Enrichment / Para enriquecer su experiencia

Spanish that Works Review

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Other Supplemental Learning Materials 
for You

Spanish that Worksis a good, practical introduction to Spanish, but what do you do if you want to learn more?  In this section, we give you some recommendations for continuing the learning.

1) FREE online lessons and email "word of the day"

About.com offers a good newsletter with mini Spanish lessons, as well as free daily emails to build your vocabulary. 

2) Other suggestions 

Books, music, magazines, and other commercial resources are also available to you to improve your understanding and fluency in Spanish. 

Bilingual English / Spanish picture dictionaries
Breaking Out of Beginner's Spanish
Magazines in Spanish
Music in Spanish
Improve your reading
Audio learning materials
Follow-up classes
Latino info page
Spanish that Works page

3) If you are going to be visiting or traveling in Spain, check out

Streetwise Spanish, by Barcelona-based author Peter Christian, teaches the day-to-day lingo and insights into Spanish culture that will help you make study or travel in Spain a success.  The style is easy and fun and is a great addition to formal study in the language.  A companion audio program is available, and the book can be purchased as en e-book as well as in hardcopy. 

For more information, visit http://www.streetwisespanish.com/learnsws.html

Vea el mundo con National Geographic en español
Magazines in Spanish
help you expand your horizons!

By signing up for a magazine subscription, you give yourself the opportunity to dedicate some time to your Spanish studies each month.  

For example, National Geographic Magazine's Spanish language edition (available through amazon.com) is an excellent way for you to acquire new vocabulary in Spanish as well as learn more about the world. 

Stay current with People en español People En Español (available through amazon.com) is another great way to learn more Spanish, as well as stay current with Latino popular culture.  There are lots of pictures, so it's easy to read, even for a beginner.

With a magazine subscription, you can always look forward to getting something new to read!


Other magazine choices for you

There are many other English language magazines published en español, including People, Cosmopolitan, Reader's Digest, GQ, Men's Health, and Popular Mechanics.  

To get an idea of what is available, go to amazon.com. In the search box in the upper left-hand corner, select "magazines" and then enter en espanol (tilde not required) into the subject box. Then click go!

Chances are, you can find a magazine that is just right for you.  So grab a dictionary, and come along!

In Association with Amazon.com

Music, culture, and inspiration with Ruben Blades
Music in Spanish for culture, history, & inspiration

Besides being a great way to learn new vocabulary and train your ear to the sounds of the language, listening to music in Spanish can teach you much about the people and culture of the Spanish-speaking world. 

read about Rubén Blades & "Tiempos"
listen to selections on Amazon.com

Recommendations for learning from music

The most important recommendation for music is to get a CD you like and listen to it again and again. You can find something in a style you like by searching the internet or visiting your local bookstore or public library.  

At first, just listen to the music to see how many words you can pick out.  Then read the lyrics as you listen to the songs, so you get used to how the words sound.  You don’t need to translate every word at first; just follow along and get the flow of things. Then, when you are familiar with the CD, choose a couple of songs you really like, and learn those by heart.  

Many CD’s include the words to the songs, and some give an English translation.  For CD’s that don’t include lyrics, you can usually find them on the internet.  (Run a search with the name of the artist or group and the word discografía and you should find something.)

There is something for everyone.  For example, if you like rock / pop, you might try Shakira or Maná.  If you like 70's, try Mocedades.  If you like Latin, you might enjoy Rubén Blades or Gloria Estéfan.  If you like romantic, try Enrique Iglesias, Luis Miguel, or Alejandro Sanz.  If you like punk / rap, check out Molotov.  If you like Christian music, listen to Crystal Lewis (Spanish albums may not be available on Amazon).  If you like world beat, try Manu Chao or "Buena Vista Social Club."  

Taste in music is personal, so you have to find something that's right for you.  That way, you will be motivated to listen to the songs over and over, until the sounds and patterns become so natural and automatic to you that you can sing along without even thinking.  You can do a Latin music search on Amazon to find something that suits your tastes.

Here are some other artists that have been recommended by students:

MTV Unplugged is a live collection of some of Mexican rock band Maná's greatest hits. According to Amazon.com editor Joey Guerra, "..the Mexican band employs a variety of styles to perfect its pleasing pop sound... Lead singer Pher brings to mind icons such as Sting and U2's Bono..." Customer reviews to this album are high, and the reader who recommended the album to us said it includes the English translation side by side with the Spanish lyrics. 

Click on the album icon to listen to selections!

Gloria Estefan's CD Mi Tierra is a good way to ease into the sounds of Spanish, and have fun as you learn new words.  The vocals are clear and easy to understand, and the content is appropriate for most groups. The music is in Spanish, and the CD comes with the written Spanish lyrics and their English translation. Read along in Spanish!

Canciones de Mi Padre is a CD of traditional Mexican songs, performed by Linda Ronstadt.  Students find the lyrics easy to follow, and those familiar with Linda Rondstadt's music enjoy hearing her sing in Spanish.  A good introduction to Mexican folk music. 


do a Latin music search on Amazon

Audio Learning Materials

For building fluency with basic Spanish, try Pimsleur Quick & Simple Spanish. The Pimsleur audio method lets you practice, practice, practice until you really learn it.  No book is required; just listen and repeat! It's a great way for beginners to learn a few key phrases and learn them well.

More advanced learners may wish to get a book in Spanish that is also available (unabridged) on tape or CD.  You can listen to the speaker as you follow along in the text, or just use the book as a back-up in case you don't understand something.  If you are not up to reading a novel in Spanish, try the children's or young adult section.

Breaking Out of Beginner's Spanish

A good reference book for people who have had some Spanish, but didn't understand all the details, is Breaking Out of Beginner's Spanish by Joseph Keenan. The section on pronunciation is very helpful, and the text explains some tricky grammar issues in simple language. Keenan has a great sense of humor, so for a grammar book, it's pretty entertaining.

Improve your Reading

Better Reading in SpanishA good resource for improving your understanding of written Spanish is Better Reading Spanish  by Jean Yates. The book features short selections grouped by topic (food, art, movies, sports, etc.) and follow-up questions that teach students to use reading strategies such as skimming, using cognates, and finding context clues, to get meaning from the text when they don’t understand every word. The idea is to learn how to read unfamiliar material without looking everything up in the dictionary. This is an excellent text to use on your own to improve your Spanish, but it also works well with an adult advanced conversation class. The exercises give the students something to work on at home, and the reading selections provide interesting topics to discuss in class.

Picture Dictionaries

Although originally developed to teach English, these pictorial reference books are available in several bilingual editions, including English / Spanish.  The labeled pictures provide a great way to build vocabulary!

The New Oxford Picture Dictionary (English/ Spanish version) by Norma Shapiro and Jayme Adelson-Goldstein, is a fascinating reference to everyday vocabulary. Over 3,700 words are illustrated in full color and grouped into thematic areas.  A great tool for learning either English or Spanish.

Also recommended
The Basic Oxford Picture Dictionary, which is simpler than the New Oxford Picture Dictionary, and emphasizes "survival" vocabulary

For Kids

The Oxford Picture Dictionary for Kids (English/ Spanish version) by Joan Ross Keyes, teaches everyday vocabulary, with emphasis on contexts that are of interest to children. The illustrations are engaging, and the same characters appear throughout, so it seems more like a picture book story than a dictionary. Fun to read for both adults and kids!


If your goal is to teach English to speakers of other languages, we also recommend Picture This, by Laurie Johnson.

Rock n' Learn Spanish is ideal for children and older learners with a sense of fun. The audio program uses upbeat rhythms and music to teach vocabulary and expressions in Spanish and English, and the companion booklet lets you read along. Great reinforcement for basic vocabulary and expressions.

Follow-Up Classes

If you want to keep studying, one option is to take a college level Spanish class.  If you don't have a university in your area, you may be able to study through distance learning.

Or, if you prefer to study on your own, you might look into the "Destinos" program.  This college-level grammar text is based on a series of videos that take you on a tour of the Spanish speaking world within the context of a soap opera drama.  For more information about "Destinos," see the McGraw Hill website Destinos Information Center.   

If you're just wanting to practice your conversational skills, you might form a Spanish book discussion group.  Find a book that fits your level and your interests, and organize your own group around that!  Look for books that are originally written in Spanish and NOT translations, as these sometimes are not well done and might confuse you if your goal is to learn Spanish. If you're not ready for a novel, try a young adult novel, and if you're not ready for a young adult novel, try a text such as Better Reading Spanish


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