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  • Mary Leighton

Resources for Practicing Spanish

I am a dyslexic person who has been learning Spanish for over two decades. In that time language learning technology has changed enormously.


My first class involved cassette tapes. Babel Fish came and went, a victim of Google Translate's success. I still have my amazing Michel Thomas 12 CD set somewhere, even though I can't play it anymore.


Surprisingly, I wouldn't say that the resources available on the internet are not necessarily any better now than they were 10 or 20 years ago. I have yet to find a foreign language program designed specifically for adults with dyslexia, for instance. And while online games, flashcards, and songs are slicker than they used to be, they are still based on the same theoretical assumptions about how people memorize and process languages -- assumptions that simply don't apply to dyslexic brains.


I keep trying, however. Especially now I know there is a desperate need for more Spanish-speaking therapists in the US.


Today I am sharing my tried-and-tested set of Spanish language learning resources, including some specifically for mental health professionals. These are sites I have found helpful in some way or another, even though none of them are 100% designed for dyslexic learners.


It can be hard to find resources that are beyond-beginner level, so I hope this is useful to other people. Bookmark this page because I will add to it as I find more.


Mary’s Resources for practicing your Spanish!


Everything is free unless otherwise specified.


Verb and vocab drills

  • Word Wall. [Subscription and free levels available.] Create your own quizzes or use existing ones made by other students. Can make flash cards with words and/or images. Lots of games. This is the best of the bunch - totally worth the subscription price to make your own flash card sets.

  • Columbia University verb drills. Bare bones verb drill site. Set lists only. Only words. No games. No fun but thorough.

  • Memrise. [Subscription and free levels available.] Create your own vocab lists. Words only, no games. Possible to use as an app on your phone.

  • Conjuguemos. Verb drills. Words only, some fun games. Set lists so no option to make your own.


Forums and classes where you can learn from native speakers

  • Word Reference. The most comprehensive online dictionary, that includes a lot of examples of how words are correctly used. Also has a strong forum for asking native speakers questions about grammar, slang, or vocab.

  • Quazel. Practice talking in Spanish to a bot. Good if you feel embarrassed talking to a real person :-)

  • Hi Native. Forum that allows you to ask questions from native speakers. Good for figuring out how to say specific things more naturally.

  • ITalki. [Paid service.] Affordable online tutors from anywhere in the world give one-on-one lessons. I highly recommend ELOISA, a psychology student based in Spain. Her classes start at $15.

  • A list of free language courses available online.


Practice listening

  • Reality TV shows in Spanish.

  • News in Slow Spanish. [Paid subscription.] Weekly podcast in Spanish on current news topics. This podcast has been around a long time so there is a fantastic archive. Available in European or American Spanish.

  • Coffee Break Spanish. A really nice podcast series that’s free and has a huge archive. Each episode includes an interesting ‘magazine-style’ text that is read outloud, then the two teachers discuss the grammar, vocab, and expressions used in English.

  • The Fable Cottage. Children’s stories read in Spanish, with text so you can read along.

  • Rockalingua. [Paid subscription with some good free features.] Surprisingly catchy children’s Spanish lessons taught through songs. The one about the farm will forever be stuck in my head…


Counseling and psychology specific resources


Misc.





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