Learn Spanish Without a Teacher with These 4 Books
So you want to learn Spanish?
With over 400 million native speakers and counting, now more than ever is the right time to learn Spanish. However, without the guidance of a teacher, doing so can be difficult, especially for English speakers. If you’re up for the challenge of teaching yourself Spanish, it’s vital that you choose the proper course book to put you on the right track. With the excellent suggestions on this list — as well as a lot of hard work — you’ll be off to a great start in making your way into the rapidly growing Spanish-speaking world.
1. Madrigal’s Magic Key to Spanish: A Creative and Proven Approach
Spanish grammar is laden with rules, patterns, and exceptions. This can be particularly difficult for English speakers, who aren’t used to the seemingly innumerable conjugations that Spanish verbs can take. The writers of Madrigal’s Magic Key to Spanish are aware of this, and thus the course book hones in on the pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammatical issues that English speakers struggle with. Fast-paced and packed with creative mnemonic devices to assist with memorization, Madrigal’s Magic Key to Spanish is an fantastic and unconventional choice for English speakers who want to quickly and effectively improve their Spanish skills. Full review of Madrigal’s Magic Key to Spanish
- The Aula Series
For those seeking a more traditional approach to learning Spanish, look no further than the Aula series, which is widely used for language exams and follows the official CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) guidelines. The entire series consists of five books which range from absolute beginner (level A1) to upper-intermediate (level B2). In addition to being a top choice for those taking language exams, the Aula series is particularly useful for those who plan to travel to Spain, as the CEFR guidelines are based on the Spanish spoken in Europe. Full review of the Aula series
Helpful tip: If you’re unsure what your Spanish level is, take our free online level test: it will give you a score based on the CEFR criteria, and will guarantee that you pick the right course book!
3. Teach Yourself Latin American Spanish
In Spanish, it’s important to understand the differences between dialects, as the Spanish spoken in Latin America varies in several important ways from that of Spain. For those who need to learn Latin American Spanish for business or travel, Teach Yourself Latin American Spanish is — as its title suggests — a standout among books for autodidacts. In addition to providing the building blocks for Spanish language skills (complete with ample listening exercises), the book provides a host of cultural information as well, and is thus a great choice for those who want a comprehensive introduction to the Spanish of Central and South America. Full review of Teach Yourself Latin American Spanish
4. Búscalo! Look It Up
The books listed above are designed for absolute beginners, and are therefore essential for those who are just starting out with learning Spanish. As your skills advance, however, Buscalo: Look It Up is a must-have reference material that can quickly remind you about grammar and vocabulary points that you’ve momentarily forgotten (an exceedingly common occurrence among self-taught learners). Conveniently organized in A-Z format, Buscalo: Look it Up is a life-saver in those frustrating moments when you just can’t remember the past tense form of to go. In addition, it’s quite portable, so you’ll be well-armed when you need to really put your Spanish language skills to the test. Full review of Búscalo!
Teaching yourself Spanish isn’t easy. But the books listed above are guaranteed to make the job a little bit less intimidating. If you’d like to see even more thorough reviews for Spanish-language course books and reference materials, take a look at our entire list of recommendationshere. Of course, the best — and fastest — way to learn Spanish is with a qualified native speaker who can tailor lessons to your needs, interests, and learning style. So if you truly want to put yourself on the fast track to Spanish fluency, check out our course and package options.