I want to quickly tell you guys about a fantastic resource that’s available to you and is especially good for beginners and even those at an intermediate level: children’s books. They’re fun to read (how could you dislike a story about a talking worm, or three little bears that live in the woods?), and they use very simple grammar and syntax and common, basic vocabulary. They’re perfect for learning a new language.
Not only can you go down to your local public library and borrow a few (depending on how big it is, this may not be possible or their selection may be very limited) but you can also find tons and tons of them online, many for free (yes, I’m about to show you where!).
The International Children’s Digital Library
Just go to the Spanish section of The International Children’s Digital Library, and you’ll find that there are currently 168 books in the Spanish section, all of which you can read right there on their website for free (just click on the book you want, and then click on the link on the left where it says “Read This Book”)! Awesome, right? And, for those of you learning other languages, please note the drop-down menu on the above-linked-to-page where you can choose from dozens of other languages as well!
Important (and quick) side note!
If you’re reading this you’re probably learning Spanish and at a beginner or low-intermediate level, and if so I strongly encourage you to check out a course called Rocket Spanish, it’s cheap and specifically designed to teach spoken, Latin American Spanish, quickly. The teachers are all native speakers from Latin America and the Spanish they teach is the everyday kind used in normal conversation by those same native speakers, you learn to speak the way people here (I’m in Colombia at the moment!) actually talk. I’ve tried a lot such courses and this is my recommendation for the moment, check it out. Back to the article…
Amazon has got a fairly wide selection of children’s books in other languages, including Spanish. In fact, they’ve got an entire foreign-language section within their Children’s Books section, with the Spanish one (here) being, by far, the largest with 476 books currently listed.
If you’ve been putting off reading Spanish because you think you’re just not advanced enough yet and you’ve tried reading maybe some Spanish blog posts or newspaper stories and could barely understand anything, well guess what? You’re fresh out of excuses now, aren’t you?
I can’t emphasize enough what a fantastic method this is, you really ought to try it, it’s fun, you learn tons of the language, and you’re learning all the right stuff that you need to learn as a beginner: the basic, common things that even children are expected to know. Isn’t that the sort of stuff that you’d want to learn first and foremost anyway?
Please, please, please: if you have any other similar resources or sites you know of where we can read or download children’s books in foreign languages, post them in the comments and I’ll edit them into this post and give you credit, we’re all about helping each other learn here. And let me know what you think, as always.
Aaron from Everyday Language Learner came up with a link to a fantastic site in Turkish where you can actually “watch” a children’s book, so to speak: it shows you the pages while a native speaker reads to you, very cool. Thanks, Aaron.