Reviews of Learning Spanish Books

Check out the Lingwiz's choice of BEST LEARNING SPANISH BOOK.

From the many 'Learning Spanish books' available we have chosen some essential ones, and reviewed them for you. Cut through the hundreds of choices, save yourself time, and get the essentials. Found a deccent Spanish learning text, book or publication? Well why not submit your own analysis and review below via the book Review form. Or rate others' choices.

There is a huge range of choice when it comes to looking for books to help you with learning Spanish. In fact there are probably too many books to choose from.

Be careful of buying too many great 'Learning Spanish books' and thing-a-me-jigs. You can run into the problem of never reading any of them. Far better to get a small number of the best and read and re-read them thoroughly.

Here is an important tip for when it comes to buying a book to help your learn Spanish. Ask yourself this. "Did I read and finish the last Spanish learning book that I bought?". If so, then ask yourself this... "Have I now read it twice?"

Yes twice.

Why not three times? You glean more and more with each reading, plus the second and third times around will be quicker.

Lingwiz says: Be warned. Many of us get the 'If I buy it I must be learning it' disease. This disease is a common affliction and make us reach for the credit card in the store (or online) with a sudden rush of blood to the brain when we see another of the Learning Spanish books..... and we just have to have it. We are so used to buying the instant fix. But with language learning buying the book, course or software program is just stage 1.

You must act! READ the Spanish book, and work through the examples!

Too often it can just sit there on the shelf, joined regularly by another new book, cd-rom, course, audio that doesn't get used.

Anyway here we review some of the better Spanish learning books. Let's start with what I think is unquestionably the BEST learning Spanish book bar none...

The Lingwiz's choice as the BEST learning Spanish book bar none...

If you are only going to buy ONE Spanish learning book, this one is the Lingwiz's 5 star choice.

Madrigal's Magic Key to Spanish - A Creative and Proven Approach, by Margaret Madrigal

Published by Broadway Books, New York.496 pages.
Now - hear this I don't get a penny of commission when recommending these learn Spanish books.*

This book is just great. I have pored over many Spanish learning texts and this one takes the biscuit ... still. The first edition was published in 1951. There have been other publications of it since.

It is laid out in 45 chapters. She is a master teacher that really knows how to teach her subject. It is packed with thousands of words, phrases, sentences and working examples.

'Learning Spanish Books' on Spanish Verbs

501 Spanish Verbs

A handy text that is necessary for every Spanish learner's bookshelf is one of the books with fully conjugated verbs, such as the classic learning Spanish books 501 Spanish Verbs by Christopher Kendris, PhD.

A sound basic text with 501 Spanish verbs fully conjugated, alphabetically arranged. This is a handy reference book.

The main drawback, and a big one, is that it assumes you are a reasonably advanced learner and gives all the titles of verbs by their formal name (conditional instead of 'would', preterite instead of '***-ed, present perfect indicative instead of e.g 'have spoken') so at first a new learner/reader is constantly flicking back to the beginning to find what the hell each title means, particularly as it is given in Spanish!

The layout is very drab and the descriptions at the beginning are written in fairly technical linguistic language. Written by academics for academics, but nevertheless a handy reference. There are other similar verb texts as well. Read a more comprehensive report on the learning Spanish textbooks 501 Spanish Verbs by Dr Christopher Kendris.

Spanish Verb Tenses - Practice Makes Perfect

By Dorothy Devney Richmond, published by Passport Books, NTC Contemporary Publishing Group. 305 pages.
This is an excellent book written by a lady who teaches Spanish language courses at the University of St Thomas in St Paul, Minnesota, USA.

It is laid out in three Parts:

  1. Part I - Present Tense
  2. Part II - Past, Future and Conditional Tenses
  3. Part III - Imperative, Subjunctive, Compound Tenses and the Passive Voice in Spanish
She goes into great depth on all the subjects, and gives hundreds and hundreds of practical examples and sentences.

Spanish Verbs: SER and ESTAR. Key to Mastering the Language

By Juan and Susan Serrano, published by Hippocrene Books, New York. 219 pages.
This is an excellent text that sets out to make these two tricky verbs easier to learn. Spanish learners often have great difficulties with understanding SER and ESTAR.

These guys clear it up. They explain the two fundamental differences between the verbs, then give hundreds and hundreds of useful practical examples. A must read for anyone serious about mastering Spanish. All university students of Spanish must read this book.

Spanish Dictionaries

I like the Oxford English- Spanish Dictionaries.

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*This is true at time of writing - 7 Sept, 2007, and this is unlikely to change, but I do reserve the right to change my mind.
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