10 Best Tips to Learn Spanish and Get Fluent
Do you want to learn Spanish but you don’t know how?
Are you looking for a fast, easy, and fun way to improve your fluency?
Have you tried before without reaching the level you wanted, and even worse, failed?
Do you want to know how to make the most of your time and energy?
Then, this post is for you!
Today I’m going to share with you the best tips, websites, and resources to help you learn Spanish.
The first thing that you should be aware of is that learning a new language is not fast or easy and there is no magic methods to make you learn perfectly in the blink of an eye, or even a few days or weeks. If somebody is trying to convince you of that: runaway!
On the other hand, there are several winning methods that can help you learn Spanish more efficiently.
A magic formula to learn Spanish easily and fast doesn’t exist. But by following the right method you can learn more easily and faster.
Depending on your goals, your availability and your personality you can try and experiment with different methods until you find the one that best works for you.
Even if you’ve tried before and you’ve failed- it doesn’t mean that you can’t learn Spanish. It just means that you’ve been following the wrong method.
In this article I’m going to share with you (almost) everything I’ve learned and discovered after teaching hundreds of students in the last 10 years
First off, study spanish by speaking
The best way to speak Spanish is obviously by speaking. As soon as you decide to learn Spanish you should try to start talking. If you want to know how, keep reading.
Your worst enemy is your mental barriers. Many of my students struggle to start because they are too worried about making mistakes or sounding weird.
Let me tell you a few tips about how to overcome this situation.
- This is about being able to communicate so don’t try to be perfect at the beginning and don’t worry if you need to mix Spanglish with miming. Just start.
- Spanish is very flexible and easily understood even if you sound like Yoda sending a telegram. “At beginning structure not important really is, young Padawan”.
- We conjugate verbs, but you don’t need to do it at the beginning. “I to come from USA and she to come from England” is comprehensible English.
- Try to learn how to introduce yourself in Spanish using a few simple sentences. Spaniards will really appreciate it and they will help you improve.
- Phrases like “Excuse me, please, thank you, how much is it?, enjoy your meal…” are really helpful to overcome mental barriers and breaking the ice.
Implement these tips and don’t be afraid of making mistakes or using the verbs without conjugating them. Just take the leap and start practicing!
Avoid lists of words
Many people try to learn new vocabulary by writing down every new word they hear in a notebook and when they have a bunch of words, they cover the translation with their hands trying to remember the word in their native language.
Nowadays there are much better and efficient ways to learn Spanish.
A Space Repetition Software will help you save time and improve your spanish quickly but also help to keep it in the long-term.
This is a technology that you can find in some free apps. It’s basically a learning technique that helps you learn new concepts by showing it to you in different lapses of time. These lapses of time can change depending on your answer, if you remember the concept at the beginning it will appear every few days and later every few weeks.
My most sincere recommendation is to use Anki or Anki Flashcards.
Anki allows you to use pre-made decks of words and to create your own Flash Cards in Spanish-English.
Important: If you’re going to use this app and you want to be successful, you MUST FIRST watch this video. It’s made by and for medical students, but the way they explain how to use and organize the Flashcards is brilliant.
How to learn Spanish grammar?
Forget about learning Spanish grammar in the same way you did at school.
Old teaching methods are not good enough if you really want to learn a language since they are based on memorizing and repeating like a parrot. Your brain forgets more easily everything you memorize and it’s easier to understand on your own without memorization.
A winning method that not too many people know (students and also many, many teachers) is that the best way to learn grammar is by discovering it
This is how my students learn grammar without giving up:
- First, I introduce something interesting and exciting such as a story, a text, a video…
- We analyse how the new content works in context through different activities. It doesn’t really matter how many mistakes you make with the new grammar at this point. It’s all part of the process.
- After that, I help you isolate the elements of the new grammar structure that we want to understand.
- Then, we analyse it and we find out the rules.
- Finally, we are ready to start using your fresh new grammar in different exercises and conversational activities in order to understand it and memorize it in a natural way.
This method is what I call the DLF (Double Learning Funnel).
A system that allows you to learn Spanish much more easily and helps you understand it and retain it and so you can start to use your spanish ASAP .
Get an Online Teacher
You can learn Spanish on your own without an Online Spanish teacher. You can read books, listen to podcasts, find great exercises on the Internet, get people to practice for free and much more. In this article I’m sharing all these resources and tips so feel free to make the best of them.
However, I will say that there are a few significant advantages of getting an Online native teacher:
- You can learn faster with a teacher.
- It’s easier to learn in context.
- The learning process is more structured and efficient.
- The number of day to day mistakes is reduced.
- The accent and the vocabulary becomes more natural and authentic.
- You can practice all the aspects of the language in a single class and focus on specific goals.
- It’s much more fun and interesting.
Being able to speak a language doesn’t mean that one can teach the language.
So, If you want somebody to guide your process of discovering grammar in context… somebody who can offer you well thought out activities in a structured and efficient plan… somebody experienced, who loves his job, and focuses his life to the vocation of teaching…
Then seek no further 🙂
Right now, you can get a 30 minute free trial lesson with the best Spanish teacher you can imagine: Me, Adrián Hahn!
Learn Spanish with materials for teachers
Even if you have a Spanish teacher, a great way to learn Spanish on your own is by using resources for Spanish teachers. This is quite a good way to keep improving your Spanish.
In order to find them search “ELE” in your Google browser. ELE is the acronym of “Español como Lengua Extranjera”, which means “Spanish as a Foreign Language”. This can be really useful to find free and interactive learning materials.
For example, if you search for the word “Gustar” (to like) the first 10 results that pop up are mostly from different dictionaries and translators.
However, if you search “Gustar ELE” all the results that you’ll find are about how it works and how to practice it.
You will also find many interactive activities, videos and games specially designed for students of Spanish just like you.
You can start now with some of the most important websites for ELE teachers:
This website is full of interactive activities, videos, songs, quizzes and everything you can imagine. It is made for teachers but also for students.
Everything is divided by levels and other categories but it doesn’t have the structure of a course by topics that you can follow. Even so, this website is a gold mine of resources.
This is my website and here you can find completely free and well-structured courses full of videos, interactive and self-corrective activities, infographics and games to learn Spanish from A1 to B1.
This blog is also full of activities, but is a bit chaotic if you don’t really know what to do. If you’re looking for something specific you can use the Web’s search browser, otherwise you might get a bit lost in the Home page. Even so, you can find many different activities that are very well-thought out.
On this website you can find a lot of resources to learn Spanish grammar. The way of teaching is a bit old school, which means that everything is full of content tables and grammar rules but if you’re a grammar lover, then this is the website for you.
Study Spanish with others
There are more than 560 Million of Spanish speakers around the world, so you don’t need to be alone in this process.
Finding people to share information, motivate each other, and ask about your doubts is not hard at all if you use these tips:
Join groups on Facebook.
Facebook is full of groups with students learning and improving Spanish for free. Here you will find plenty of information and nice people to chat with.
- Aprender español con Juan.
This is one of the most active groups in Facebook to learn Spanish. Juan is a really funny guy who post videos on this social network. Many students do the same so everybody can comment and support with feedback. It’s full of nice people and you will love this guy and his videos.
Other groups where you can find Spanish students are:
- Aqui practicamos el español.
- Learn Spanish through English language.
- Aprender, practicar y enseñar español.
Basically if you search “Español” or “Spanish” in Facebook you’ll find dozens of groups with thousands of students.
Go to meet ups and language exchanges
Go to meet ups and language exchanges
You can find many different websites and groups online where people make groups to meet up in public spaces to chat and practice in different languages.
Usually you just sign up or show up there and the organizers give you a sticker where you have to write your name and the languages that you want to use.
- Meetup.com is a great website where you can talk to people and practice speaking about anything you like: from hiking to cooking tortilla de patatas (a great spanish dish) or visiting world famous museums. Because of this feature, it’s one of the most active websites.
- Facebook and Google are also good friends for this. Just text “Language exchange + name of your city” and I’m sure you will find something.
If you can’t find anything in your area, don’t hesitate and start organizing it. Go to your favorite bar, stick a couple of posters with the date and time of the meetings and use your social networks to tell everybody what you’re starting.
You’ll be surprised about how many people are interested in learning Spanish nowadays.
Travel to Spain
One of the best ways to improve your Spanish fast and while having an incredible experience is by travelling to Spain for a Spanish course.
Usually you’ll find this in the Spanish academies:
- Intensive courses from 4 to 6 hours of lessons every day.
- Courses starting every Monday.
- Less than 8-10 students per class.
- Cultural programs in the afternoons
After working for several years in different academies and also learning English in these kinds of courses, I can say that the experience and knowledge that you get in just a couple of weeks is incredible.
My recommendation is to go to Andalucía, the South of Spain. In Cádiz, Málaga, and Sevilla you can find one of the best Spanish academies in Spain: CLIC International House.
Before starting my own business doing Online teaching, I worked for three years in CLIC Cádiz and Málaga and I can tell you that they are simply awesome!
> Can you find me in this video about CLIC Málaga? (A hint: I always wear really cool shirts)
I highly recommend that you study in the South of Spain since the weather is fantastic, it’s very cheap to travel, it’s full of cultural activities, places to have fun, and people are so kind that you can practice Spanish every single day in real situations
Best books to learn Spanish (and News for reading)
A fantastic method to increase your vocabulary and your comprehension is to read Spanish books and News adapted to your level.
Books in Spanish for students
If you’re seeking to maximize your comprehension through reading in Spanish, this is what I usually recommend to my students:
- Take a chapter of the book, read a couple of pages and to try to understand it without any dictionary.
- Underlining important words and sentences that you are unsure about is a good idea.
- Search the meaning of those words and sentences and add it to your Anki Flashcards deck.
- If you need, read the passage again for a better understanding of the text.
Remember,as a beginner you don’t need to know every single word in order to understand the message. This happens in our own language when we listen to someone speak about something technical like economics, politics, or medicine. We don’t understand everything, but we can understand the main part of the message.
Here you can find some of the books and authors that I usually recommend for each level:
-Hola Lola by Juan Fernández
Hola Lola and other titles are books written by Juan from “Aprender español con Juan”. These books are adapted to a beginners level, they are short, fun and the Kindle version is free.
–Spanish Short Stories for Beginners by Olly Richards.
8 stories about action, crime, love… with really common words and phrases. It also has dialogue so you can improve your conversational fluency. In this book, you can also find comprehension questions after every chapter and a translated list of the bolded words in each story.
–Spanish Short Stories for Intermediate level by Claudia Orea.
2 different volumes with 10 stories each. You don’t need a dictionary to read these books since all the important words are located in the glossary. The stories are fun and interesting but also talk about common situations so you can learn in context and apply what you learn into your daily life. It comes with a CD full of audio to help you improve your listening skills.
-Spanish Novels. Bundle by Paco Ardit
The 5 different short novels written in short sentences are easy to follow. The book contains everyday dialogues in common locations and contexts.
-My advice for more advanced levels is to read real books for and by Spaniards. Some of the authors and books that I recommend are best sellers in Spain:
Dispara yo ya estoy muerto by Julia Navarro.
La casa de los Espíritus by Isabel Allende.
La catedral del mar by Ildefonso Falcones.
La sombra del viento by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
News in Spanish
If you don’t really enjoy reading books and you prefer to read the news in Spanish then you can follow: Practicaespanol.com
This website is managed by the EFE News Agency. Here you can find every day news articles divided into levels with activities of vocabulary and comprehension.
You might even have a lot of knowledge about current events and won’t feel lost while reading from this source.
Best podcasts in Spanish
A good method to improve your vocabulary and conversational skills is by listening.
A Podcast is a kind of radio program uploaded to the Internet. You can find them online or use different apps to get free access to thousands of them.
If you use Android my recommendation is to download on your Play Store the app called iVoox. If you have an iPhone then you can use iTunes or Podcasts. These apps comes by default on your iPhone.
Here are my recommendations for different Podcasts to learn Spanish so you can start practicing your listening skills right now:
Short audios and videos to enjoy while having breakfast. They go over different topics in every episode. They also interview different people on the streets so you can get accustomed to real ways of speaking spanish.
Different biographies about famous characters as Amy Winehouse, Salvador Dalí, or Amancio Ortega. The podcaster is not a native speaker but she talks slowly and clear. It’s a really good option if your struggling with the past tenses.
It’s a subscription service that you can get from around 9$/month. Before buying it you can listen to short 10 minute episodes for free in the apps that I’ve mentioned before.
It’s a completely free audio “telenovela” (soap opera). They mix Spanish and English to help you improve Spanish in a really entertaining way.
Best shows in Spanish to watch on Netflix
A really good and entertaining way to practice Spanish and learn vocabulary in context is by watching TV. Nowadays most people have Netflix at home or other video streaming platforms with the click of a button. So here are my suggestions for the best series in Spanish to help you learn.
If you are a beginner or even intermediate it’s good to watch these shows with subtitles in your own language trying to pick up expressions and short sentences.
Sometimes it can be a bit weird, but repeating expressions out loud will help your brain to remember the new vocabulary. Later you can try to use them with your friends or your Spanish teacher. “Buenos días profesor… ¿plata o plomo?”
I’m pretty sure that you’ve heard about this show about the war between the DEA and the drug dealers in Colombia and México.
This show isn’t 100% in Spanish but is full of dialogues in Spanish. Is a really good option if you’re a beginner and find it tiring to watch a whole episode in Spanish.
- Élite (ÉLITƎ)
Three Spanish students get a scholarship to study in a prestigious School in Spain. When they start school, they get bullied and everything gets worse when one of the students is murdered and they have to investigate the crime.
Teenagers and young people will love this show.
- La casa de papel
This show has been a huge success in Spain. A diverse group of criminals attempt to make the biggest robbery in history but that won’t be easy.
Love, jealousy, tension… The episodes are intense but the violence is not really explicit so don’t hesitate to give it a chance.
- La casa de las flores
It’s a Mexican drama/comedy where topics such as death, LGBTQIA identities, infidelity, and drugs are treated with humor. The show is about a floristry managed by a very peculiar family filled with problems and secrets.
It’s a funny critique about society, specifically Mexican, and a good way to learn mexican vocabulary if you’re thinking about travelling there.
- Pasión de Gavilanes
The show that made all Spanish teens fall in love with Colombian actors in 2003. This South American soap opera (telanovela) focuses on 3 brothers trying to avenge the murder of their father but on the way they find more love than hate.It’s Full of unexpected twists and some really intense emotions.
- Las chicas del cable
A historical show about several women working for the first national telephone company in Spain during the 1920s.
EXTRA. Not on Netflix.
Free episodes of he longest running TV show in Spanish history. The 20 seasons focus on the Alcántara family growing up in the year 1968 during the Franco dictatorship until the year 1988. It’s a really good show with an interesting sociopolitical chronicle of the recent history of Spain and Europe.