on learning Spanish just a couple of days a month, the vocabulary and pronunciation won’t stay in your long-term memory. Set aside time several times a week to learn Spanish. Ideally, spend at least 5 minutes each day, but if that doesn’t work for you, schedule slightly longer Spanish sessions at least 3 days a week.
- Focus on all areas of language. Reading is just as important as speaking a language. Make sure you are practicing reading, writing, speaking, and listening.
Spanish for Beginners: Vocabulary First
The first step to learning a language is to develop an extensive vocabulary. Before you can understand spoken or written Spanish without constantly opening up the dictionary, you need to understand common vocabulary. Whether you have just a couple of minutes or several hours a day, there is a perfect vocabulary resource for you.
Drops is the perfect app for complete Spanish beginners. It focuses on building up your vocabulary at a reasonable pace with plenty of repetition. With only 5 minutes of studying a day, you can quickly build an impressive vocabulary bank.
Duolingo is an incredibly popular application for good reason. The fun game-like style will captivate you and you won’t want to put the phone down. There is also a placement test if you aren’t a complete beginner.
Memrise is similar to Duolingo in its interactive app style. It offers official Memrise courses along with some developed by users. You can complete a general Spanish course or study a specific course like verbs or conversational sayings.
4. Spanish Central
This page is from Merriam-Webster and offers dozens of simple Spanish flashcards. Pick your vocabulary topic, and practice with the flashcards. Once you feel you have mastered the list, take the accompanying quiz.
Speechling is another excellent flashcard resource. You can choose from various levels or vocabulary topics and then listen to both a man and a woman’s voice saying the words and phrases. You can even remove the written Spanish to practice your listening skills.
This website also provides stellar Spanish flashcards. There is an immense section on Spanish verbs to accompany your growing vocabulary.
Spanish for Beginners: Listen for Key Words
Once you have mastered some Spanish vocabulary, you’ll want to practice your listening skills. It’s important to start listening to Spanish early on so you become accustomed to authentic pronunciation.
Podcasts are a great way to fill your head with Spanish on-the-go. You can listen to them on the way to school or work, or you can get out your Spanish notebook and take notes while studying at home.
7. Buenos Día América
This podcast is 30 minutes long and gives you the daily news in Spanish. While this is a fast-paced news program, you can download the PDF file and follow along with the written words.
8. LightSpeed Spanish
These podcasts are specifically designed for various Spanish levels. There are dozens of beginner podcasts that focus on particular vocabulary, like question words or telling time in Spanish.
9. Notes in Spanish
Likewise, this page has several podcasts broken down into different levels. The accompanying worksheets are an extra, paid option. However, just listening to the free podcasts is a great help for many learners.
10. Spanish Obsessed
At Spanish Obsessed, you can access hours of beginner podcasts with specific themes like families and how to tell a joke. While the podcasts are free, you can pay to receive the transcription, vocabulary notes, and downloads.
11. CoffeeBreak Languages
This website offers audible lessons for numerous languages. Start with lesson 01 for Spanish and work your way through the courses. The podcasts are available on Apple, Google, and Spotify. There is also a discussion forum for learners to compare notes and ask questions.
12. Audible en Español
For a more advanced listening exercise, trying listening to your favorite book in Spanish with Audible! There are tons of excellent Spanish titles available, although there is a monthly membership fee.
13. News in Slow Spanish
Regular news shows often use fast Spanish which can be confusing for beginner Spanish learners. This site takes complicated news podcasts and slows them down for a more understable newscast.
Spanish for Beginners: Reading Exercises
We focused on listening before reading because it is more applicable in real-life conversations. However, reading Spanish is just as important! Use these resources to start reading books, articles, and short snippets in Spanish, and always remember to write down new vocabulary in your notebook.
Learn to read in Spanish with Beelinguapp! This application has short stories in Spanish with their English counterpart so you can compare sentence structure and vocabulary. It also has an audio option so you can hear the Spanish while you read.
15. BBC News Spanish
Listening to the news in Spanish isn’t the only option to learn what is going on in the world. BBC News has a whole section of articles in Spanish so you can improve your Spanish literacy skills.
16. Practical Spanish
Practical Spanish has tons of reading exercises for all levels. They are separated into level and topic, so pick what you would like to learn and start reading. Each snippet comes with the English translation, audio, and comprehension questions.
The reading exercises with KwizIQ are divided into CEFR levels, starting with A1. Each segment has a particular verb and vocabulary focus, and a question and answer forum enables readers to submit any doubts they may have.
When you learn a new language, there is absolutely no shame in reading children’s books. “Papelucho” is the perfect reading level for beginner Spanish learners, as it goes over basic Spanish. Read several books in this series to keep the learning going.
19. El Principito
The story of “The Little Prince” is famous worldwide. If you already know the story in English, you’ll be able to recognize vocabulary much easier. However, if you aren’t familiar with the story, it is written in simple Spanish using mainly the past tense.
20. Spanish Short Stories for Beginners
This is a collection of various short stories that are written at a lower level of Spanish. Make sure you have your Spanish notebook handy for any new vocabulary that arises.
21. Easy Spanish Reader
This book is another option that is specifically designed for beginners. It comes with 80 readings and 60 recordings for listening and reading exercises.
If you’re looking for something fun to read, try Spanish comics! “Mafalda” is incredibly popular throughout Latin America, and she tackles global justice issues while still giving you a laugh.
Spanish for Beginners: Watch and Learn
You’ve got some vocabulary, listening, and reading skills mastered. That means you’re ready to take the next step with Spanish for beginners: watching shows and movies in Spanish. On the list below, you’ll find a combination of video Spanish lessons and Latin American TV, so pick which you feel more comfortable with to start.
Once you graduate to watching TV and movies in Spanish, try turning on the subtitles. Start with English subtitles first, then switch to Spanish when you’re ready.
23. Easy Languages
This YouTube channel aims to help teach the basics of any language to new learners. There are dozens of Spanish episodes with the vocabulary focused on real-life conversations. Most of the episodes take place on the street so you hear a variety of accents and slang from Latin American countries.
24. Spanish Academy TV
Spanish Academy TV offers every type of Spanish learning video you could imagine. From free Spanish lessons and reading exercises to preschool episodes and cultural adventures, this YouTube channel has it all. Many of the videos also have free PDFs and an accompanying blog post to take your learning even further.
25. SpanishPod 101
This YouTube channel and website offer tons of videos and free resources to learn Spanish quickly and easily. Each video has a specific focus, from pronunciation to travel Spanish. There is even a series for basic Spanish that has 3-minute videos to get you started.
If you have Netflix, use it to practice your Spanish! There are numerous Spanish shows and movies to practice listening and comprehending the language. If you have a VPN, you can even change the location to a Spanish-speaking country for more great options. Another option is to just change the subtitles or language on your favorite show or movie to Spanish.
If you don’t have a streaming service like Netflix, you can try Danimados. The selection isn’t quite as diverse, but all the movies and shows are in Spanish.
Resources for Questions
What happens if you are confused by a word or grammar topic? Who can you turn to for help? Don’t go directly to Google translate, since it often gives incorrect or incomplete translations. Instead, try one of the following resources.
Instead of using the typical Google translate (which can often give the incorrect translation), use SpanishDict. When you search a word, it provides an in-depth explanation for every possible translation and when you should use it. It also features a section on conjugation, quizzes, and Q&A forums.
29. Word Reference
Word Reference is a different kind of Spanish-English dictionary. It focuses on the main translations and how they are used instead of the grammar. It includes all possible translations and example sentences so you know which words to use.
Linguee also gives different possible translations, but they pull up real-world examples of text that uses the word or phrase. You can see how the word is naturally used and translated.
The Real Academia Española is the ultimate authority on everything Spanish. This resource is for slightly more advanced learners, as everything is in Spanish. However, this can be a great opportunity to immerse yourself more in the language. If you look up a word, the whole definition will be given in Spanish instead of English.
Something for Everyone
If you want a Spanish for beginners resource that combines listening, writing, and grammar, there are several websites that offer a combination of Spanish-learning tools.
32. BBC Languages
The BBC not only provides a wealth of news resources in Spanish, they also have a whole section dedicated to learning the language. They offer free courses, shows for children, pronunciation tips, teacher resources, Spanish for school, and so much more.
33. Spanish Games
Why not make learning Spanish fun? On this website, you can choose a vocabulary theme, follow through the lesson, then play an interactive game, and finish with a short quiz. This resource is great for younger learners or those looking for a fun spin on the traditional learning style.
34. 123 Teach Me
This page combines all the areas of language learning by offering games, listening exercises, verb conjugations, self-study courses, teacher resources, and reading comprehension. There are resources for learners of all ages and a special section just for medical Spanish.
Spanish for Beginners: Immersion Options
One of the best ways to learn Spanish for beginners is by immersing yourself in the language. If you aren’t ready to travel to a Spanish-speaking country and completely dive into the language, the next best thing is live immersion options online.
35. Homeschool Spanish Academy
Homeschool Spanish Academy is one of the best options for live online classes. All of the teachers are native Spanish speakers from Guatemala, and they are qualified to teach all levels and all ages. They make Spanish for beginners easy, and you can start with 25 or 50-minute classes, depending on the intensity you’re looking for in the course.
iTalki focuses on providing language learners with a place to practice their conversational Spanish with native Speakers. You can talk with a native speaker over a video call and they will help grow your confidence speaking the language.
Learn Spanish for Beginners Today!
Are you ready to get started? All of these amazing resources will give you a great start to your language learning journey, but nothing can truly replace live classes with a native speaker. Even if you’d like to get started with one of the apps or listening exercises, combine those tools with live classes with the Homeschool Spanish Academy. Try a free class today and see for yourself how quickly you’ll be speaking Spanish!
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