Looking for some tools to supplement your Spanish lessons? Between the internet and what you can gather up or make on your own, there's no need to panic! Next time you get stuck on a section or test, simply turn to these eight great tools that will facilitate your entry into the Spanish-speaking population.
Eight Tools You'll Love When Learning Spanish
1. Spanish to English Dictionary
You'd be surprised at how many Spanish students overlook this. Whether your diccionario is online or a portable paperback, be sure to have one available at all times. Pocket dictionaries are great for quick translations and you should always carry one if you're visiting a Spanish-speaking country or area. But when you're at home studying or online with your Spanish software program, turn to SpanishDict or Word Reference (an online community dictionary of sorts).
If you're the bookworm type, the Collins Pro Spanish-English Translation Dictionary is amazing. There are also some great mobile apps available from the top web dictionaries out there. In short, there's absolutely zero reason for you to be caught without a Spanish to English dictionary no matter where you are!
2. Spanish Flashcards
Whether you buy them in a store or online, or make them yourself, there's a reason your teacher made you use flashcards back in elementary school—they work. Simply put a picture of the object on one side of the card (draw it or cut one out from a magazine if you're making them) and write the Spanish word for that item on the other side. Then, have a friend quiz you or, quiz yourself. Just be sure that you don't write the English word for the item anywhere on the card—you want to completely immerse yourself in Spanish and associate the actual object or item (not the English word) with the Spanish word so you automatically think in Spanish.
Spanish Grammar SparkNotes makes great pre-made cards or if you want to print them out yourself, head on over to Flash Card Exchange, a flashcard database website that has them all set for you to print out.
3. The Newspaper
Whether you call it el periodico o el diario, nothing gets you immersed in the language and culture of the Spanish language like current events. You can sub this out for entertainment magazines or any other type of literature (100 Years of Solitude in original Spanish!), but the goal here is the same: Spanish literature and print copy are amazing tools to keep your mind focused on Spanish as it actually appears in real life, not just how some textbook manufacturers think it does (how many times can Paco and Juan go to the store to buy milk, cheese and beans for their grandmother?).
4. Immerse Your Digital Life
An often overlooked tool to learn Spanish is right inside of your digital devices—your language settings. Switch your phone, your computer, all of your apps, your email, your Facebook—switch it all over to Spanish and roll with the punches. While you might not be able to get around your devices as quickly as you could before, that will only last for a short while. You'll be surprised at how many functions you'll remember by action and repetition, so as you go through the motions, take note of the words and phrases you're learning. It's guaranteed that you'll learn a ton of words and phrases that are not in any textbook or online software program! Just don't switch the settings before a big meeting or test and be sure to remember how to undo them...just in case.
5. Google Translate
Don't overlook this free translation tool. Google has all the data in the world at its fingertips and now you do as well. You can translate words, phrases, sentences, or even put in the URL for a website and have the entire thing translated. Plus, when you translate sentences, you can swap out words to make the sentence flow better or use the proper dialect.
6. Daily Words
You know the joke about the people who use a big word only because it was in their Daily Word email/calendar/toilet paper roll? Well, sign up at Spanish Word a Day's website and get daily emails with phrases, words and saying each and every day. Build your vocabulary like never before!
Watch Spanish movies with English subtitles. Genius, right? You can do this with music videos, telenovelas—basically any media with Spanish language. Once you get to the advanced stages, start dropping the subtitles and really get down to business!
8. Four Websites to learn Spanish
Check these four great websites as learning tools (I'm counting them as one because why not!). First, duolingo.com, a social learning platform that keeps you motivated and learning along with others. Then, head to LiveMocha.com, a social community site that pairs you up with Skype partners who will help you learning Spanish—you can also help people with their English. Next, go to MindSnacks.com where you can find and create mobile apps (mainly for kids and beginners). Finally, go over to Nulu.com and have today's Spanish newspapers read to you.
Author Bio – This article is written by Shannon Mitchell from bestwaytolearnlanguage.com. If you’re on the lookout for a trusted source to learn Spanish easily don’t forget to check out this Rocket Spanish Premium Plus program.