Which Are The Most Important Tools For Spanish Learning That Can Help You Learn Spanish More Effectively

For a beginner the Spanish learning program (course, tutorial, platform, system) is the most important tool. The chosen right program is the ultimate guide to Spanish, at least during the first couple of weeks.

Once you’ve found the right learning program for you, I recommend you to hold on tight to it and not to let yourself get distracted from other learning programs.

You need however some accessories and additional tools that will make you achieve your end goal much easier.

1. Dictionary - for beginners and intermediate

You don’t need to buy a massive and heavy hardcover brick, there are lots of dictionaries online, as long as you have a computer connected to the Internet. You need a big enough Spanish-English dictionary – it’s very important in long-term perspective.

Upon choosing it, make sure it contains not only words, but phrases and idioms. A good Spanish-English dictionary is important for contextual learning which comes after your beginner’s course in Spanish is over.

You could use also a small English-Spanish dictionary. Mind however that such a dictionary can be very dangerous. Don’t use it to search words to write essays or to tell stories.

Everything you speak and write, you should have seen or heard it before. Your task is to imitate, not to substitute English words with Spanish ones. An English-Spanish dictionary could mislead you in applying Spanish.

You can never be sure about how a word or a phrase is used until you see or hear it used by a native Spanish or by someone else who masters Spanish. You could use this dictionary in rare case, when you have forgotten a word, or this word is any simple object.

2. Grammar book – for intermediate

It is supposed to be used as a reference. It’s not intended to be your book, textbook or tutorial. You should not read it like a normal book or textbook.
It has to combine concise and clear explanations of grammar rule and enough drills thereon – likewise Murphy’s grammar about English language.

3. Phrase book - for beginners and intermediate

They usually comprise grammar explanations and a dictionary, along with pronunciation instructions, but the most valuable is the set of phrases commonly used in a given situation. Again it should be your reference. You are supposed to have heard or read before every phrase you use.

4. Audio recordings + audio player (with headphones) – for beginners and intermediate

No language can be learnt without audio. Listening and talking is a vital precondition not only for developing your conversational skills, but also for coping with reading and writing as well. Listening and talking helps quickly to progress towards thinking in Spanish, and that is the main goal for every language beginner.

5. Computer with Internet connection – for beginners and intermediate

I think it’s obvious. You can find everything in the net. If you want to study conversational Spanish, there are millions of audio and video clips, presentations, songs, interviews and so on. If you want to develop your reading skills, the amount of resources is practically endless. If you want to write, you could write articles, posts, you can chat or email with thousands of Spanish speaking people. Internet is an option that would reveal Spanish out of your regular course, and would prepare you for the phase where the course is over and you are going to deal with Spanish all by yourself.

6. Radio and TV with Spanish programs – for beginners and intermediate

Every learner should get used to natural Spanish spoken with natural speed on radio and TV. By listening to radio and watching TV you:
- Discover and learn the words  and phrases you’ve just met in your lesson
- Learn new words and phrases
- Start developing your perception for contextual learning – that is, learning everything out from your regular learning course.

7. Tools for memorizing words and phrases – for beginners and intermediate

These tools might include a vocabulary log-book, a notebook, flashcards, a copybook.  
You might need to write a word in order to memorize it, or you might not need that. Words can be learnt not only by repetition but also through their extensive use.

The vocabulary in your memory should both be refreshed and expanded.

Memorizing a word or a grammar rule does not alone guarantee their successful implementation in practice. More about these tools you can find here.

8. Voice recorder – for beginners

You need it to track and correct your pronunciation, in case your language learning program does not have any speech recognition software available.

You can record a lot – a set of words or phrases, your lesson read by you, some questions asked and to be answered by you. Just make sure that you have next to you the correct pronunciation of all those phrases and conversations.