To learn a language, whether it's German, Portuguese, Italian or Spanish, theory is important! Indeed, without the basics, it will be difficult for you to progress.
Did you know ? Castilian is the most studied language in the world and is spoken by around 440 million people across the blue planet, especially in South America. So it's up to you to get started!
You are probably already looking for the best ways to learn Spanish if you want to study the language. You will likely be aware that you can take Spanish lessons with a private teacher, Spanish courses at a local language school, or you can even find a number of online Spanish options.
It is safe to say, however, that regardless of which option you choose, you will likely need a book to help you practise and advantage in the language of Cervantes.
Whether you want to go to Madrid or Barcelona, to discover South America, or simply for the pleasure of speaking a foreign language, Superprof has put together a selection of the best books for you to study Spanish.
Some Books to Learn Spanish
Let's start with some classic books that will give you the basics of the Spanish alphabet, grammar, spelling, conjugation and vocabulary. This will help you prepare for a language course, perfect your accent or learn to pronounce complicated words correctly!
Assimil's 'Spanish with Ease'
The author, Francisco Javier Anton Martinez, proposes a solid and effective method, which is based on:
- intuitive assimilation
The pack consists of a 612-page book and a CD / MP3. This method consists of 100 lessons that cover the main points of Spanish grammar, the so-called common vocabulary (the one to communicate in everyday life) and exercises.
You will assimilate the language in two steps:
- the passive phase: as its name implies, it is in this first phase to be totally passive. As to say: let yourself be carried by what you are asked. Listen, read, repeat but do not try to form your own phrases.
- the active phase: in general, you can only move to the active phase after about fifty lessons of 20 to 30 minutes per day! During this phase, it is a question of repeating the passive lessons one by one by adding an active lesson. You will have two lessons per day.
At the end, the final level, called "without difficulty" will ask you to have a conversation about a current topic to verify that you know enough Spanish grammar and vocabulary. Have a native speaker on hand to help with your Spanish speaking if you can!
Half an hour a day to experience live dialogues, reminders of Spanish classes and easy exercises. Within a few months, you will be able to chat to friends or strangers with no difficulty. It's common that an adult masters the use of 1500 words after practising this method.
If you want to join this great family, this big book to learn Spanish seems like it will get you on the good track!
The Assimil method, which has already 85 years behind it, has succeeded in opening the doors of foreign languages to millions of people. It remains to know if it suits you, too!
Keep in mind that learning a language requires rigor, discipline and great involvement. If you want to teach yourself Spanish then you will need all of these things. But you will also need a good book, and Spanish with Ease just might be the one for you.
We love :
- the method based on intuitive assimilation,
- the time spent daily: 20-30 minutes,
- evidence of the results from the use of the method.
We love less:
- the price is a considerable investment
Madrigal’s 'Magic Key To Spanish'
Beginners learning Spanish are always on the look out for some useful tips to get them started, one of which is to invest in a good book.
Although Margarita Madrigal wrote this book in the 1950’s, it’s still a “magic key” to learning the basics! Simple and logical, this 496 page book is built around 45 lessons.
The method is mainly intended for beginner students coming from universities and big schools, but it is up to you to see if it suits you in your own situation!
The idea is to learn by listening, and to accumulate knowledge by doing written exercises which are included in the book of Spanish exercises which is included.
If you want to spend an evening on the ramblas in Barcelona speaking Spanish to the locals while enjoying tapas, it will be well worth turning a few pages of a Spanish textbook to help you out a little bit.
We love :
- the price is one of the best on the market
- the presence of both oral and written exercises, two essential elements for learning a living language
- the clear objectives set before each lesson
This updated language-learning guide helps you learn to speak Spanish in 15-minute lessons, each one based on a different theme. For those of you who are keen to learn Spanish with an app, you will pleased to hear that there is a new audio app which accompanies this book.
The 12 chapters are broken down into 15-minute daily lessons that combine vocabulary and grammar essentials about a range of themes, from socialising, to doing business. This book is probably the most user-friendly, accessible language guide on the market.
You'll be surprised what you can achieve in 15 minutes a day.
For all those who feel that they don't have any spare time on their hands, you can enjoy the cooking time of your paella or just part of your lunch break, to devote yourself to learning a grammar point, questions of understanding, or even a little game of conjugation.
This method includes:
- written comprehension and expression exercises,
- oral comprehension and expression exercises,
- original activities,
- grammar and vocabulary points,
- cultural information (you can't learn a language without putting it in to context),
- tips to improve your pronunciation,
- as well as self-assessments to take stock of progress.
In particular, we love:
- the price is affordable
- the formula: 15 minutes a day is really not that much
- its exhaustiveness
Spanish for Dummies!
There are lots of reasons to learn Spanish, but they are of no use to you if you become lost as soon as you are asked "¿Cómo te llamas?", "¿Que tal?" or "¿Cuántos años tienes?"?
The purpose of this Spanish conversation book is to enable the student to integrate current Spanish, as it is spoken today, quickly and efficiently.
The formula is enticing and rather fun, but it is aimed at motivated and autonomous people who are not afraid of potting books on their free time. You need to know that for interactions, we are close to none!
For those who want a bit more audio, Dummies offer the Spanish "mega audio kit" for dummies with a book, 5 audio CDs, online exercises and a mini lexicon offered.
This book, developed by Spanish teachers, is fairly well structured into chapters (in the office, holding a conversation, at the bank, at the restaurant, in the shops, etc.) to learn the basics in all situations of everyday life. However, as you can probably expect, the price increases quite considerably for this option.
- the diversity of prices in the formulas proposed to suit all scholarships
- the fact that it offers relevant, everyday Spanish to converse quickly with Spaniards
We love less:
- the classic method may not be suitable for everyone
Fun Books to Learn Spanish
If the idea of learning a second language by using a book discourages you, we'll have to find a more amusing way to convince you to open one! Here is our selection of more fun books to get you back on the Spanish track in a fun way!
Books to make Spanish Learning Enjoyable
Learning Spanish with El Nuevo Compañero de Cuarto proposes a new method to learn the basics of the Spanish language and develop vocabulary in record time. It also helps to refine its understanding of Spanish grammar by reading stories in English and Spanish.
It's for you if:
- you have Spanish leftovers that you want to reactivate,
- you like stories and you are interested in learning Spanish by reading stories,
- you want to expand your Spanish vocabulary by reading history in two languages at the same time,
- you like to compare the structures of sentences in English and Spanish to understand them,
- you love challenges,
- you want to acquire an intermediate level in Spanish (B1 / B2)
This book to learn Spanish is a real game changer: will you recognize all the pairs of antonyms?
What are antonyms? Adjectives having opposite meanings: for example true and false, polite and rude, or beautiful and ugly.
This is to find the 100 pairs of antonyms in the text and to list them in Spanish of course! Enhance your vocabulary quickly and in a fun way!
It will then leave the book a few days and then resume it to reactivate the memory and test what you can remember.
- the price,
- the playful aspect,
- the original approach.
We love less:
- it requires having Spanish basics.
300 Chistes Españoles e Hispanoamericanos
We recommend the small and amusing collection 300 chistes españoles e hispanoamericanos (300 Spanish and Spanish-American jokes) as a way to make your language learning more enjoyable. Just like learning Spanish online can involve games to make it fun, books can use jokes.
To understand some jokes, it may be useful to know some phrases like:
- Esta chupado, literally "it is sucked" but the English equivalent of the expression "a piece of cake",
- Meterse en camisa de once varas, literally "to get into a shirt eleven sizes too big", which is rather amusing since in English this corresponds to the expression "to bite off more than you can chew",
- Cuando las ranas crien pelos, literally "when the frogs have hairs" or in English "when pigs fly",
- Pegársele a uno las sabanas, literally "to be glued to the bed sheets", in other words "to oversleep"
- Pájaros en la cabeza, literally means "birds in the head" and in English "to have bats in the belfry", etc.
And the best part of this kind of book as part of your Spanish course?
- Learning contemporary and spoken Spanish (and not the outdated Spanish in a schoolbook),
- Discover idiomatic expressions,
- Relax the atmosphere in any situation (even dredging if the jokes fit),
- Notes to understand the subtleties of the language.
The less interesting aspect:
- again, it is better to have a certain level in Spanish, at the risk of not understanding the jokes!
So, when will your next laugh be? By the way, to have a laugh in Spanish is said to "tener una ataque de risa", so better start early.
And if you laugh in Spanish and you want to transcribe it in writing, you should not say "haha" but "jaja" (with the guttural pronunciation of the Spanish jota)!
Audio Books in Spanish: A Great Idea
Don't just put aside audio books in Spanish! In the same way that you can use movies to learn Spanish, audio books are a great way to learn the pronunciation, the rhythm of the phrases, the accentuation, and to be charmed by the musicality of the country of Flamenco!
There are many websites that offer Spanish audio books to download for free:
- Librivox is a gold mine that contains Spanish literature that has already fallen in the public domain.
- Ivoox has a number of audio books and podcasts. You will feel bilingual from the home page with a beautiful phrase clear as rock water: "Escucha lo que quieras, cuando y donde quieras" (Listen to whatever you want, wherever and whenever you want).
- Albalearning doesn't have the best design but the site contains many great texts in Spanish. This is where you can discover the folk tales!
Now that you know what books to learn to learn Spanish, do not deprive yourself of free sites to learn Spanish to better master the language of Cervantes! So, what book will you allow yourself to try to shine in Spanish?
The Best Spanish Literature Books to Improve Your Level
Whether you are in the middle of a language school, during evening classes or summer courses, nothing is worth a book to improve your vocabulary, grammar and conjugation!
Spanish literature is full of authors and writers who have improved, changed, or contributed to the Spanish Language
The novels, tales and poems allow to learn more about Spanish culture, and the history of Spain while enriching your vocabulary with new Spanish words.
The beauty of the narrow streets of Seville, the charm of the monuments of Andalusia and the various populations that participated in the rise of a country recognized today for the beauty of its landscapes, the richness of its language and culture.
To learn this new language, you will find books for people of all ages, abilities, and situations. It doesn't matter if you want to help help a dyslexic child learn Spanish, or if you are someone who has recently retired any wants to learn Spanish without having to look for language courses.
The same can be said for your level, too. For beginners we turn to books of the Spanish literature easier to access as:
- Los ojos de mi princesa, a novel written by the Mexican author Carlos Cuauhtémoc Sánchez, published in 2004.
- Pedro Páramo - El llano en Llamas (1959): a tale of the Mexican writer and photographer. Translated into more than 30 languages, it is a bestseller in many countries with millions of copies sold worldwide.
- Juan Rulfo Cartas a Chepita: a series of letters that can be likened to the poetry of contemporary Mexican poet and author Jaime Sabines.
More accessible for intermediate and advanced students, the classics of Hispanic literature are at hand:
- El Quijote or Don Quijote de la Mancha: by the author Miguel de Cervantes, this book is probably the most popular piece of Spanish literature.
- La Regenta: adapted to cinema, television and theater, this book is a classic of Spanish literature.
- La Celestina: written by Fernando de Rojas, this book is one of the most beautiful works of Spanish literature; it is read at an early age in many schools.
- La vida es sueño: this novel is not easy to read, it is better to have a level higher than B1 to start reading it.
- Song of the Cid: written a thousand years ago, this book will allow lovers of the language to discover poetry.
- El libro de buen amor: considered as the most important book to come out of medieval Spain, it was written by the one who bears the nickname of "the archpriest of Hita" or Juan Ruiz.
- El alcalde de Zalamea: by the author Pedro Calderon de la Barca, this book is still considered as a masterpiece of the Spanish Golden Age.
- Cañas y Barro: if the opportunity arises to make a trip to Spain, to Valencia, it is the most suitable book to discover the city through one of its most respected authors: Vicente Blasco Ibanez.
- Fortunata and Jacinta: written in the 19th century by Benito Perez Galdos this book is one of the classics of the Spanish realistic genre.
Spanish lessons online would be a great companion to these classic stories!