The average American spends 17,600 minutes driving every year. That’s 293 hours.
Now consider this: The Foreign Service Institute estimates it takes 600 hours to reach a general proficiency in Spanish.
Why not use the CD player in your dash as the valuable resource it is?
Pop in Spanish CDs and bring listening comprehension, grammar studies and pronunciation practice to those endless miles.
- Behind the Wheel Spanish
- On Target: Spanish for Healthcare Providers
- Barron’s AP Spanish with Audio CDs and CD-ROM
- Rock ‘N Learn Spanish
- Spanish Audio Course
- Oxford Take Off in Latin American Spanish: The Complete Language Learning Kit
- The Michel Thomas Method’s Total Spanish Foundation Course
- Pimsleur’s Conversational Spanish Course
- AudioNovo Spanish I to III
- Mexican Spanish Accelerated
- Instant Immersion’s Beginner Latin American Spanish Course
- Spanish Conversation Demystified
- Keep Talking Spanish
- Avenidas: Beginning a Journey in Spanish
- Conversational Spanish Lessons for Construction Workers
- Spanish for Children
Behind the Wheel Spanish
Behind the Wheel Spanish offers three levels of CD options including Spanish 1, Spanish 2 and Spanish 3. These levels go from beginning to intermediate Spanish.
The Behind the Wheel series focuses on helping you learn Spanish during your drive time. It uses brief, information-dense lessons to help you learn key information. Each level builds on previous levels, so it’s easy to follow the whole course in order.
The main focus of Behind the Wheel Spanish is to provide you with the common vocabulary and skills needed to build sentences rather than memorizing phrases. If you’re looking to continue learning Spanish, this is an ideal choice since it provides you with foundational skills you can build upon in the future.
The CDs use an English speaker for instruction and a native Spanish speaker for examples. Each set has eight CDs and hours of content. Each set also comes with a companion book that includes transcripts of the CDs and related exercises.
On Target: Spanish for Healthcare Providers
On Target: Spanish for Healthcare Providers provides targeted education to prepare doctors, nurses and other health professionals to communicate effectively with Spanish-speaking patients.
This CD set teaches helpful medical terms like body parts, diseases, procedures and more.
It also comes with a mini phrasebook to help you continue your practice with or without the audio.
The CDs do move along quite quickly, so this is a strong option for anyone who’s already at an intermediate level or higher who needs to learn medical Spanish. Beginning students are likely to be overwhelmed.
Barron’s AP Spanish with Audio CDs and CD-ROM
If you’re preparing for the AP Spanish test, Barron’s AP Spanish with Audio CDs and CD-ROM is an invaluable tool. However, you don’t have to be preparing for the AP test to benefit from this set.
The set comes with four CDs, a CD-ROM and a book. It’s designed to help students excel on the AP Spanish test by providing them listening, reading, writing and speaking practice. While it targets the exam specifically, any Spanish student needs these skills, so the set remains a strong choice.
The CDs contain audio examples as well as transcripts of the audio—just be sure you aren’t trying to read along if you’re listening while driving! Additionally, the practice exams are a helpful way to test your learning.
SmartSpanish is a set of CDs designed for beginning Spanish students.
It aims to prepare you to speak Spanish and understand spoken Spanish, with the ultimate goal of being able to hold real conversations in Spanish.
Material is spoken slowly and then you repeat after the speaker. This lets you practice both speaking and listening. Additionally, tips and explanations are given in English to help you understand the Spanish language in more depth.
The CD set also comes with a brief booklet that contains transcriptions of the audio so that you can read along or study independently.
Rock ‘N Learn Spanish
Rock ‘N Learn Spanish is an unconventional Spanish learning CD. Rather than focusing on speaking and repetition, Rock ‘N Learn Spanish focuses on teaching you basic Spanish words and phrases through catchy songs. You’ll learn common vocabulary related to things like telling time, the seasons and more. While the program is aimed at children, it’s great for anyone who would rather learn Spanish with a little musical accompaniment.
The CD comes with a short learning book with activities. The set also includes a cassette if you’re of that persuasion.
Spanish Audio Course
Spanish Audio Course is by Collins Dictionaries, which produces a wide array of different language dictionaries.
This audio course is designed as a quick, easy option for travelers. It doesn’t cover grammar like some other CDs, so it’s great if you just need some quick, functional communication skills but aren’t looking to become fully proficient.
The format is simple: the CD plays a phrase and you repeat it. This helps prepare you to make basic requests, ask basic questions and understand common phrases.
Oxford Take Off in Latin American Spanish: The Complete Language Learning Kit
Oxford Take Off in Latin American Spanish: The Complete Language Learning Kit offers a comprehensive learning program with a significant CD component.
The set covers basic vocabulary based on scenarios related to eating out, health, public transportation and other common situations. It comes with CDs and a book, which are designed to be used together. Sections begin with a listening activity on the CD.
Then, the book provides written activities, dialogues, vocabulary and grammar rules that build upon the recording. This provides a comprehensive foundation in Spanish for beginning students.
The set focuses exclusively on Latin American Spanish, which is a great way to master this regional dialect without distraction. However, if you’re interested in learning Castilian Spanish (the style spoken in Spain), this might not be an ideal choice.
The Michel Thomas Method’s Total Spanish Foundation Course
“What you understand, you know; and what you know, you don’t forget.”
That’s how Michel Thomas put it. A polyglot who spoke 10 languages, Thomas was a brilliant linguist who introduced his accelerated method of language learning to some of Hollywood’s biggest stars as well as the general public.
He taught languages for over 50 years—and more than a decade after his death, his methodology is still relevant.
So how do his courses work? He based the method on principles of instructional psychology, enabling the brain to retain information without repetition, memorization or homework. Spanish language components are broken down into brain-sized bites that’ll be easily recalled.
With this CD set, eight hours of audio material put the learner into a simulated classroom with two other “students” and an instructor, all of whom are already present in the audio classroom. Learners “interact” with the teacher and other students as material is presented, discussed and absorbed.
To build on the virtual classroom environment, there are interactive activities included in this package so you can apply your new skills. Confidence is a priority with this course so you’ll build your own sentences, reply to questions and rely on what you’re learning to carry you to the next level.
Pimsleur’s Conversational Spanish Course
Dr. Paul Pimsleur’s method of strategic repetition and core vocabulary building is a full-on way to get your Spanish skills moving.
First, let’s get the methodology down. This program uses graduated interval recall, which just means that the coursework provides the optimal spacing for information to move from short-term memory to long-term memory. In other words, the audio is spaced out so that you naturally remember new words, rather than forcing yourself to memorize them.
But it’s not just about listening. You’ll be prompted to speak in response to the audio and participate in a simulated conversation. As your vocabulary and grammar foundations develop, it’s not difficult to respond correctly when prompted.
This course has eight CDs and eight hours of lessons. Each lesson has 30 minutes of speaking practice, vocabulary and grammar work. Greetings, numbers, asking and giving directions, telling time and other conversational basics are covered.
You may’ve already heard of Pimsleur, one of the biggest players in audio language learning. If you like this course or are looking for other varieties as you advance, Pimsleur has lots of options targeting both European and Latin American Spanish. You can keep it simple with the CDs or branch out to their MP3 and mobile programs.
AudioNovo Spanish I to III
Got a long commute to work? This program is recommended for use in cars. Structured for 30 minutes of study per day, it leaves you lots of time to either repeat a lesson or move forward at your own pace.
Conversational teaching techniques provide even absolute beginners with a foundation for basic discussions in Spanish. Words are given detailed descriptions and explanations as they’re introduced so everything is very clear. The program uses native speakers so learners can repeat words and phrases with confidence that they’re getting them “right” the first time!
There are three audio CDs with 44 hours of material. The creators of this course assert that it can take someone from beginner to advanced in three months.
Now, that’s something to ponder as the miles slide by, isn’t it?
Mexican Spanish Accelerated
Did you know Mexico has more Spanish speakers than any other country?
This course delivers authentic Mexican Spanish taught by an American instructor who’s helped out by Mexican assistants. Accurate pronunciation and cultural references are key elements.
It features eight one-hour audio lessons, making this a crash course in Spanish. It might not be for everyone but, hey, if you need to get your Spanish groove on ¡pronto! (soon) this could be perfect!
Instant Immersion’s Beginner Latin American Spanish Course
This course features eight CDs plus a workbook (which has transcripts for the lessons, making review time a breeze!).
The audio lessons rely on native speakers to introduce words and phrases, so the authentic pronunciation encourages accurate repetition on your part. This audio-lingual, listen-and-repeat method mimics the way native language is acquired.
It’s an instant immersion beginner audio course that covers the alphabet, greetings, common dining phrases, the days of the week and even some travel and cultural items. It provides a solid foundation for further learning—and even if the basics are all that’s needed, this is a course that’ll help get the job done.
Spanish Conversation Demystified
Some learners don’t want to take the fast lane to absolute fluency. They want to get hooked up with essential conversation skills, important grammar issues and just complete a basic course to teach them enough Spanish to get by.
This is the course for doing just that.
The two CDs are accompanied by a book that reviews skills covered by the audio dialogues. The basics—like meeting new people or talking on the phone—are covered in enough depth that a learner will feel comfortable using the vocabulary soon after listening.
It’s a very good trial course to take before deciding whether continuing on a Spanish learning journey.
Keep Talking Spanish
This is an upper-beginner course that builds on the essentials. It does assume the listener has a foundational knowledge of Spanish basics, so if you’re just starting to make progress in the language, this is the course to bring you to the next level.
By the end of the 10 days, this course promises that you’ll know how to speak with tradespeople, navigate public transportation, explain who you are and what you do for a living and have enough confidence to merge seamlessly into Spanish conversations.
Avenidas: Beginning a Journey in Spanish
Avenidas translates to avenues, and it seems wonderfully appropriate since this course looks like an ideal first path for Spanish learning.
It’s a book course with an accompanying CD that covers grammar and vocabulary. The emphasis is gaining competence to express thoughts effectively and creatively at a first-year level.
Customer reviews indicate that this course is often used with success in a classroom setting. So if you have more of a traditional learning style, this might be a great option for you.
Conversational Spanish Lessons for Construction Workers
The title of this course may have you hitting the brakes hard. I mean, unless you’re a construction worker this one’s not for you, right?
This two-CD course is definitely the go-to for bridging the communication gap between Spanish and English speakers on construction sites, but it has other applications as well.
Think about where you park your car—when you turn off the Spanish language CDs and head inside for the night. You go home, right? And what’s a home but a mini-construction zone?
Most of the items discussed between construction workers about building or renovating are pertinent to homeowners, too. Many of us need to know how to communicate with el fontanero (the plumber) or el electricista (the electrician).
Not every tradesperson who comes into your home speaks English—and communicating effectively with the one who’s going to work on your biggest investment is something you need to nail.
This short course also has more basic professional vocabulary and expressions that may interest you if you’re learning Spanish for work, even if that work isn’t construction.
For example, the course covers how to phrase instructions and commands, vocabulary for arranging work schedules and more.
Spanish for Children
Well, those highway miles aren’t always driven alone, are they? Lots of us have small passengers in our cars and occupying them while driving can be a challenge.
Or, it used to be.
Spanish for Children is a course designed to teach Spanish language and culture to young learners. It’s a great teaching resource—and an excellent diversion on long trips as well as short, around-town hops.
This is a three-CD course that comes with a guidebook as well as an activity book. It’s a complete beginner program that shows even young children can grasp a new language using only a CD course.
Children will learn how to describe places and things, talk about family, zoo animals and other simple conversational topics. And so will you!
This program makes learning Spanish fun—and make no mistake, this course is an effective learning tool for both driver and passenger! Adults will enjoy participating with their young ones, and the fun will make learning seem almost effortless.
So as you learn Spanish, go easy on yourself and give these 17 convenient CDs a try!