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5 Common Problems Beginner Spanish Learners Face [Video]

5 Common Problems Beginner Spanish Learners Face

Learning a new language can be tough. From new vocabulary to strange grammar rules, there’s a lot of places beginners can stumble or get frustrated.

Although Spanish is a relatively easy language to learn, it’s not without obstacles. Many English speakers, in fact, run into the same hang-ups along the way. For example, conjugation rules take some time to get used to — there’s a reason most Spanish teachers include lots of Spanish conjugation practice in their classes! Repetition helps you understand the rules, and once you’ve got them figured out, the language gets much easier.

In the video below, tutor Sara T. shares five of these common trouble spots, and below the video, we’ve listed some extra resources and links to help you work on them!

1. Conjugating Verbs in Spanish

“For example, with the verb ‘to talk,’ in English, there are five conjugations but the verb is only going to change one time… on the other hand in Spanish, the verb is going to change five times.”

Resources for Spanish conjugation practice:

2. Understanding Lack of Pronouns

“You’ll notice that speakers do not use ‘I,’ ‘you, ‘we,’ or ‘they’ when they speak… because the verb is already communicating the pronoun for you.”

Resources for pronoun practice:

3. Irregular verbs

“Most of the verbs that are the most common are irregular… they DO NOT follow the same conjugation as regular verbs.”

Remember, the only way to tackle this is to memorize the conjugations!

Resources for practicing irregular verbs:

4. Phonetics

“There are some different sounds in Spanish that you’re going to have to get used to!… The biggest ones are vowels — for example, in Spanish the ‘A’ has one sound, a soft ‘ah’ sound like in hablar. Whereas the ‘E’ is going to have a strong ‘ay’ sound, like in leer.”

Resources for practicing pronunciation and phonetics: 

5. Expressions That Use Different Verbs

“For example, the verb tener, which means ‘to have,’ is used with many expressions that we would use ‘to be’ in English. For example instead of saying ‘I am cold,’ in Spanish you’re going to say ‘I have cold.’ (Tengo frio.)

Resources for learning Spanish expressions: 

Readers, what other resources do you use for Spanish conjugation practice, verb practice, or pronunciation practice? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

Post Author: Sara T.
Sara T. teaches Spanish, English, Anatomy, and more through online lessons. She has over five years of teaching experience and holds a Masters degree in Teaching and Learning with Technology, with a specialization as an online educator. Learn more about Sara here!

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75 Free Resources for Learning Spanish Online

75 Free Resources for Learning Spanish online

As you study Spanish, it’s smart to take advantage of as many different resources as you can! Luckily, many of the online options are totally free and easy to use. Continue reading to find out the tutor-approved recommendations from instructor Sara T...

 

If you’ve stumbled upon this post, you’ve probably already decided to learn Spanish — that’s great! Now, you probably need some direction on where to begin. The World Wide Web offers an infinite number of resources that can help you learn a new language. The downside is that sifting through the junk can take hours on end to find a quality website or resource. Lucky for you, I have done the legwork and found 75 of the best online resources to help you improve your Spanish!

Here they are – starting with my personal top 10.

Click on these to jump ahead by category:

Online Spanish Resources - My Top 10 Picks

My Top 10

  1. Duolingo
    This app is a favorite among language learners of all ages. It has a game-like teaching methodology, which makes it fun to use!
  2. The Most Common Irregular Verbs in Spanish
    Get familiar with irregular verbs as soon as possible. The most-used verbs in Spanish (to be, to have, to be able to, etc.) are irregular. By studying one irregular verb each day, you’ll increase your proficiency at lightning speed.
  3. Conjuguemos (Let’s Conjugate)
    Verb conjugation is a nightmare for Spanish learners. We don’t change verbs nearly as often in English, but our pronouns are mandatory. In Spanish, you’ll get frustrated at the amount of conjugation you have to learn, but eventually everything will be simplified and you won’t even use pronouns when speaking. The verb will communicate the person you’re referring to.
  4. MIT Courseware
    Open-source courseware means that universities are letting anyone download their courses for free. You won’t get official academic credit, of course, but what a great way to get an MIT education for free!
  5. People en Español
    This resource can be substituted for any magazine you like to read. Reading in Spanish — especially if it’s about a subject that interests you –will help build your vocabulary and improve grammar. Research shows that learners who read correct grammar are more likely to use it when speaking.
  6. National Geographic in Spanish
    Who doesn’t love Nat Geo? This website is one of my favorites for articles, videos, and pictures. You can even subscribe to the physical magazine in Spanish (at an additional cost).
  7. Online Free Spanish
    Games are a clever way of disguising learning. This website is best suited for beginners or children, with games focusing on vocabulary. I really like this website because you can play a number of games using the same core vocabulary words. Repetition is necessary when learning a new language.
  8. Grammar Games
    For the adult or intermediate learners, try this website. The games focus more on grammar and sentence structure than individual vocabulary words.
  9. Y Mucho Mas
    When you’re ready to relax, try this YouTube channel to start watching La Familia Peluche, one of the most-watched Spanish TV series. This channel has all of the full episodes for free!
  10. Spanish Proficiency Materials
    This is a website from the University of Texas. It has all kinds of materials for improving your Spanish. My personal favorites are the videos featuring Spanish spoken by native speakers from different countries. You can read along with the transcript (in Spanish) alongside the video. This is an excellent resource for listening comprehension.

Online Spanish Resources - Websites

Websites for Learning Spanish Online

Below are some of the best online websites for learning Spanish. These websites will help you learn basic grammar, phrases, and vocabulary. Some offer additional exercises and/or videos to help aid comprehension and learning.

  1. BBC Spanish
    This is a comprehensive page of free online Spanish resources. You can test your Spanish proficiency, watch video courses, play games, and find authentic Spanish news, TV, and radio websites.
  2. Fluencia
    This app is also available as a website. You can sign up for free via Facebook and begin learning. The learning style is very similar to Duolingo and Rosetta Stone. Beginner lessons cover greetings, basic vocabulary, and pronunciation.
  3. Hello World
    This website has more than 700 Spanish resources! I really like the lessons and conversations section, which introduces basic vocabulary and language. There are short, animated videos that feature basic conversation and show vocabulary in real contexts. The website also features a dictionary and plenty of online games and activities.
  4. Learn Practical Spanish Online
    This is a free website that includes information on many grammar topics. The website is divided into levels, from beginner to advanced.
  5. Medical Spanish for Healthcare Providers
    Being bilingual is a huge advantage in the healthcare industry. This website has a lot of free information for Spanish learners, in relation to medicine and healthcare. Even conversational Spanish learners should take a look – you never know when you’ll be traveling and end up sick or in a medical emergency.

Online Spanish Resources - Lists for Studying Spanish

Lists for Studying Spanish

I love working with lists when learning or teaching a language. It’s an easy way to acquire new vocabulary like verbs, nouns, or adjectives.

With the lists below, I recommend committing to learning a certain amount each day. Take a look at one grammar rule each day or one irregular verb. At the end of the month, you’ll know 30 new rules and verbs!

  1. Common Mistakes When Learning Spanish
    Avoid these common mistakes for Spanish language learners by educating yourself before you start making mistakes. It’s much easier to create a good habit than to break a bad one.
  2. The Most Common Irregular Verbs in Spanish
    This website shows the most common irregular verbs in Spanish. Irregular verbs, like ser, estar, tener and ir, are widely used in the Spanish language. Use this website to practice conjugating them.
  3. Top 100 Regular Spanish Verbs
    Similar the irregular verbs list, you can use this to practice conjugating on your own.
  4. Top Spanish Vocabulary
    Make sure you know the most commonly used words — not just verbs — so that sentences really come together.
  5. Top 20 False Cognates
    False cognates are words that look similar in two languages, but have very different meanings. Avoid embarrassing mistakes by brushing up on these common amigos falsos (fake friends). (See also: 75 Most Helpful Spanish Cognates to Know)

Online Spanish Resources - Verb Conjugations

Spanish Help — Verb Conjugations

The best way to conjugate verbs is the old fashioned way — take out a piece of paper, list your pronouns, and begin writing the different conjugations. There’s no way around it. But you can also practice and test your conjugation knowledge online! Below are some websites with online exercises and Spanish quizzes to help you along.

  1. Conjuguemos (Let’s Conjugate)
    Practice conjugating verbs in an online quiz, based on the pronoun. Quizzes are separated into tenses and stem and spelling change patterns. If you’re a beginner, start with present tense regular verbs.
  2. Spanish Verb Drills
    Practice conjugating verbs in sentences here. This website will give you an overview of conjugation and also generates unique quizzes to practice.
  3. Spanish Verb Conjugation Trainer
    This site offers free, online Spanish conjugation practice. Quizzes are separated by tenses. You can either choose which verbs you want to practice or generate a random selection.
  4. Spanish New York
    This is another free, online verb conjugation practice site, with tons of verb categories to choose from.
  5. Verbs Online
    You can practice verb conjugations in sets of 10 here, with a choice of regular or irregular verbs.

Online Spanish Resources - Apps

Spanish Learning Apps

A resource article wouldn’t be complete without mentioning apps! Downloading some of the following apps will let you practice Spanish on the go. Whether you’re taking a break from work or stuck in traffic, you can always find five minutes to practice.

  1. Duolingo
    This is a free language-learning app that focuses on a game-like way of learning, similar to Rosetta Stone.
  2. Open Language
    This website allows you to learn the language from real people. Get the hands-on learning experience you deserve!
  3. Memrise
    This is a free application for language learning that follows the CEFR (Common European Framework Reference), which is an international language proficiency scale. There are several Spanish courses ranging from beginner to advanced, based on the CEFR levels.
  4. Fluent U
    This is an app that introduces Spanish in context. You can view video/blog/visual-learning-strategies, newscasts, and articles in Spanish.
  5. Pinterest
    This is an overlooked app for language learning, but I use Pinterest for almost all of my teaching materials. You can search any topic, vocabulary, or grammar issue and you’ll see beautiful images, charts, and infographics to explain them. This is a must-have if you’re a visual learner.
  6. Rosetta Stone (free demo)
    The famous Rosetta Stone is now an app. You can try a free demo version to decide if this method is right for you.
  7. iTranslate
    This app lets you translate on your phone by voice. Simply say what you want to translate and your phone does the rest. This is great for traveling abroad — just remember, no translation app or website is perfect. It’ll give you a rough equivalent of the words in another language, but often the meaning is not correctly translated. Stick to simple phrases.
  8. HiNative
    This app lets you ask questions to native speakers or people who are practicing speaking Spanish.

Online Spanish Resources - Language Exchange

Language Exchange Platforms

Language exchange platforms can be helpful if they’re used in the right way. Many of these websites work like social networking, where you set up a profile with details about yourself. You then search for “friends” who you can practice your target language with.

It’s important to keep in mind, though, that you’ll most likely be practicing with other Spanish learners. This is not a substitute for private lessons, since you won’t be getting the error correction and guidance a teacher would give you. But, if you want to practice information you learned in class, like introducing yourself, this is a good option.

I haven’t included individual details because all of the sites operate the same. The most popular, however, is Tandem. Please be aware that using any website to meet other people (even for learning purposes) has risks. Avoid giving out personal information or becoming a target of a scam.

  1. Tandem Exchange
  2. HelloTalk
  3. Wespeke
  4. Speaky
  5. HiNative

Online Spanish Resources - Chatrooms

Spanish Chatrooms

Spanish language chatrooms are a great resource for practicing written Spanish in your free time. Keep in mind that chatrooms for language learning run the same risks as any chatroom. I wouldn’t recommend letting children use these alone, since they would be speaking with strangers and all the risks that that entails. Overall, though, most users are genuinely interested in learning and improving.

  1. Espanglish Chat
    This is an English/Spanish bilingual chatroom for students to practice either or both languages. The chatroom is free and works online through Java.
  2. Spanish Chat
    Chatrooms are organized by Spanish speaking country, major U.S. cities, or topic.
  3. My Language Exchange
    This is an online language learning community. You can sign up and join chatrooms to practice speaking in Spanish.
  4. El Chat
    This website is an all-Spanish option where you’ll find many more native speakers, not necessarily Spanish learners. This website can help you see how Spanish speakers really communicate and how the language is used in casual conversation.
  5. ICQ
    ICQ works a lot like Skype with free messages and video calls. You can find Spanish chatrooms and converse in Spanish with other speakers or learners.

Online Spanish Resources - Games Online

Spanish Games Online

Games are fun for everyone, not just kids. Everyone learns in the same way and even the most dedicated adult appreciates a break from the routine every once in a while! The websites below are the best, in my opinion, offering a variety of free games at different levels.

  1. Online Free Spanish
    This is one of my favorite websites for kids and beginners. It has games and activities, online books, and printable activities for all learning levels. Check out the memory game for tons of basic vocabulary themes.
  2. Digital Dialect
    This website has a great selection of Spanish games for beginner, intermediate, and advanced speakers. Topics cover vocabulary, phrases, and verbs.
  3. Que Onda? Spanish
    This website has several free online games to practice Spanish vocabulary. I really like the memory game for learning basic verbs and words. You can also play hangman, alphabet soup, whack-a-word, and a verb conjugation game.
  4. Grammar Games
    This website is definitely geared toward serious learners. Online quizzes help you perfect your Spanish in a variety of categories, such as adjectives, article verbs, and pronouns.
  5. My Spanish Games
    I really like the different and creative games on this website! Many of them are directions-based and aimed at children, but they’re also good for beginners of any age. The Spanish vocabulary games include body parts, weather, animals, and more.

Online Spanish Resources - Facebook Groups

Facebook Groups for Spanish Help

If you’re on Facebook, consider joining a group. Information shared in these groups often includes images, charts, and speaking tips. They’re also a great place to ask questions in between classes and practice communicating in written Spanish. Below are some popular groups that I have found on Facebook. Keep in mind these groups may not be monitored and you should always exercise caution in who you accept friend requests from or speak to privately.

  1. Amigos y amigas españoles (20,000+ members)
  2. Aprender, practicar y ensenar el español (6,800+ members)
  3. Quiero practicar inglés-español (4,000+ members)

Online Spanish Resources - Facebook Groups

Facebook Pages for Spanish Help

A less interactive option is Facebook pages. Pages like the ones below often share helpful information, such as proper ways to use vocabulary words, commonly confused words, and spelling help. You may also be able to ask questions, depending on the page’s settings.

  1. Spanish Language Routes (200,000+ likes)
  2. Practicamos Español (48,000+ likes)
  3. Aprender el Español (13,000+ likes)

Online Spanish Resources - YouTube Channels

YouTube Channels for Learning Spanish

YouTube is an amazing resource for seeing and hearing language used in context. I avoid Spanish “lessons” on Youtube — they’re often a video of a tutor in front of a whiteboard or a long PowerPoint with narration explaining difficult grammar — except you can’t ask any questions. Leave the lessons up to your private tutor (or, check out the live, online Spanish classes via the TakeLessons Classroom) and use YouTube to simply enhance your Spanish by experiencing it in real-life situations.

  1. MisCositasTV
    This website has many Spanish-language videos for learners. What I like about the channel is that there are videos from different countries. Spanish is spoken in so many countries and there are many accents you’ll encounter.
  2. Y Mucho Mas
    If you’re studying Mexican Spanish or hoping to travel to Mexico, you must watch La Familia Peluche. This series is about a modern-day family living in Mexico City. This series will remind you of Married with Children or The Simpsons. The visual effects, facial expressions, and body language all help facilitate understanding. Plus, it’s hysterical!
  3. VideoEle
    This is a very good channel that features videos according to levels done by the CEFR (Common European Framework). The videos cover basic language and include vocabulary presented in themes. If you’re a beginner, choose A1 videos; intermediate, choose B1 videos; and advanced, choose C1 videos.
  4. BookBox.
    This is a collection of animated stories in Spanish (with Spanish subtitles). It says the stories are for children, but adults can benefit from watching them as well!
  5. Vocabuflash
    This channel offers stories in both Spanish and English. There are videos for vocabulary, short stories, and dialogues. It’s a great way to listen to pronunciation and work on your reading comprehension skills.

Online Spanish Resources - free eBooks

Free Spanish eBooks

More websites are beginning to publish and share free books. The books are either readable from the website or you download them in a PDF format. The websites below offer a variety of books, from beginner children’s books to classic novels. Adult learners shouldn’t be embarrassed to read children’s books, either. A beginner is a beginner — and the level is the most important factor. Plus, children’s books are well-illustrated and fun!

  1. Children’s Library
    This website has an extensive collection of children’s books. By doing a simple search for Spanish, you’ll find 159 books in Español. The best part is that no downloading is required! You can view the books page by page online. It’s perfect for beginner to intermediate learners.
  2. The Spanish Experiment
    This page has classic children’s stories in Spanish. As a bonus, you can also listen to the audio version. No downloading required! Just choose a story and beginning reading.
  3. Espacio eBook
    Here you can either view in PDF or download the eBooks. Many of them are classic stories and fairy tales by famous writers, such as Hans Christian Anderson.
  4. Free-ebooks.net
    This website lets you download free eBooks in Spanish. There’s a wide selection of books, including romance, cooking, terror, mystery, and more. The only negative is that the books are not arranged by level. This site would only be helpful for intermediate to advanced learners.
  5. Children’s Books Forever!
    While this website doesn’t have the biggest Spanish selection, I wanted to include it anyway. The titles are well-illustrated and very simple to read. There’s no downloading required; the books are viewed in Adobe Acrobat Reader. Hopefully their Spanish library expands in the future!

Online Spanish Resources - Open Source Materials

Open-Source Materials

Open-source materials are free, downloadable materials on the internet. This field is growing by the day and includes resources for both teachers and students to use. They’re great for independent studying and students who are self-motivated.

  1. Spanish Proficiency Materials
    This is one of the best Spanish-learning websites that offers materials in a natural context. It features tons of videos and podcasts organized by skill level. It’s also one of the few sites to feature an advanced and superior level. You can hear and see native speakers speaking naturally about many different topics.
  2. MIT Courseware
    Would you like to study at MIT? Would you like to do it for free? MIT offers free open-courseware, which you can download onto your computer. In addition to Spanish language classes, you can download English-language courses on Spanish culture and history.

Online Spanish Resources - News Websites

News Websites

Listening to the news is extra challenging in a second language. Think about how fast the newscasters speak in English… yes, it’s the same in Spanish! By listening to the news in Spanish, you can fine-tune your ears to very difficult listening comprehension. This will be very helpful if you travel abroad or engage in conversation with native speakers. One of the most common complaints from language learners is that people speak too fast — but in reality, they’re just speaking at their natural speed.

  1. CNN en Español
    This is the Spanish version of CNN. You can read all of the same stories you can find in English.
  2. El Universal
    This is widely-read Mexican newspaper based in Mexico City.
  3. Hoy Los Angeles
    This is a Spanish-language newspaper based in Los Angeles, California.
  4. Diario las Americas
    This is a Spanish-language newspaper based in Miami, Florida. It covers national and international news.
  5. La Opinion
    This is another Spanish-language newspaper based in California. It covers U.S., Mexico, and some international news stories.

Online Spanish Resources - Music Channels

Music Channels

Learning Spanish is going to open your world up to an amazing collection of artists and music from so many different countries. Music styles vary from country to country, so you might want to try a little of each before you decide which type is your favorite.

Below are websites that stream online radio stations from the U.S. and all over the world in Spanish. You can find salsa, oldies, rock and roll, heavy metal… just about anything to listen to. For extra practice, when you find a song you enjoy, try looking up the lyrics and singing along.

  1. La Paz
    This is my favorite website for music because it divides the radio stations by country.
  2. TuneIn
    Choose from more than 20 music categories and even more radio stations to stream over the Internet.
  3. Live365.com
    This website features the top Latin radio stations from all over the U.S. Choose from many music categories and stream live.
  4. Last.fm
    This website lets you choose a specific artist to listen to. Check out Shakira, Enrique Iglesias, and Juanes!
  5. Surf Music
    This website lets you listen to radio stations from Spain. It has a long list of categories and includes styles of music from Europe.

Online Spanish Resources - Magazines

Spanish Magazines

Use whatever interests you to get some meaningful practice reading in Spanish! This strategy will help you learn vocabulary related to topics that you’re likely to talk about. Below are some popular magazine websites in their Spanish versions. If you don’t see your favorite magazine listed, try searching online for a Spanish version.

  1. People en Español
  2. National Geographic in Spanish
  3. Cosmo en Español
  4. Men’s Health
  5. Vogue Español

Online Spanish Resources - Misc Websites

Misc. Websites in Spanish

You can always keep immersing yourself by switching websites you already use to the Spanish version. Below are some websites that I use frequently, but if you don’t see any of your choices on the list, just try searching for them. You can always change your location in your account settings to a Spanish-speaking country to get the Spanish version by default as well.

  1. TripAdvisor
    If you’re like me, you obsessively check TripAdvisor reviews before booking any vacation. You can kill two birds with one stone by checking it in Spanish. You can go to any TA site in a Spanish-speaking country (the link here is Mexico) and still sign in with your original ID and password.
  2. Hotels.com
    There’s nothing better than reading authentic Spanish text with beautiful images to keep you interested. Build up your vocabulary quickly by checking amenities and hotel descriptions. Then, switch back to English to check your comprehension.
  3. Facebook
    Sign up for Facebook in Spanish or change your language settings to Spanish. Your friend’s English posts won’t change – but you’ll have the option to translate them into Spanish. And all of the buttons and links will be in Spanish, reinforcing your vocabulary a little bit each time you click me gusta.
  4. Yahoo! en Español
    Change your home page to Yahoo! in Spanish to get a daily dose of vocabulary and news headlines every time you log on.

How to Effectively Use Online Spanish Resources

As you explore these options for learning Spanish, keep in mind that one website or one method alone is not going to make you a master Spanish speaker. The best thing you can do is to work with a private Spanish tutor to help you navigate through all the resources available.

Private instructors can save you hours of frustration by explaining difficult grammar concepts in a way they know you’ll understand. In addition, your lessons will give you the opportunity to speak in Spanish and be corrected on the spot. Error correction is essential to learning a language, especially when it comes to pronunciation.

Beyond that, another key to immersing yourself in a language is to have meaningful, everyday experiences in it. This happens when you use the language in a real-life context: try writing messages, updating your social media status, making a phone call, or ordering in a restaurant in Spanish. Making a personal connection to the language in this way makes it more likely that you will retain the information.

Try to use as many of the different types of resources as you can, on a daily basis, and you’ll be amazed at how fast your vocabulary bank and knowledge expands! And if you’d like extra help, feel free to contact me through my TakeLessons profile for private lessons, or check out the online group Spanish classes I’m teaching here!

Post Author: Sara T.
Sara T. teaches Spanish, English, Anatomy, and more through online lessons. She has over five years of teaching experience and holds a Masters degree in Teaching and Learning with Technology, with a specialization as an online educator. Learn more about Sara here!

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15 Easy Ways to Practice Spanish Throughout the Day

15 Easy Ways to Practice SpanishThroughout the Day

Learning a new language shouldn’t be limited to textbooks and coursework! Here, tutor Kaitlin W. shares her (easy) ideas for practicing Spanish throughout the day… 

 

I don’t come from a Spanish-speaking family, nor is my family from a country where Spanish is spoken. Yet every time I open my mouth to speak Spanish, I’m asked where I am from.

I have a near-native accent that leaves little trace of my Anglo roots. I often make people guess what country I’m from, and I’ve heard everything from Spain to Cuba! Students always want to know my secret. How did I manage to essentially eradicate my native accent and achieve a level of pronunciation that native speakers themselves envy?

Below are a few of the ways that I created my own self-immersion program. By including these activities in your everyday life, you can learn and practice Spanish without feeling like it’s homework!

Practice Reading in Spanish1

Practice Reading in Spanish

1. Change the language on your devices

Consider changing your phone, computer, tablet, Facebook page, and anything else with a language option to Spanish. This is an easy way to practice Spanish, since you’ll see more of the vocabulary on a daily basis.

For example, every time you look at your phone, you’ll see the date in Spanish, reinforcing the days of the week and months of the year. Facebook will ask you if you would like to agregar amigos, teaching you the verb that means “to add.”

Seeing a few of the same words over and over again will help the language feel more natural to you, and you’ll find it becomes easier to incorporate them into everyday life with very little effort involved!

2. Research in Spanish

How many times a day do you Google something that you’re curious about? I use Wikipedia at least once a day, and I always go for the Spanish version of the website first. Next time you need information about your favorite celebrity, look at their page in Spanish and see how much you can understand before switching the language to English!

3. Pick up a Spanish newspaper

In most cities, these can be found for free on the street. You can also download apps and read the news on your phone. I recommend El País, an international newspaper from Spain. I like to read the articles out loud to practice Spanish pronunciation in addition to my reading skills. This is also a great way to stay informed about what is happening in Spanish-speaking countries.

4. Read a book in Spanish

I recommend beginning with teen literature or popular novels that don’t have a lot of challenging vocabulary. You can also start with poetry, which is challenging but shorter. Pablo Neruda is one of the most famous Spanish-language poets of the 20th century, and he has written beautiful love poems, such as “If You Forget Me” (Si tú me olvidas).

Another great idea is to pick a book in English that you like and read the translation. All of the Harry Potter books are available in Spanish, as well as other popular novels such as “The Da Vinci Code”, “The Life of Pi”, and “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”. You can find anything on Amazon!

As you build your vocabulary, try some books that were originally written in Spanish. I really enjoyed “La Sombra del Viento” by Carlos Ruíz Zafón. This popular book uses some advanced vocabulary, but mainly tries to use common words in unconventional ways, making it a very satisfying read for a conversational Spanish speaker. Be sure to read with a dictionary and make note of new and interesting words!

5. Take notice of signs and brochures in Spanish

Depending on where you are, you might see signs in Spanish — pay attention to these! If you purchase an item with directions listed in Spanish, try reading those too. You can do this with shampoo bottles while you’re in the shower, as well.

6. Play games in Spanish

Once your phone is in Spanish, many of your games will appear in Spanish, too. Trivia games force you to be quick on your feet as you practice Spanish, as many of them are timed. If that isn’t your speed, WordBrain offers an interesting vocabulary challenge in Spanish!

(Editor’s Note: Check out some other tutor-approved Spanish apps and games here!)

Practice Listening in Spanish

Practice Listening in Spanish

7. Watch Univisión, Telemundo, and Netflix

Don’t knock telenovelas until you try them! Netflix and Hulu now offer shows and movies in Spanish, some of which include English subtitles so you can check how much you understand. You can also watch your favorite movies with Spanish subtitles.

As for telenovelas, I recommend the ones from Mexico. The production value is higher than other Latin American countries and the accent is faint. They speak a pure Spanish. Typically, accents of Colombia, Argentina, and Chile are harder to understand if you’re just getting started.

Don’t have Netflix or Hulu? Try watching Univisión or Telemundo! I love Caso Cerrado, a Spanish-language Judge Judy!

8. Get Spanish language music for your daily commute

Why not practice Spanish during your commute? Singing along to songs will help your pronunciation and helps you begin to think in Spanish. Make an effort to learn the lyrics!

You can get music in any genre in Spanish, just like in English. If you like soft rock, I suggest Maná. For reggaetón, a Spanish rap, try Don Omar. You might recognize “Danza Kuduro”! Juanes is great for pop music, and for salsa, try listening to Marc Anthony, Celia Cruz, and Juan Luis Guerra. My favorite artist, however, is a jazzy Mexican rock group called Camila!

9. Listen to podcasts in Spanish

While you’re sitting at your desk, in your car on your way to work, or at home cooking dinner, put on a podcast in Spanish. It could be one aimed at teaching Spanish or a Spanish-language podcast about another topic.

For learning conversational Spanish, I recommend Coffee Break Spanish, which focuses on conversations for traveling abroad, like how to order coffee! If you are a true beginner, SpanishPod101 is another great one. They have all levels of Spanish for any student!

Practice Writing in Spanish

Practice Writing in Spanish

10. Write your shopping list in Spanish

Before you head out to buy something, look up the things you need to purchase and make a list in Spanish! As you find your items in the store and cross it off your list, actively think about the new word and associate it with the item you’ve just picked up. This is how I learned a lot of Spanish vocabulary for food!

11. Write a blog in Spanish

Whether you write a public blog or a more traditional private journal, writing is a great way to practice Spanish. You can write about any topic that you are interested in, which makes your learning experience fun and personalized. You could also make it as simple as writing about your day. Taking a few minutes to practice your Spanish writing is a great way to keep your mind thinking in the language and to pick up on any grammatical issues you may be having.

12. Get a Spanish-speaking pen pal

There are many websites, like iTalki, that connect you to people who are trying to learn English. I have met friends in Colombia and Chile this way, and we are still Facebook friends to this day! You can send emails or texts, or use Skype to practice reading, writing, speaking, and listening.

Practice speaking in Spanish

Practice Speaking in Spanish

13. Visit Hispanic bodegas and supermarkets

If you enjoy cooking, you may have fun shopping at Hispanic supermarkets and buying ingredients to make dishes from Spanish-speaking countries. If you can’t find the item you’re looking for, ask an employee for help in Spanish!

14. Talk in Spanish… even if you’re alone!

Those moments when you don’t have anyone to speak with may be your best opportunity to really speak without inhibitions! Take advantage of alone time to speak out loud, even if no one is there to correct you. As long as you are practicing the sounds of the language, you are making progress! Speak your thoughts, narrate your day, and talk to your dog! We all do weird things when we’re alone… why not make your weird thing productive?

15. Teach someone what you already know

Teaching can be a great way to reinforce the knowledge that you already have without even realizing that you’re doing it. When you have to search for ways to explain something to someone, you’re actually explaining it to yourself all over again! This can be as simple as teaching your friends and family what you’ve learned.

 

I continue many of these rituals daily to keep my Spanish as strong as ever. I also give my students resources to implement their own immersion programs. Everyone has different reasons for learning a language, and it’s important for students to know that they have control over their learning process and can tailor their experience to fit their needs. You control your learning, so make it fun!

Post Author: Kaitlin W.
Kaitlin W. teaches in-home and online Spanish lessons in Medford, NJ. She holds a Bachelors degree in Spanish from The College of New Jersey. Kaitlin aspires to be a professional Spanish teacher and would love to help you succeed in learning Spanish. Learn more about Kaitlin here!

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15 MORE of the Best Tutor-Approved Spanish Apps

15 best Spanish learning appsWe’ve reviewed some of the most popular Spanish learning apps out there — but there’s always more to talk about! Read on as tutor Breeana D. shares her recommendations for 15 MORE of the best Spanish learning apps to check out…

 

These days, it’s easier than ever to learn Spanish. When you’re not getting conversation practice in with your tutor, apps are an excellent way to review things like cognates, vocab and grammar. And since Spanish learning apps can be accessed 24/7, you can practice alone — any time, and practically anywhere — while having fun at the same time!

If you’re curious about the BEST Spanish learning apps, though, I’ve compiled the list below to check out. Here are my reviews of 15 useful, affordable, and worthwhile Spanish learning apps for either Android, iOS, or both:

Click on these links to scroll down to the section of your choosing:

Android Spanish Learning Apps


1) Spanish in Pictures: Food by Mind GA  [Android]

This app offers a dictionary of vocabulary for the following categories: foods, drinks, spices, vegetables, fruits, meat, and seafood. After learning the Spanish vocabulary (which includes pictures and audio), you can test your knowledge by clicking on “words to pictures” or “pictures to words.” This is great for catering to different learning styles. (Hint: Take this learning styles quiz to determine yours!)

From a tutor’s perspective:

I like this app because it has a variety of food vocabulary and pictures; however, they do not provide the English words for any of their pictures or Spanish words. So this app may be difficult to use if you are not familiar with certain fruits, veggies, spices, drinks, and food. For instance, a picture of la alcachofa (artichoke) is listed under vegetables with no English word beside it.


2) Spanish Word of the Day by Declan Software [Android]

This free app teaches you a new Spanish word each day. You can also click on the word, which has the English word beneath, and hear a pre-recorded voice say it.

From a tutor’s perspective:

This app is a simple and useful tool to enhance your Spanish vocabulary and to impress your tutor! However, one precaution to keep in mind is that practicing words in isolation is not as useful as using them in context. Your tutor can help you establish an appropriate context for the word of the day.


3) Learn Spanish with SpeakTribe by Edushire [Android]

Before you begin using this app, you’ll be asked to choose your current level of Spanish: absolute beginner, a few words at most, can read somewhat, can follow slow speech, or can speak basic language. You’re also asked to input your age and why you would like to learn Spanish (for social reasons, academically, etc).

After you’ve gone through the set-up, this Spanish learning app quizzes you on the basics, such as conversational Spanish and grammar. It has 29 levels, and levels one through four are free. The higher the level, the more difficult the learning; for example, Levels 15+ focus on commands, adverbs, and the imperfect and subjunctive tenses. If you want to spend more time practicing your grammar, this is the app for you!

From a tutor’s perspective:

The flexibility of this app makes it an attractive learning tool for students of all ability levels. Even the levels that aren’t free are worth the price, as the lessons are great for reviewing important concepts!


4) Spanish for Kids by D.G.S. [Android]

Spanish for Kids, or Español para Niños, is a great Spanish learning app for kids! Users can learn the Spanish alphabet, numbers one through 10, colors, animals, clothing, and much more.

As you are learning the vocabulary words, you click on the pictures to hear the Spanish word. You can also play it in a “game” mode, which can be really fun! Overall, it’s a colorful and engaging app with a lot of categories.

From a tutor’s perspective:

While this app is kid-friendly with its colorful appearance and fun activities, beginner students of any age will benefit from this app, as it focuses on the fundamentals.

 

iOS Spanish Learning Apps


1) Learn Spanish + by Vidalingua [iOS]

Learning Spanish + is great because it goes beyond just seeing pictures or hearing a recorded voice. The pronunciation features allows you to enable your microphone and practice speaking yourself with the voice recognition feature. There are also quizzes and games you can play within each category to make sure you really understand.

From a tutor’s perspective:

The voice recognition feature can be a bit tricky to use. However, the categories they include are much more helpful than your basic greetings and animal names. They include real world situations such as “At the Airbnb” or “At the Market,” although some of these categories are under the paid version.

2) Basic Spanish by Greg Vick [iOS]

This app is my personal favorite. It offers several free activities that cover many different topics. Basic Spanish has 27 free categories from which to choose — including directions, sports, clothing, feelings, and health. Each category includes a study list, a memory game, flashcards, a quiz, word exercises, listening activities, meaning matching, spelling, and a review list. You can also see your score at the end of each activity.

From a tutor’s perspective:

With 27 free categories, you’re sure to find an area that is useful to your study needs! In addition, the app provides ample activities with a great deal of depth.


3) Mirai Spanish by Mirai LLP [iOS]

Mirai Spanish has 20 chapters, each with five lessons. The lessons focus on vocabulary, pronunciation, and grammar. Each lesson includes background information about the topic, a summary list, vocabulary list, and a quiz. Chapters one through four are free, and the other chapters can be purchased.

From a tutor’s perspective:

This app will be most beneficial for students who enjoy a more formal way of learning. There are no games.


4) Cat Spanish by Memrise [iOS]

This free app teaches you conversational Spanish, with a focus on grammar, by using pictures of cats and an activity called, “chat practice.” In this activity, you match Spanish phrases with pictures of the cats. For instance, there may be a picture of a cat eating fish and the phrase under it will say, “es delicioso” (it’s delicious).

After learning the new phrases, you can apply your skills with chat practice.  During chat practice, you “text” another cat by responding to his questions and selecting from phrases you’ve learned during the picture lesson.

From a tutor’s perspective: This is a good way to practice engaging in conversational Spanish. It is also purrfect for cat lovers.


5) Lingo Cat by Lingo Cat [iOS]

Lingo Cat is a free app with 10 categories, including los colores (the colors) and la hora (the time). It includes a dictionary that lists and describes all of the words included in the app, and each category includes several activities to practice Spanish vocabulary. At the end of each activity, you receive a grade based on your performance.

From a tutor’s perspective:

This app’s inviting and invigorating music and sounds keep users engaged, which makes it much easier to remember your daily practice! It offers lessons in several categories, and some activities as well.


6) Learn Spanish with Lingo Arcade by Alligator Apps [iOS]

This app costs $4.99 to benefit from all of their 150 levels. Levels one and two are free. Each level has a timed vocabulary game. As you play, you will hear a Spanish word and have to click the correct picture before the time runs out.

From a tutor’s perspective:

I like this app for practicing basic vocabulary. The voice is pretty monotone, but the pressure of the time limit offers enough positive stress to work up “brain sweat.”

 

Android and iOS Spanish Learning Apps


1) Learn Spanish Quickly by Priya Yerunkar [Android]||[iOS]

This app has 33 categories, from body parts to colors to numbers! Simply click on the picture category and the words that you want to learn to hear a native speaker pronounce it in a clear voice.

From a tutor’s perspective:

I would definitely recommend this app to a student who wants to learn basic Spanish words quickly, due to its wide range of categories.


2) Learn Spanish by Bravolol [Android]||[iOS]

Learn Spanish has 24 categories that focus on Spanish vocabulary and phrases. Nine of those categories are free, including lessons on greetings, shopping, driving, sightseeing, weather, and eating. You can access the other categories through a free trial, or you can purchase them for $4.99.

Each category lists vocabulary and phrases that are said out loud when clicked. You can also repeat the phrase or word while recording your voice to make sure your pronunciation is accurate.

From a tutor’s perspective:

While other apps may be more colorful and exciting, this app allows you to practice your accent and Spanish pronunciation — a must for conversing with native speakers.


3) FluentU by FluentU [Android]||[iOS] 

Fluent U engages you in the Spanish learning process by using interactive tools, such as music videos and the news. The videos can be played with the Spanish translations appearing underneath, and you can click on any word to read the English definition.

From a tutor’s perspective:

This app is great for Spanish students who enjoy popular culture. Teens will especially appreciate the social relevance of this trendy app.


4) Spanish Class by Cognitecco [Android]||[iOS]

The free demo for this app includes reference material (vocabulary, verbs, grammar, and phrases) and four exercises (vocabulary, verbs, grammar, and listening). The full version can be purchased for $2.99. Each activity has multiple-choice responses that incorporate reading; there are no recordings for either questions or answer options. Each activity also has a reference page or “article” which explains the correct answer.

From a tutor’s perspective:

This app has no bells and whistles. It gets the job done; students who don’t mind the silence will find it useful.


5) Speak Easy by Pocketglow Inc. [Android]||[iOS]

Speak Easy is an excellent app for students, especially those who travel! It teaches greetings, basic phrases, travel essentials, and more. Each Spanish word shows the English word above it, as well as the phonetic spelling below, and an audio recording. The free app has more than 100 free words and phrases to learn, and the full version (with 750 more words and phrases) can be purchased for $3.99.

From a tutor’s perspective:

If you are going abroad to a Spanish-speaking country, this is the app for you. It doesn’t have any games, however, so keep that in mind if you need interactive activities to stay engaged.


6) Learn Spanish by Codegent Ltd [Android]||[iOS]

This free app teaches more than 200 words and phrases, with audio recordings from native speakers. Students who want to practice their accent will benefit from this app.

From a tutor’s perspective:

This app is ad-free, which is great! It’s especially helpful for travelers, because it includes traveling tips.


These 15 best Spanish learning apps are sure to assist you in your language endeavors! If these apps don’t interest you, try checking with your Spanish tutor to see if he or she has more recommendations. And of course, consider your learning style and goals as you practice on your own. Good luck!

Which apps do you use and recommend? Let us know by leaving a comment below! 

Breeana D.Post Author: Breeana D.
Breeana D. teaches Spanish lessons in Abington, PA. Specializing in Early Childhood, Elementary, and Special Education, she is currently enrolled in Temple University’s Elementary Education program. Learn more about Breeana here!

 

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50 Free Resources for Teaching Spanish to Kids

50+ Free Online Resources for Teaching Spanish to Kids

50 Free Resources for Teaching Spanish to Kids - Worksheets, Games, and More

Teaching kids Spanish doesn’t need to be difficult. Whether you homeschool your child or you simply want them to become worldly citizens, learning Spanish will benefit them tremendously. In fact, raising a child bilingual is one of the best educational decisions a parent can make.

Why Should You Teach Spanish to Kids?

Childhood is the perfect time to learn a new language. As early as infancy, we learn language by listening. Frequent exposure to different words and sounds fosters and develops these skills. As we get older, however, it gets harder and harder to learn and retain new languages.

The benefits of being bilingual are vast, and by teaching your child from an early age, he or she will be at an advantage over their peers. Even a basic knowledge of a second language can help them immensely when they get to high school or college courses and dive deeper into more advanced Spanish grammar and vocabulary. Later in life, being bilingual can even lead to more job opportunities, a wider cultural understanding, and even a higher salary.

So, where should you start? Below are some great options for you to explore, from websites with learning modules to fun and addictive online Spanish games for kids. And if you don’t speak Spanish yourself, don’t worry — you can learn together!

Feel free to jump ahead by category with these links:

50 Free Resources for Teaching Spanish to Kids - Spanish Websites for Kids

Spanish Websites for Kids

  1. 1 2 3 Teach Me
    This is a great site with pronunciation guides (audio), flashcards, videos, songs, lyrics, and more. For vocabulary in particular, check out these flashcards.
  2. SpanishDict
    Here you can find interactive flashcards to teach kids the Spanish words for colors, clothing, numbers, and more!
  3. Digital Dialects
    This site is full of fun, easy-to-play games that teach Spanish grammar, vocabulary, and conversation skills. The Spanish games cover a wide range of topics, including greetings, colors, numbers, foods, units of time, animals, and clothing.
  4. GeoCom for Kids
    This is a fun-filled site featuring games, animations, coloring books, and printables for learning Spanish.
  5. Salsa
    This is a children’s TV show that is free to watch online. It’s all in Spanish, but it includes a translation of each episode. There are also a few games and activities for kids to play.
  6. BBC’s Mi Vida Loca
    Mi Vida Loca is another free Spanish TV show, but it’s meant for older kids. The series includes lessons and learning activities, as well as a teacher’s guide and syllabus to follow.
  7. Rockalingua
    This subscription-based site also offers a lot of free content, including songs, videos, games, and picture dictionaries.
  8. Online Free Spanish
    This site is full of resources in Spanish from level one up to advanced. It includes songs, vocabulary, and grammar lessons.
  9. Spanish Town
    This site has several different activities to learn Spanish, including crosswords, word finders, tests, and lessons in vocabulary and grammar.
  10. Spanish Playground
    This site includes vocabulary lessons, songs, printables, crafts, activities, books, and more.
  11. BookBox
    Bookbox offers online books available in different languages. Your kids can build reading and listening skills while they listen to stories with Spanish subtitles.
  12. Calico Spanish
    Calico Spanish is a wonderful resource for elementary Spanish curriculum. In addition to their classroom and homeschool materials, they offer free online Spanish videos via YouTube.
  13. PBS Kids
    Noah is the protagonist of the PBS Kids digital series Oh Noah! The series is designed to introduce children ages four through seven to Spanish in an entertaining way.
  14. Story Place
    Toggle over to the Spanish version of the site for books and activities in Spanish.
  15. Spanish Simply
    This blog, written by an elementary Spanish teacher, has some great ideas for activities that work for in-home practice as well!
  16. BBC
    This BBC site features vocabulary lessons, games, videos, photos, and songs.
  17. Hello World Spanish
    This website has more than 700 free Spanish games and activities, including logic puzzles, matching games, and bingo.

Fluent in Spanish? The following websites offer games and activities for kids — but they’re all in Spanish, so you’ll need to know how to speak it yourself!

  1. 9 Letras
    This is a blog by Alberto Abarca Fillat of Huesca, Spain. Alberto shares his free elementary Spanish resources, along with several printable activities for young Spanish learners.
  2. Pakapaka
    This site features activities, games, videos, stories, printables, and tongue-twisters!
  3. Make Beliefs Comics
    Have some ideas for what you want to teach your kids? Use these blank comic templates to create your own lessons!
  4. Educapeques
    This site offers exercises categorized by grades and subjects.
  5. Proble+
    Math word problems are excellent reading comprehension practice! Proble+ (pronounced proble-mas) offers engaging online games that combine Spanish reading comprehension and basic math skills.
  6. Chile Crece Contigo
    Created by the Chilean government, this site offers online games for preschoolers. The games are an excellent introduction to preschool vocabulary and concepts for Spanish language-learners.
  7. Manualidades con Niños
    This is the Spanish companion site to SimpleKidsCrafts, featuring hundreds of short tutorials for simple crafts with Spanish audio. Try having your kids watch a video and translate the Spanish, then use the language you heard while completing the craft.
  8. Discovery FamiliaThe Spanish version of Discovery Family offers videos, games, and printable activities in Spanish.
  9. Chillola
    Learning Spanish is easy here with lots of games (with audio) and free printable resources for parents.
  10. Disney
    Check out the Spanish version of Disney’s official website to play a variety of games and watch video clips!
  11. El Abuelo Educa
    This is a great site to learn Spanish, with lessons and games categorized by topics (math, geography, etc.).
  12. Enchanted Learning
    This site features fun activities, printables, and a vocabulary builder.
  13. Cuentos Interactivos
    This site has interactive stories for intermediate and advanced Spanish speakers.

50 Free Resources for Teaching Spanish to Kids - Spanish Websites for Kids

Looking for worksheets, games, videos, or vocabulary specifically? Check out the lists below for direct links.

Spanish Worksheets for Kids

  1. Gus on the Go 
    This site offers several free Spanish printables and worksheets, including numbers flashcards and an animal vocabulary fortune teller. They also offer a great app for $3.99 (available for both iOS and Android), in which kids interact with Gus, an adorable owl character, for games and vocab lessons.
  2. Spanish4Teachers
    Although this site is geared toward Spanish teachers, many of these worksheets offered are simple enough for parents to understand and use with kids.
  3. GeoCom for Kids Printables
    View and print vocabulary activities organized by themes like animals and seasons.
  4. Rockalingua Worksheets
    These worksheets also teach Spanish vocabulary, including words for seasons, colors, numbers, and weather.
  5. OnlineFreeSpanish Coloring Pages
    Download and print these coloring pages to learn numbers, animals, and more.
  6. SpanishTown Vocabulary Sheets
    Practice vocabulary with these printable activities and worksheets.
  7. Enchanted Learning Printables
    Here you can find short, printable books to practice vocabulary and Spanish reading comprehension.
  8. Living Montessori Now
    Check out Deb’s list of free Spanish printables and Montessori-inspired activities for some great ideas!
  9. Spanish411 Printable Resources
    This site offers maps, charts, activity sheets, handouts, games, and posters.
  10. Memorizing the Moments Spanish Resources
    Here you’ll find flashcards and lessons created by Kaysha, who blogs about early education.
  11. Nick Jr Dora Flashcards
    Learn simple Spanish greetings with these flashcards featuring Dora and all her friends.
  12. Boca Beth Free Bilingual Resources
    Boca Beth offers free language card downloads, as well as coloring and activity pages.

Spanish Games for Kids

Free Spanish Games for Kids

  1. 123TeachMe Games
    This is a great list of links to interactive games on other sites, such as Sid the Science Kid on PBS Kids.
  2. GPB Kids
    Practice vocabulary with the interactive games and coloring books here.
  3. Rockalingua Games
    This site has interactive games for learning about colors, numbers, feelings, and more.
  4. Spanish Playground Toys and Games
    Here you’ll find printables and online games, as well as app recommendations for kids.
  5. Calico Spanish Flashcard Games
    Flashcard games, matching games, and concentration games for beginner Spanish learners.
  6. Oh Noah! Games
    Check out these interactive games with the same characters as in the videos.
  7. Spanish Games
    Choose a topic, learn with tutorials, and then select from seven free Spanish games to practice.

Spanish Videos for Kids

Spanish Videos for Kids

  1. Calico Spanish
    This website features paid curriculum programs, but also offers tons of great free videos on their YouTube channel.
  2. 123TeachMe
    Here you’ll find short stories, along with questions that test your child’s understanding of the stories.
  3. BBC’s Mi Vida Loca series
    BBC offers this interactive video drama and Spanish course geared toward older kids who are beginners.
  4. Rockalingua Videos
    These Spanish videos for kids include songs about numbers, colors, feelings, parts of the body, and much more.
  5. Spanish Playground Videos
    On this site you can explore many clips with easy vocabulary for kids.
  6. Oh Noah!
    Young kids will love this video series featuring Noah and his language-learning adventures.

Spanish Vocabulary for Kids

Spanish Vocabulary for Kids

  1. Rockalingua Picture Dictionaries
    Review easy Spanish words for kids with these worksheets to color.
  2. 19 Easy Spanish Vocabulary Words to Teach Your Kids
    Check out TakeLessons’ handy guide and infographic with Spanish words for kids!
  3. Spanish Town Vocabulary
    Here you’ll find vocabulary with audio, as well as printable vocabulary sheets in PDF form.

Bilingual Parenting Blogs

Bonus Spanish Resources

  1. Billboard Latino
    Check out the charts for the top Latin artists, then use Spotify to stream them online at home! (See also: How to Use Fun, Creative Songs to Teach Spanish to Kids)
  2. YouTube
    Explore Latin music videos and additional Spanish lessons — simply enter your search terms and see what’s out there! (Hint: Check out Señor Jordan’s channel — one of our favorites!)
  3. Wikibooks
    This open-source Wikimedia project is designed to extend educational material to anyone willing to learn it. The website’s Spanish section starts off with basic conversation and grammar lessons, which gradually increase in complexity.
  4. ¡Hola Viajeros!
    This site provides a series of free audiobooks in slow Spanish along with transcripts. By listening to the audio while reading the transcripts, you and your children will quickly learn Spanish pronunciations, inflections, and other nuances.
  5. Amy Leonard’s Pinterest Boards
    If you’d like to create your own curriculum for your kids, this Spanish teacher’s resources are a fantastic place to start. Her website has additional worksheets and lessons.
  6. Pimsleur Approach
    Another great site for creating your own curriculum, where you can find tons of helpful links and resources for teaching Spanish.

Bilingual Parenting Blogs

Bilingual Parenting Blogs

Finally, want a little inspiration as you teach your child another language? The following are a few bilingual bloggers we love:

  • Latinaish
    Married to a man from El Salvador and raising two sons, blogger Tracy shares her insight on Spanish language, culture, food, and family.
  • Mommy Maestra
    Written by a homeschooling Latina, Monica, this blog is an amazing resource for anyone raising or teaching bilingual, bicultural kids.
  • All Done Monkey
    Leanna writes wonderful articles on language and culture in a balanced and inspiring approach to parenting.
  • Spanglish House
    In this blog, Cece, a Bolivian mom in the U.S., shares her experiences keeping her language and culture alive for her children.
  • Discovering The World Through My Son’s Eyes
    Written by a Puerto Rican mom, Frances, this blog is full of resources and inspiration for raising children with two languages.
  • A Life With Subtitles
    In this blog, Sarah, a mom married to a man from Guatemala, shares her family’s experiences and her insight in funny, yet moving articles.
  • Juan of Words
    Juan, Anjelica, and son Edgar share their experiences in the leading U.S./Hispanic Lifestyle blog on Mexican living.
  • Los Gringos Locos
    In this blog, Tina shares funny stories about living abroad in Mexico with her husband and four kiddos.
  • Españolita
    Living in the US but raising a bilingual daughter, Audrey blogs about Montessori education, parenting, language tips, and more.

What other Spanish websites, games, and worksheets did we miss? Let us know in the comments and we’ll add it in. Want to take it a step further? Consider signing your child up for private Spanish tutoring for additional practice and customized lesson plans. Make learning fun, and you’ll set your child up for success!

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Learning Spanish by Budget Cost

Want to Learn Spanish? 5 Options Broken Down By Cost

You probably already know the benefits of learning Spanish, from getting ahead in the job market to networking with new friends and more! But as with any skill, language mastery takes time — and often money — to achieve.

If you’re wondering how much it costs to learn Spanish, there isn’t one hard-set answer — it really depends on how you’re going about your learning. These days, the Internet makes it easy to find resources to even teach yourself Spanish, without needing a ton of expensive books or software. If you’re on-the-go, free Spanish-learning apps can be a fun way to fit learning into your day.

And when you’re ready to get serious about your studies, the advent of online lesson platforms makes finding a tutor within your budget easier than ever.

So, what’s the right option for you and your budget? Continue reading to learn about five popular options to help you teach yourself Spanish.

Software

computer software for learning Spanish

The modern version of a workbook is language learning software. While there are many available out there, the most well-known option is Rosetta Stone.

Language software is a great option if you want to set your schedule — sitting down whenever you have some spare time — however, the biggest drawback is the lack of personal attention. You won’t be able to double check of your pronunciation with the software, so you’ll need to rely on your own ear to determine whether you’re getting the syntax and pronunciation correct.

This kind of software can cost you from $30 for a budget option up to a few hundred dollars for a comprehensive study of Spanish.

Example option: Rosetta Stone is the most popular option at $499 for a 36-month beginner program.

Books

learning Spanish with books

This language-learning option was around well before computers, the Internet, or smartphones. A well-crafted book will allow you to learn a language without purchasing multiple resources and building a considerable expense, and similar to software, you can go at your own pace.

Keep in mind, though, that books share the same drawbacks as software as well. Most books will have quizzes or tests at the end of each chapter, but it’s difficult to really gauge your progress outside of that. On top of this, you won’t have the audio that software provides — typically just a phonetic spelling that you’ll need to decipher.

Books can be as inexpensive as $5 secondhand, or over $100 for a textbook.

Example option: Easy Spanish Step-By-Step is a top seller on Amazon, and the paperback version can cost less than $8.

Mobile Apps

learning spanish with apps

Nowadays, there’s an app for everything — including tons of apps for learning Spanish. Language-learning apps are quite similar to software, but they are obviously much more portable. It’s an easy option for quick study during your commute, on your breaks, or anywhere else that you bring your smartphone or tablet. In addition to being portable, many of these apps are free.

On the drawback side, however — keep in mind that these apps typically set your path for you and assume your goals. Because of this, you might get stuck at a certain “level,” even if what you really want (or need) to learn is introduced much later on.

Mobile apps may be free and ad-supported, or require a monthly subscription of $5 up to $40 or even more.

Example option: Downloading SpeakEasy Spanish costs $4.99. The app is available on both iOS and Android.

Online Learning Websites

learning spanish with websites

Don’t want to install software or download an app? Another learning method comes in the form of websites or tutorial videos. It shares the same drawbacks as apps and software, in that they’re not targeted to your specific goals. While there are certainly some great sites out there, there’s also a handful of not-so-great options — ones that rely on memorization and repetition, instead of real-life scenarios for learning.

Online resources can also be free and ad-supported, or require a monthly subscription of $10 to $50 or more.

Example options: Check out LearnWithOliver, or our other recommendations for Spanish-learning websites for adults, or free Spanish-learning websites for kids.

Tutoring

Learning Spanish by Budget Cost

Whether you seek an online tutor that you meet over video chat, or an in-person tutor that you meet with regularly, tutors are easily the most bang-for-your-buck.

You have complete control over the pace of your learning (your tutor will monitor progress and only proceed when you have mastered the current Spanish segment), instantaneous feedback on pronunciation errors, and the ability to ask questions about anything that you’re having trouble with. As you’re weighing options and considering how much a tutor will cost, it’s important to realize how much more you’re getting for the expense.

Tutors with TakeLessons set their own rates, which gives you a wide variety of options. You can typically find tutors for as little as $15 per hour up to $100 per hour, depending on experience.

Example option: A native Spanish speaker and TakeLessons Student Favorite, Georgina L. teaches beginners, intermediate, and advanced students at $30 per hour.

Teach Yourself Spanish - Options by Budget

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So there you have it — several options for learning Spanish, all at your fingertips! Best of luck with your studies, and let us know if you need any help getting started. Going the tutoring route? Find Spanish tutors in your area and compare prices with a search here at TakeLessons!

Photos by Devon D’EwartLexnGerTom RafteryS MartinJeremy Wilburn

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5 Free & Fun Spanish-Learning Websites for Kids

5 Fantastic and Free Spanish Websites for Kids

5 Free & Fun Spanish-Learning Websites for Kids

Looking for resources on learning Spanish for kids? There are so many strategies for teaching Spanish to kids that it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with all the options.

To help you in your search, we’ve compiled some of the best, top-rated websites to learn Spanish for kids below. These are websites that your child can visit daily and expect to discover something new and exciting each time. All five of these Spanish websites for kids include activities that are fun, and best of all – free!

5 Free Websites to Learn Spanish for Kids

1. OnlineFreeSpanish

5 Free & Fun Spanish-Learning Websites for Kids

OnlineFreeSpanish is one of our personal favorites for learning Spanish for kids. Based on your child’s familiarity with Spanish, you can adjust the difficulty level from beginner to intermediate or advanced. The site includes 19 lessons that are precursors to several activities and fun games.

Parents can even print out coloring pages related to each of the lessons! Your young scholar will quickly learn Spanish vocabulary relating to farm animals, the seasons, emotions, schools supplies, and more.

2. ABCYA

5 Free & Fun Spanish-Learning Websites for Kids

ABCYA teaches elementary school students a multitude of subjects. On their Spanish page, you will find two exciting carnival-like games to enhance your child’s skills.

Spanish Word Bingo has 11 categories to choose from, which feature more than 200 vocabulary words and phrases. Spanish Word Toss also has 11 categories to choose from, including animals, months of the year, and transportation. We recommend these games for Spanish learners in first grade and up.

3. Digital Dialects

5 Free & Fun Spanish-Learning Websites for Kids

Digital Dialects is great for older, middle school aged kids. Learning Spanish for kids is different than learning it as an adult, and perhaps more fun with engaging websites like this one!

On Digital Dialects, students can practice greetings, verb conjugations, units of time, and more with fun and interactive games.

4. PBS

5 Free & Fun Spanish-Learning Websites for Kids

PBS is well known for its learning programs, and this is no exception! The “Oh Noah!” videos are sure to build your child’s Spanish vocabulary. Learners will discover the Spanish language through activities, games, and videos along with the relatable star character, Noah, who lives with his grandmother in a Spanish-speaking neighborhood.

Each activity and game uses a variety of useful Spanish vocabulary. Your kids will learn how to use adjectives like colors, how to discuss chores, and more.

5. Rocklingua

rockalingua

When it comes to learning Spanish for kids, this site is a must-have. Rocklingua is a multi-faceted learning site run by teachers, musicians, animators, and computer programmers.

Through songs, games, worksheets, videos, and a picture dictionary, your child will build his or her foundation in the Spanish language. The free songs and games are clearly labeled, and other learning opportunities on the site are available for purchase.

Keep in mind that all of these websites, though great resources, are not the same as Spanish lessons for kids. In order for your child to be truly invested in learning the Spanish language, he or she will need a Spanish teacher.

These websites work best when used as supplemental tools to help your child practice the material taught by his or her Spanish tutor. A tutor may also have additional recommendations, such as Spanish learning apps, for making practice fun and engaging.

Breeana D.Post Author: Breeana D.
Breeana D. teaches Spanish lessons in Abington, PA. Specializing in Early Childhood, Elementary, and Special Education, she is currently enrolled in Temple University’s Elementary Education program. Learn more about Breeana here!

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teaching spanish to kids

11 Free (& Fun!) Resources for Teaching Spanish to Kids

teaching spanish to kids

Are you a parent interested in teaching Spanish to your kids? You’ve made a big — but fantastic — decision!

Studies have shown the benefits of being bilingual in today’s society; not only will you be making an impact on your child’s communication skills and cognitive abilities, raising your child bilingual will help set him or her up for success later on in life.

Teaching Spanish to kids is easy if you speak the language yourself, but where do you start if you don’t already speak it? It’s a wonderful opportunity to learn Spanish at the same time as your kids (benefiting you both), but you’ll need to find the right resources to do so. And if you’re on a budget? You might think it will be even harder — after all, Spanish-learning software can be expensive… and weekly tutoring lessons might be too much of a commitment if you’re not sure you’ll stick with it.

Luckily, thanks to the Internet, it’s never been easier to teach a new language to your kids and yourself at the same time. To get a jump on bilingualism, hone your language skills with the following helpful resources.

Spanish Learning Apps

There are so many apps to learn Spanish available these days — and many of them are completely free. These apps can provide a great introduction to the language, and many of them have games that are fun for kids and adults alike. Here are some of our favorites:

Wikibooks

If you don’t have the money for Spanish textbooks, phrase books, and flashcards, don’t worry. All of the same instructional benefits are available for free from Wikibooks, an open-source Wikimedia project designed to extend educational material to anyone willing to learn it. The website’s Spanish section starts off with basic conversation and grammar lessons, which gradually increase in complexity over time. Spend an hour a day on Wikibooks lessons and you and your child will master basic Spanish conversations in no time.

Spanish Learning Websites

There are tons of fantastic websites that offer easy-to-follow lessons on vocabulary, grammar, and more. We love FluentU; with your free account, you’ll get limited access to Spanish videos and clips, along with subtitles to help you learn how vocabulary and phrases come together in real-world contexts. Paid accounts for unlimited watching and listening start at $8/month.

SpanishDict is another great website for teaching Spanish to kids, with more of a focus on vocabulary and grammar. The interactive flashcards make it fun to learn the words for colors, clothing, numbers, and more!

Finally, Spanish Playground is fantastic for kids who want a variety of activities — here you can find ideas for games and crafts, plus printable worksheets, videos, jokes, and much more!

Online Spanish Learning Games

After you’ve done some studying, it’s time to take a break and play some games! Educational games and activities are wonderful for reiterating and reviewing what you’ve learned. An awesome website to bookmark is Digital Dialects, which is full of fun, easy-to-play games that teach Spanish grammar, vocabulary, and conversation skills. The games cover a wide range of topics, including greetings, colors, numbers, foods, units of time, animals, and clothing. The website also offers vocab lists and conjugation breakdowns to help children without prior Spanish experience.

For a fun activity, hold contests with your kids to see who can win the most games. The more fun you have, the less of a chore studying will be and the quicker you’ll pick up the language!

¡Hola Viajeros!

When you’ve gotten the hang of reading Spanish, it’s time to start learning how to recognize the spoken language. ¡Hola Viajeros! provides a series of free audiobooks in slow Spanish along with transcripts. By listening to the audio while reading the transcripts, you and your children will quickly learn Spanish pronunciations, inflections, and other nuances. Best of all, these audiobooks are mostly devoted to describing Spanish-speaking countries, customs, and books, allowing you to learn about Spanish-speaking cultures as you learn the language.

YouTube

Once you’ve listened to all of ¡Hola Viajeros!’s audiobooks, it’s time to move on to faster-paced Spanish audio. YouTube is great for this, providing a wide range of music videos, TV shows, and movies from Spanish-speaking countries. By watching YouTube videos in Spanish, you’ll get a sense of how the language is spoken in practice. You can also find a ton of fun, silly songs for teaching Spanish that kids love!

Another great idea is to find songs from the Spanish-language versions of Disney musicals. Your kids likely know the English lyrics to many of these songs by heart, so they’ll already understand the gist of what the characters are singing about; this will make it easier to break down the meanings of the Spanish lyrics. As an example, here’s the Spanish version of “Let it Go” from Frozen:

Once your kids can understand Spanish-language Disney songs without too much trouble, move on to watching films, TV shows, and vloggers. You should have no trouble finding age-appropriate videos for teaching Spanish to kids.

So… Now What?

When you are ready to invest in your or your child’s language mastery, make sure you’re spending your money wisely — by hiring a qualified Spanish tutor! As effective as these resources can be, there’s no substitute for working one-on-one with a teacher who can cater lessons to your specific learning style, and catch pronunciation mistakes that you might be overlooking. After all, these apps and website are all missing one crucial element: actual communication with other Spanish speakers!

If you’re serious about guiding your child toward bilingualism — or securing your own fluency — a tutor will help you get there. The money you spend on Spanish lessons is well worth the cost, as most experienced polyglots agree. And in between your lessons? Take advantage of all these free resources for teaching Spanish to kids, and everybody wins — that’s what they’re there for!

Ready to get started? Search for a tutor here!

Bonus:  Learn about other budget-friendly options for learning Spanish!

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5 Things to Know Before Taking Skype Spanish Lessons

4 Things to Know Before Taking Skype Spanish Lessons

5 Things to Know Before Taking Skype Spanish LessonsInterested in learning Spanish? As you’re deciding between in-person and online Spanish lessons, consider these points by Fairfax, CA tutor Jason N...

 

Spanish continues to gain traction as the undisputed second language of California, and the United States for that matter. In the next decades, Spanish could even become the most commonly spoken language in this country. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that Los Angeles, California, for example, is 53% Latin American and growing. That means that if you’re Caucasian or born in this country, you could be an English-speaking minority in the near future!

So clearly you want to learn Spanish, but you are busy with children, work, family relationships, and many other competing demands on your time. Maybe you are a college student and don’t have time or space in your schedule to take a Spanish class. Maybe you may have tried mobile applications to learn Spanish, but have noticed that you learn best with a live human tutor rather than through an app.

A couple months ago, I wrote a blog about what to look for in a tutor, where I underscored seven key traits of an effective tutor, which was written assuming that you meet with your tutor in person. In this day and age in 2015, as technology increases in effectiveness, increases in use, and becomes progressively commonplace, many people are seeking tutors via Skype. The global market of “Skype tutors” continues to grow by the day. Consequently, for a myriad of reasons, you may be considering Skype Spanish lessons. Here, I underscore four points to consider before deciding to take Skype Spanish lessons.

1. Skype lessons are often cheaper

Maybe you are interested in private Spanish lessons but don’t have the budget to regularly meet with a private tutor, and have realized that Skype lessons can be a cheaper or more convenient option. Let’s be honest: private, in-person Spanish lessons can be expensive. Skype lessons can very well be a cheaper option. Many Skype tutors charge around $10 per hour lesson, when the average Spanish tutor in this country charges between $20 and $100 per hour.

2. Spanish via Skype can be convenient

Often we are too busy to fit in another outside activity. Undoubtedly, meeting with a tutor via Skype enables you to have the personal live tutor experience without having to leave your house or invite a tutor into your home whom you don’t know yet. It’s important to shop around first and find a great match. TakeLessons has a network of instructors who offer live Spanish lessons online via video chat.

3. Consider the technology

Despite the two benefits above, speaking from three years of experience tutoring Spanish usually in person and seldom by Skype, I strongly believe that learning is enhanced when the tutor explains and writes key words down on paper or in a textbook with you next to him or her, to facilitate learning. While Skype has a convenient screen-sharing option, it can be easily compromised by not being able to see your tutor’s face and hand gestures as he/she explains to you what they are demonstrating on the screen. This makes it similar to a short YouTube video lesson, which is not worth paying for or scheduling.

4. Key pitfalls

There are undoubtedly pitfalls to learning Spanish via Skype. These include:

  • Interruptions can be a lot more frequent than if the lesson were live. Having a regular Skype Spanish student, I’ve grown accustomed to the inevitable bad Internet connection on either or both sides, which can be frustrating and disrupt the flow of the lesson.
  • As I stated above, it is harder to teach conjugation and the nuances of the many and complex irregular verbs in Spanish. Screen sharing can only do so much.
  • It is hard to teach pronunciation across a screen, for example where to place tongue while pronouncing Spanish words that end in L, and how that differs from English.
  • Just like the visual pixel resolution is particularly superior in-person than on an iPhone 6, for example, the hearing ‘resolution’ is undoubtedly better in person. Have you compared the difference of a drum set and electronic drums? The electronic sounds will never sound as pure.

In conclusion, Skype Spanish lessons can be an attractive option depending on your specific needs, preferences, and life situation, while you don’t lose touch of the pitfalls. Skype lessons can be a cheaper, convenient, and unique adjunct to successful second-language learning. That said, based on my experience of learning Spanish in other countries, I’ve come to believe human contact in person is an indelible part of learning a language. Click here to find a tutor in your area!

Readers, what do you think? Have you tried taking Skype Spanish lessons? Leave a comment and share your thoughts!

Bonus:  Learn about the budget-friendly options for learning Spanish!

JasonN

Jason N. tutors in English and Spanish in Fairfax, CA. He majored in Spanish at UC Davis, lived in Mexico for 3 years where he completed a Master’s degree in Counseling, and studied Spanish Literature and Psychology at the University of Costa Rica. Learn more about Jason here! 

 

 

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Google Translate vs. Spanish Translator

Face-Off: Google Translate vs. Human Spanish Translator

We rely on technology now more than ever, but when is it best to let a real-life human do the work?

Check out the nifty infographic below from Verbal Ink to see what happens when Google Translate (Spanish to English) goes head-to-head with a professional translator in two rounds of a translation showdown. Are they worthy opponents, or will a clear front-runner claim the prize?

verbal-ink-translation-infographic-final1

It seems as though humans can still triumph over machine when it comes to language… at least for now!

Have you ever tried to battle Google Translate Spanish to English? How did it go? And don’t worry — if your Spanish skills still need some work, our tutors are here to help. Find a Spanish tutor in your area here!

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Photo by European Parliament