I love things that are free—or practically free.
You know what I’m talking about. It just feels good to get things without having to fork over some hard-earned dinero (money), doesn’t it?
So free music, free books, free language learning? Total jackpot!
And if you own a Kindle, the free fun starts immediately.
No Kindle? No worries—you don’t need to own the device in order to cash in on the bounty. There’s also a free app to download for iOS and Android, which lets you do all the stuff you can do with a Kindle, but on your phone, tablet or computer!
Simply download the app to any (or all!) of your devices and you’re good to go.
If you’re considering purchasing the Kindle or downloading the app, or even if you’re just trying to figure out how to learn Spanish with a device you already own, then read on. The answers to common questions, along with language-hacking tips and a boatload of reading suggestions, are all right at your fingertips.
But before you do that, have a look at FluentU.
FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
How to Learn Spanish for Free with a Kindle or Kindle App
Why the Kindle is Excellent for Encouraging Language Learning
Let’s be honest here. Most of us don’t leave our homes in the morning without at least one electronic device, be it a Kindle, a tablet or a phone. We just don’t. And if we do leave home without one? If you’re anything like me, that means it’s time to turn around and retrieve it.
Personally, I’ve only had to do that a few times. We live in a world where electronics are constantly with us so forgetting them isn’t the norm.
And you know what that means, don’t you? That’s right: you’re carrying around an untapped resource for language learning.
It’s widely accepted that reading in a foreign language substantially increases language ability. In fact, reading is considered to be one of the four core skills involved in language learning (along with speaking, listening and writing).
It therefore makes sense to sharpen your skills by e-reading and putting the Kindle through its paces.
There are so many reasons to use the device or app and since it’s free, there’s no excuse for you not to take advantage of this amazing tool!
What You Can Read With a Kindle or Kindle App
In short, you can read almost anything with your Kindle!
There are some obvious options like novels or non-fiction books, but you can also access (usually free) dictionaries and other reference books. What’s more, there are many magazines and newspapers available in a digital, Kindle-friendly format.
Additionally, there are even language courses available on the Kindle—check out a few recommendations below!
Kindle or the app make language learning portable and convenient. Your titles are instantly accessible—and there are so many to choose from, the problem won’t be finding something appealing, but squeezing in time to read all the great content!
It’s perfect for accessing material to develop language skills, which means there’s something for every level of Spanish learner. From beginner to proficient, your Kindle or the app can deliver content that will accentuate your language studies.
Become a Power User: How to Make Your Kindle a Superior Language Learning Tool
Learning a language is like almost any other endeavor: you need the right tools to do the job well. The Kindle (or the Kindle app) is a tool.
You wouldn’t pick up a power drill without first figuring out how to use it, would you? Of course not. So let’s get your Kindle ready to be an efficient language learning tool.
The first step is to enable several features, either on the Kindle or on your phone or tablet. Amazon has detailed instructions on how to do a few things:
First of all, you should set your default dictionary to display definitions in Spanish.
Next, familiarize yourself with the Vocabulary Builder, a super feature that allows you to study translated words on flashcards. So if you’re stuck on a word and you hit the translate feature, the device stores it on a flashcard which you can review any time.
Think about it: when you’re done with the day’s reading session, you’ve got a specific set of vocabulary flashcards for the words you had trouble with. Not a one-size-fits-all pile of flashcards, but a set made specifically with your learning in mind. Pure genius!
Sources for Free (Or Low-cost) Spanish Kindle Options
Project Gutenberg is the go-to source for materials in the public domain—read: free! It was established in 1971 with the intent to get literary works in the hands and minds of the public, and it now has over 54,000 titles in its catalog. The Spanish section is filled with diverse genres so it’s worth taking a peek to see what’s there—and most have Kindle options for downloading.
Amazon’s own Tienda Kindle (Kindle store) is the spot to look for Spanish-language Kindle books. Some cost under a dollar and of course there are full-price options if you want to purchase them. There’s also a whole section devoted to free Spanish books, so be sure to check that out, too!
Additionally, Kindle Unlimited can be a cost-effective option if you read a few books a month. This Amazon program gives you access to over a million books, many of which are available in Spanish, for a low monthly fee. There’s usually a free trial, so you might as well try it out.
Free Spanish Ebooks is another site that has a large library of books to download to your Kindle or device. Registration is free and gives you instant access to the books.
What to Download: Some Suggestions
There are so many reading options that it’s not difficult to be overwhelmed by all the titles. Personal taste will certainly influence what you read, but if ramping up your Spanish skills is the goal, you should get a few basics on board. Here are some of my recommendations for various genres.
If you’re in the early stages of study, a Spanish course for beginners (or, better yet, two courses!) should be on your must-have list. Once downloaded, they’re at your fingertips, letting you improve your language skills anytime, anywhere.
There are so many reading genres—and the newer ones get tweaked so they sometimes seem to morph into each other—but time doesn’t change the classics. They’re used to teach English in schools and we’ve all read our share (“Moby Dick,” anyone?), but they’re useful for learning Spanish, too.
The principles that make classic literary gold are the same no matter the language. Recently I read “The Prisoner of Zenda” in Spanish and enjoyed it so much that I’m looking to download a copy in Italian. It was that good!
Reading contemporary fiction is another surefire way to increase Spanish language skills, and the dialogue, the idioms and even the slang elevate your learning.
Newer releases may not be free or even cheap, but there are many other options that come very close (and indeed, you can get them for free as part of the Kindle Unlimited trial).
“En un rincón del alma” (“Deep in My Soul”) is a popular choice that’s getting great reviews. And if the wizarding world calls to you, one can never go wrong with the well-loved Harry Potter series.
Remember, whatever is in your library or local book store is probably available for the Kindle or to the app on your phone or tablet, and much of it is free.
Looking for new recipes? Yes, reading recipes in Spanish does count as a language-learning exercise even if it seems like more fun than work! I recently downloaded “72 Recetas Para Preparar Cupcakes” (“72 Recipes to Prepare Cupcakes”) and enjoyed not only the recipes, but also the way my cocina (kitchen) smelled during the baking of some very amazing cupcakes. “30 Deliciosas Galletas” (“30 Delicious Cookies”) is also well worth the time and calories!
History buff? Me, too! My next Kindle download is going to be “Breve Historia del Imperio Bizantino” (“Brief History of the Byzantine Empire”). In the Kindle store it’s possible to peek inside some of the books. This one has some really interesting old photographs to accompany the text!
Health is another popular non-fiction genre with many offerings. I recently read “El Camino Sabio” (“The Wise Way”), a book about mindfulness, and enjoyed it so much that I’m hoping to do some of the walk in Spain to see the sights! And if you’re wondering about your physical health, “Bebidas Naturales Para Su Salud” (“Natural Drinks for Your Health”) is one to try—it might even help cancel out those cookies and cupcakes from the free cookbooks!
Children’s literature is a great way to strengthen your language skills. And let’s face it: sometimes the stories are really funny. “No Quiero Dormir” (“I Don’t Want to Sleep”), “El Jardín Misterioso” (“The Mysterious Garden”) or “El Despertar de los Dragones” (“The Awakening of the Dragons”) all offer solid language practice with a ton of interesting reading. The last one (which I totally recommend) is about dragons; it’s the first book in a series.
Romance, biographies, science fiction, religion and so much more—it’s all there for the taking.
If you’re not ready to commit to a full-size novel or lengthy non-fiction bestseller, there are Spanish language magazines, also.
“Speak to Me” is a Spanish/English audio magazine for Spanish language learners. I listened to one and was very surprised to learn the origin of a favorite childhood song!
Entertainment at your fingertips, and pages that turn with the tap of a fingertip…does it get any better than that? This Spanish-speaking bibliophile thinks not!
So use your Kindle, tablet or phone as a super way to power up your Spanish language skills!
¡Buena suerte! (Good luck!)