Apps could freeze.
Websites may not load.
And as fun as your videos are, they rely on an internet connection.
In the age of technology, what’s the one resource you can always count on? Books.
For teachers, there will always be a place for books.
And nowadays, it’s common for books to come with an online supplement, so the two can live in harmony—there’s no need to pick a side.
But do you have a solid collection of Spanish teaching books?
Or could your bookshelf use an update?
Go to any large bookstore and you’ll find shelf after shelf of Spanish teaching books. But knowing which are worth your money is not so obvious.
Not to worry, though, because we’ve taken the guesswork out of it for you: We’ve picked out 16 awesome teaching books you’ll want to have on hand. Whether you’re looking for teaching ideas, test prep resources, classroom resources or self-study workbooks for students, we’ve got you covered.
But before we get to the sweet sixteen, let’s check out some of the benefits of using such books:
Why Books Are Needed to Teach Spanish
Using books to plan your lessons and instruct your students to read is useful in that it provides a text to which they can refer inside and outside of class. When your student encounters a particularly challenging element of Spanish grammar, he or she can quickly refer to a book within arm’s reach.
The benefits don’t stop there! Books can also act as a cornerstone for your lessons, and inside they often include ideas for activities related to teaching the text. Most Spanish learning books contain one or more sections with exercises, game ideas, short stories and more that can be directly applied to the classroom.
If you opt for using digital versions of books, take full advantage of the benefits that go along with your virtual copy. Some of them include accompanying activities to supplement your reading and learning experience.
16 Sensational Spanish Teaching Books You’ve Gotta Have
The Best Spanish Teaching Books
We’re dividing this list into four sections, beginning with the four best Spanish teaching books:
You’ve been there during your Spanish studies, and likely still find yourself faced with verb-conjugation quandaries. What is the third person past simple conjugation of poner? For every one of these questions, refer to your new best friend in text (or digital) form: “501 Spanish Verbs.”
One way to incorporate this book into class is to have students pair up, then have one student flip to the index and point to a random verb. Next, the other student will choose a verb tense from deck of cards with verb tenses they’re familiar with. Finally, the students will conjugate the verb in that tense, and then check their answers using the book.
Furthermore, you can make a deck of cards with different characters from famous movies or TV shows. Have students pick a character card from that deck, a card from the deck of verb tenses and a verb from the index, and then make sentences orally or in writing. For example, one student in the pair would point to dormir in the index. The other student would select two cards. If he selected “Winnie the Pooh” and “el futuro,” he would write or say “Winnie the Pooh dormirá.”
What’s the key to laying the building blocks of a strong Spanish learning foundation? You guessed it, grammar! At least, that is the belief of this book, written by Barbara Bregstein. The pages provide readers with a strong ground in the grammar needed to master Spanish quickly.
The rules and concepts of Spanish grammar are laid out in a simple, straightforward way in order of importance. To integrate this book into the classroom, go through the practice exercises from the pages in class, or have your students do them in pairs for homework.
You can also opt for other grammar games, such as making the exercises into a classroom version of Jeopardy. To do this, write down the exercises from the book on the black/whiteboard in class if you have access to one. Then, place a sheet of paper with the amount of points the question is worth over the question, and have students or teams take turns choosing a number value and category and answering them.
The highly regarded “Living Language” series is essentially a Spanish course in a box, and for an affordable price (the beginner through advanced series, features three course books, nine audio CDs and online learning).
The series is ideal for classroom incorporation, as the learning sequence is easy to follow and flows at a reasonable pace for students. To incorporate this learning tool in the classroom, use the textbooks and the CDs as the framework for lessons and have students follow along with their own copies of the books if desired.
The Living Language Spanish site contains activities for use in class as well, such as word searches and conversation topics.
So many fantastic options for teaching Spanish with libros, so little time. “Spanish Now!” is the most traditional of the options listed in this section, and comes as a textbook/workbook combo set. The important thing to remember with this option as a teaching tool is that it isn’t ideal for self-study, so it will require you to guide your students a bit more.
That said, it provides you with all of the framework you need to create stellar lesson plans. Teachers who have used this book in class point out the chapter layout as the best feature, as each section begins with a story, picture and some with short skits to keep students engaged in the learning process.
Top-rated Self-study Books for Your Students
Okay, okay, so perhaps studying outside of class isn’t exactly at the top of your students’ priority lists. However, depending on what drives them to take Spanish and their varying levels of motivation, some may wish to do just that. As their teacher, you should be ready to guide them in the right direction on where to further their Spanish skills. An ideal way to do so is to tell them about these five fantastic self-study books available.
Highly recommended, the “Practice Makes Perfect” series holds arguably the best self-study Spanish workbooks out there. These workbooks have really clear explanations while still including important grammatical details that often get simplified in other resources. After each topic is introduced, there are plenty of practice exercises with solutions in the back.
In the grammar/verb-focused workbooks, the creators did a fantastic job of gradually teaching and integrating vocabulary, while keeping the focus on the grammatical topic at hand. A handy glossary and verb tables are also found in the back of the workbooks.
Workbooks available in this series include: Basic Spanish, Spanish Pronouns and Prepositions, Spanish Verb Tenses, Complete Spanish Grammar and Spanish Vocabulary.
Whether you want to learn about different varieties of wine and how to identify them, how to operate your new computer software or, in this case, about the Spanish language, the “for Dummies” series is here to help.
These books are ideal for your students to use as a supplement to the main textbooks you opt to use in class. The short chapters, helpful tips sections and easy-to-navigate index intermingle to provide a stress-free learning experience.
Do your students dread the idea of memorization exercises and drills? Those students in particular would benefit greatly from “Madrigal’s Magic Key to Spanish,” as it eliminates the need for such exercises. Some of the rave reviews of the book state that its format and presentation are unbeatable and that it helps clarify often-murky Spanish topics and teaches them in a fun way.
When your students aren’t sure which Spanish learning resources are the best, have them pick up this book. It lays out the pros and cons of top Spanish learning resources, such as dictionaries and self-study books, to name a few. It provides a comprehensive collection of thoughtful reviews so you and your students can select the resources that will work best for them.
Marcial Prado packed the pages of this book full of useful information for Spanish self-study. It takes the concept of a traditional phrasebook and merges it with grammar and vocabulary lessons, along with corresponding activities to ensure readers grasped the concepts. This book has been said to be so comprehensive that it could be the base of a Spanish study program.
Best Rated Test-prep Books for Spanish
Proficiency tests, AP tests, statewide tests, nationwide tests and any other exam you can think of all have practice guides available to your students to help them feel best prepared.
This brand, the Research and Education Association, makes books to help Spanish students prepare for a number of tests including the CLEP (a test that can grant college credit to takers), the AP and the SAT subject test. What sets this brand apart are its detailed explanations of each answer to the practice tests.
Their huge collection of educational Spanish language books includes:
- “AP Spanish Language and Culture All Access w/Audio: Book + Online + Mobile”
- “CLEP Spanish Language”
- “REA’s Handbook of Spanish Grammar, Style, and Writing”
- “Spanish Super Review”
- “The Essentials of Spanish”
- “Spanish Interactive Flashcards Book”
And they even offer some handy, quick-access charts for topics such as:
Barron’s test prep series include a vast amount of practice tests for anyone preparing to take a Spanish exam, whether it be the subject test of the SAT, ACT or any other. Barron’s also makes flashcards and other supplemental materials to further benefit those preparing for the tests. Furthermore, most of the test prep books published by Barron’s come with accompanying CDs.
Here’s some of what you may find interesting from Barron’s:
- “Spanish Grammar”
- “Mastering Spanish Vocabulary with Audio MP3: A Thematic Approach”
- “501 Spanish Verbs with CD-ROM and Audio CD”
- “Barron’s AP Spanish Language and Culture with MP3 CD,” 9th Edition
Recognize the name? Kaplan test prep guides have been around for decades and continue to provide students with the confidence they need to excel at whatever exam they are preparing for. The Spanish test prep books for Kaplan include complete practice tests as well as test-taking strategies.
Mometrix publishes books to help readers prepare for just about any Spanish-related test you can imagine, from Spanish-teaching certification tests to CORE exams for different states.
Books with Tips on Teaching Spanish
Feeling a bit stuck in your teaching career? Do you simply desire to understand more about the art of teaching and modern teaching methods? Pick up a copy of one or more of the following books from an online retailer, physical bookstore or your local library.
Interested in the latest research and findings involving Spanish acquisition? This book details just that, giving its readers a better understanding of just how those learning another language do so. Understanding the science behind learning Spanish will make you a more understanding teacher who better grasps the struggles of today’s students. It also suggests some modern teaching methods that you can incorporate into your classroom.
Here’s another fabulous resource for improving your Spanish-teaching skills. The aspect of this series that make it stand out is that it’s geared towards teachers new to the field looking to acquire skills to make them excel. These affordable books cater to the needs of those teaching any level of Spanish from kindergarten on.
Wow, that title is a mouthful! But for teachers working in bilingual and dual language classroom settings, it can be an immeasurably useful resource. The book offers the most up-to-date teaching methods based on current research. The text puts the most current research regarding modern teaching methods for bilingual and dual immersion into context by explaining how it works in the classroom. It also explains how to cater your lessons to differing levels of Spanish.
So, go forth with your new-found list of resources and help equip your students and yourself with the literary tools you need!
Oh, and One More Thing…
If you already love the idea of teaching with bite-sized snippets of authentic Spanish content, another option is to use FluentU. We feature tons of clips—the modern, audio-visual equivalent of short stories, if you will.
How can video clips aid Spanish teachers in class? FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, cartoons, documentaries and more—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons for you and your students.
We’ve got a tremendous collection of authentic Spanish videos that people in the Spanish-speaking world actually watch on the regular. There are tons of great choices here when you’re looking for material for in-class activities or homework. Plus, all the videos are sorted by skill level and are carefully annotated for students.
Each video has interactive subtitles. If a student comes across a word they’re unfamiliar with, they can hover their cursor over the subtitled word. That word’s definition, pronunciation and in-context usage examples will all pop up on-screen instantly. This is what your students will get after they click “watch” on a video. Clicking “learn” opens up a whole new learning experience for them.
In learn mode, all the vocabulary and grammar from the video is taught and reinforced through varied repetition (practicing the same concepts in different forms and contexts). They’ll play with flashcards, games, word matches and exercises like “fill in the blank.”
The best part is that FluentU keeps track of the vocabulary that they’re learning, and it recommends examples and videos based on what they’ve already learned. Every student has a truly personalized experience, even if they’re learning the same video.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to teach Spanish with real-world videos.