Recommended Spanish Resources

Here are my top recommendations for people who are learning Spanish. I have chosen the following items as they have proven to be popular and effective amongst Spanish learners that I have worked with over recent years.

Practical, everyday conversational Spanish

Pasos 1 Beginner’s Course Pack: Course book and 3 CD set. Learn the basics for your holiday in Spain. It covers greetings, ordering food and drink, asking for directions, booking a hotel, making travel arrangements, food and clothes shopping and coping with illness amongst other things. It involves real-life listening, speaking, reading and writing practice. There is also a second stage of the course, Pasos 2 Intermediate Course book with CDs which aims to teach students to communicate effectively in Spanish at higher levels.
Spanish Among Amigos: Conversational Spanish Beyond the Classroom. Learn how to speak fluently and sound like a native speaker. Many of the common colloquial expressions found in this book will not be found in a conventional dictionary. The language is learnt through the light-hearted conversations between two friends in a variety of real-life situations; going shopping, going out for tapas, a night out on the town, amongst others. There are lists of key vocabulary plus exercises for the reader to do.

Spanish Dictionaries

Collins easy learning Spanish Dictionary is the perfect resource for all levels of learners. It is particularly good for GCSE students with the essential curriculum words highlighted. However, it is a vital resource for anyone learning Spanish for holidays or business featuring the everyday words and phrases, cultural notes to avoid making blunders in front of the locals as well as clear explanations of key grammar points and verbs. It is user-friendly with colour coded text and is easy to navigate.
Spanish-English Visual Bilingual Dictionary: Learn everyday vocabulary quickly and easily with the clearly labelled images of items and scenes separated into themes in this picture dictionary. Ideal for anyone learning Spanish whether for business or general travel. By seeing the Spanish word with the corresponding picture you will retain it more easily in the long term. Topics range from eating out, shopping, food, the office, sports, transport and household furniture to the environment.

Spanish Grammar

Teach Yourself Quick Fix Spanish Grammar: Useful, easy to use grammar book. Explanations are given on the left-hand side page with examples, and on the right-hand side there are a few straightforward questions for you to practice those grammar points. A nice handy size – easy to take on holiday and read on the plane!  
Spanish Verb Tenses: Provides extensive grammar practice of all tenses in Spanish. As well as explaining how to form each tense and listing common regular and irregular verbs to remember, this book gets you to actually USE the verbs in everyday language. An excellent grammar book.

Children’s Spanish Resources

A popular way to teach children foreign languages is through stories. Children will identify with the new language quickly if they already know the story in their native language. Here are some popular children’s story books in Spanish.

La Oruga Muy HambrientaThe Very Hungry Caterpillar: An all time favourite amongst many children. This is particularly good for teaching the days of the week, food items and other basic words in Spanish.
Cenicienta – Cinderella (Spanish and English): This is one of a set of bilingual fairy tales that are popular amongst both children and adult learners of Spanish! The paragraphs are short with one written in Spanish and the English translation underneath, so you can easily link the Spanish word with its English meaning. Other stories in the series include; Little Red Riding Hood (Caperucita Roja), Jack and The Beanstalk (Juan y los Frijoles Mágicos), The Three Little Pigs (Los Tres Cerditos), Thumbelina (Pulgarcita) and many others.
  Songs in Spanish for Children: Catchy songs sung by native Spanish speakers to help children pick up everyday words in Spanish; animals, the days of the week, the months of the year and so on. Children love it and soon start copying the lyrics. The fourteen songs on the CD are classical Spanish folklore tunes, not versions of English songs, making it more authentic. The words are kept simple and are easy to understand thanks to the high quality recordings. A great resource for even babies to get them to start hearing “Spanish sounds” as well as older children.

Spanish Magazines

Why not get hold of a copy of a Spanish magazine on your favourite subject; fashion, celebrity gossip, sport, computing, travel, emigrating? You can buy one off copies or buy a subscription from WHSmith or online newsagents such as Newsstand? Follow your interests at the same time as learning Spanish!

Living Spain Magazine is an excellent source of information for anyone thinking about buying property in Spain or moving or retiring to Spain permanently. It includes essential practical, legal and financial advice as well as travel tips, Spanish cultural highlights, food and drink related articles and much more besides.
Hola Magazine (Hello! Magazine) will not only keep you up to date with all the latest Spanish celebrity gossip, it will also help your Spanish! By seeing photos alongside the articles will help you learn and retain new vocabulary for longer. Learn the words and phrases that are in fashion today in Spain which you may not find in a dictionary or textbook.
In Style Spanish Magazine has something to suit most readers; it features not only articles in Spanish on fashion and beauty, but also on travel, the latest holiday destinations, books, music, films, current affairs and includes the usual sections such as quizzes, advice pages and horoscopes. Most definitely an enjoyable way to learn Spanish at the same time as keeping up with the latest trends!  

Clearly, this is only touching the surface amongst all the Spanish resources available today. If you know of any other items that you have found useful when learning Spanish, please contact us and we may be able to add the details here to help other Spanish learners.

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