Useful Tools for Spanish Students Part I

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How can I practice my Spanish online? Where can I find free exercises and free materials to learn? How can I get to know more about Spain and Latin American countries? How can I practice listening and reading? Here’s a list with lots of ideas to learn, practice and improve your Spanish, whatever your level in…Including lots of tips and ideas, audio practice, free materials, free online exercises, recommended movies, music, books, Spanish blogs, podcasts, TV shows and radio stations.

1. General Tips

- Websites and blogs to help you learn Spanish

1. Aprende español, a great website with news, music, listening exercises, and recommendations… Everything you need to practice your skills in Spanish. 2. Profe de ELE, a great blog, both for students and for teachers. 3. Red Molinos, a great website with lots of useful links, reading texts and vocabulary tips to learn Spanish. 4. Mi vida loca: a website from the BBC, with exercises and audios, ideal for beginners.

- Free online exercises (with answers and explanations)

1. Ver-Taal, a very complete site where you will find grammar, spelling and vocabulary exercises, as well as listening activities, to learn French, Dutch, English and, of course, Spanish. 2. Espagnol facile, pour les francophones.

- Free online diccionaries

1. Wordreference, the best online dictionary. 2. Linguee, a different dictionary. It let you find any word but inserted in a context. It might be very useful of you are translating. 3. DRAE, the best monolingual dictionary in Spanish. Tiene la garantía y el rigor de la Real Academia Española, la mayor institución lingüística en el mundo hispano. Eso sí, no recoge palabras muy coloquiales o de reciente creación. 4. Diccionario Panhispánico de Dudas, para dudas de la lengua. 5. Forvo, a pronunciation dictionary that works also as social network, where everybody can participate. It may be interesting not only to learn how to pronounce words in Spanish, but also to compare pronunciations within the Spanish speaking world.

- Specialized magazines to learn Spanish

1. Punto y Coma: a magazine especially made for Spanish students, with lots of interesting tips that will guide you through different articles. You can buy it in shops, order it online or get a subscription. This is ideal for students who have an elementary, intermediate or pre-intermediate level and who still find newspapers and magazines a bit hard to understand. 2. Ecos: a great magazine with lots of interesting articles about different topis realetd to the Spanish world. This is a magazine that is edited in Germany, so it’s addressed initially to a German speaking public. However, anyone who has an intermediate level of Spanish can read it.

- Libraries and bookstores

If you are looking for books to learn Spanish, you can go to your neighborhood library, or, if you live in a big city (Munich, Varsaw, Paris, Toulouse, Lisboa, Beijing, Rome…), you can go to the Instituto Cervantes’ library. It’s free! If this doesn’t work, there’s always Amazon. If you have a kindle, it’s cheap to get a book in Amazon.

- Listening and podcast

Podcasts are one of the biggest revolutions of today’s language learning. Thanks to the Internet, we can access podcasts from all the radios in the world. We can easily find podcasts from Spain or any other country. First, what’s a podcast? A podcast is a sort of an online audio, or, in other words, a radio program or radio broadcast. For example, BBC has different channels; every channel has many broadcasts or “chapters”. Of course, you can listen to them directly by turning your radio on. But for example, if you miss BBC New today, no problem! Just go to the program’s site on the Internet and you will find a complete list with the latest chapters. Look for the one you missed and you can listen to it on streaming or download it for later. That’s a podcast, and the great thing of all is that you can listen to any podcast of any radio on the world, at any moment, and totally free! Moreover, many people, companies and so on have created their own “audios” that they share on the Internet as a podcast. Many of them have an excellent quality, so it is not just public radio, like BBC or Radio France; it’s much more than that.

How can we get podcasts?

There are many options, so let’s take a look at them:
On streaming
We can listen to them directly on streaming. To do so, we just need to look for the podcast site (for example, let’s say TED Talks), choose a chapter and listen to it then and there. Of course, you can also save your favorite sites thanks to Mozilla, Chrome…. Then we would just need to go to the site and hear to the audio online. of course! You can also go to the podcast site, choose the chapters you like and download them to your desktop, and for free! Then you can listen to them later.
Mobile apps
The best option to listen podcast. There are different apps that we can install for free on our smart phone, iPhone, tablet or iPad. In my opinion, the best of all are iTunes and Podcast Republict (although, for example, most iPhones come with a podcast app already installed). It’s free to download these apps; you can easily install them and then you search for podcasts in any language by setting a language filter. You can subscribe to any podcast, in any language, and download the latest episode.
On our PC or Mac
You can also subscribe to any podcast by using a free application that you can download from the Internet at any moment. There are two platforms that you can use for this purpose: Juice (a good free software platform, although it’s has an ugly interface), and of course, iTunes (free to download and use, with a nice interface and the advantage that is can also be used as a music player and store).

- Blogs to read

Reading blogs of any subject can help you improve substantially your reading skills and vocabulary, and, at the same time, it’s a very interesting occupation! Down below you will find a list of the best blogs to read in Spanish. A great way to read all the new posts that are published on a blog is by subscribing to the blog. To do so, there are different applications and platforms that work as “aggregators”, that is, is a place that holds and updates all the new contents automatically, according to your priorities. Here are a few suggestion of applications that you can use:o Netvibes (an online free application), probably the best of all.o Google Readero Feed Reader (an excellent platform.

I hope you like it!! This article will be continued :)

There are more tips I have that I want to share with you!

Let me know what you think, I would like to read your comments about it.