Tips to practice Spanish (beginner and elementary)

If you enjoyed our general tips to practice Spanish, here’s a list with resources that you may find useful if you are a beginner or if you have an elementary level.  

 «Free online exercises:

o   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.
o    Profe de ELEa great blog both for teachers and students.
o   Espagnol facile, un siteweb avec des exercises gratuits, espécialement faits pour les francophones.

«Free online flashcards:

o   Quizlet, a fantastic place where you can revise and learn new vocabulary (in Spanish and in other languages). You can download flashcards that other people have made, or make your own flashcards. There are plenty vocabulary exercises and you can download and print all the flashcards at any time.

 «  Grammar books:

o   Gramática básica del español (niveles A1 – B1), Ed.Difusión. This is the best grammar book to learn about Spanish grammar, either with a teacher or on your own.  Get it on Amazon or at the library.

«Mobile apps:

Mobile apps are nowadays a great tool to practice language in an easy funny way. Check out these. Most of them offer a free version and a premium version with extra features:
o   Duolingo
o   Conjugation nation
o   Babbel
o   Spanish Verbs
o   Qué onda

«Listening, podcast, radio and audioblogs:

There are lots of freepodcasts that you can listen to in order to practice your Spanish, even if you just started learning. Here are some ideas:
o   Mi vida loca: a website from the BBC, with exercises and audios, ideal for beginners.
o   Spanish podcast: a blog with lots of audios for Spanish students.
o   Notes in Spanish for beginners: an audio blog with lots of easy-to-listen podcasts and listening exercises for beginners.
o   Coffee Break Spanish: a blog with free and not free lessons and podcasts.
o   News in slow Spanish. A website that offers different resources for Spanish students, but particularly audio exercises and podcasts. These podcasts are focused on the world’s news, but the people there talk in a slow clear Spanish, that even beginners can properly understand. To access some of the contetns you will be required to have a premium account, but still, there are plenty of them that you can use (especially audio and transcriptions). It has also an app that you can download to your smartphone or tablet.

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. But, just in case you still don’t know about them, here’s a little explanation:

First, what’s a podcast?

A podcast is a sort of radio program or radio broadcast (for example, Ted Talks, PodCinema, Hoy empieza todo…). For example, the 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 let’s say that you listen to the BBC News every morning, but today you missed it. 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 that’s it. That’s a podcast, and the great thing of it is that you can listen to any podcast of any radio on the world, at any moment, and free!

Moreover, many people, companies, blogs, 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 limited to public radios.

In other words, there are podcasts on the Internet; and within every podcast you can find different “chapters”.  

How can we get podcasts?
There are many options, so let’s take a look at them:

o   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), and save them one by one to our favorites on Mozilla, Chrome or any other.  Then we would just need to go to the site and hear to the audio online. It is possible to download them one by one and play them on our computer or iPAD, of course!

o   Mobile and apps:
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 isPodcast Addict. It’s easy to download and install and it lets you search for podcasts in any language by setting a language filter. It lets you subscribe to any podcast and it gets automatically updated to show you the latest emissions of your favorite podcasts, which you can download really easily and fast at any moment.

o   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 un 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). You can download Juice from here; to download iTunes, click here.

 o   To read and to listen:
If you are tired of having so many accounts and platforms, maybe you should take a look at Netvibes. Netvibes is an online platform (with a free version and a premium version), that works as an “aggregator”. This means it lets you subscribe to any blog on the Internet by using the blog’s feed URL. It is similar to Google Reader, but much better. No need to download anything; just sign up and get a password. And, of course, you can use it for blogs, newspapers, video platforms and podcasts!









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