Want to boost your Spanish reading skills?
You’ll need some practice.
You’ll need some snacks (fuel is always important).
You’ll need books, of course.
And you’ll also need… your smartphone?
That’s right. With Spanish reading apps, you can focus on reading like never before and take your comprehension skills to the next level.
So if you’re looking to use an app to learn to read Spanish, look no further than these seven “text-cellent” apps!
Why Use an App to Learn to Read Spanish?
While tearing through your bookshelf is always a great way to get reading practice, there are some unique benefits to adding apps to your study regimen.
For one thing, apps that aim to help you improve your Spanish reading skills offer more reading support than standard print resources. For instance, theses apps typically offer translations, so it’s easy to find an unfamiliar word’s meaning quickly (rather than always having to flip through a dictionary). Plus, many apps have quizzes and activities to help reinforce your learning.
Additionally, apps are interactive, so they’re more engaging. Since you can click along, look up words and/or enjoy special features, apps are more likely to hold your attention than standard books or reading lessons. This is likely to keep you using the app longer, and that’ll lead to increased learning.
Finally, Spanish reading apps are convenient. Since you can download apps to your favorite device, you can easily use them anywhere you are. Plus, you can have multiple reading apps on a small, handy device rather than lugging around a bunch of textbooks. Again, the convenience of apps makes you more likely to use them, which means more reading practice and continuous learning.
8 “Text-cellent” Apps That Will Help You Learn to Read Spanish
Readlang is a web-based app that allows you to turn any Spanish-language website into a learning lesson.
Once you’ve installed Readlang, you can instantly translate words or phrases on websites. You can click on a word or drag to highlight a phrase, and a translation will appear instantly. Perhaps best of all, the words and phrases you translate are saved as flashcards so that you can practice them more later.
This unique format and personalized reading experience makes Readlang ideal for Spanish students with some basic knowledge who are looking to improve their reading skills.
You can download the basic version for free. This allows you unlimited flashcards and word translations along with 10 phrase translations per day. For $5 per month, you get unlimited flashcards, word translations and phrase translations.
FluentU is a fun, flexible option to improve not only your reading skills but also your overall language proficiency. You set the pace and the skill level, so it’s a personalized learning experience that’s perfect for any learner.
FluentU takes real-world videos, like music videos, commercials, news and inspiring talks, and turns them into Spanish learning experiences.
Other sites use scripted content. FluentU uses a natural approach that helps you ease into the Spanish language and culture over time. You’ll learn Spanish as it’s actually spoken by real people.
FluentU has a wide variety of videos—topics like soccer, TV shows, business, movies and even magical realism, as you can see here:
FluentU brings native videos within reach with interactive transcripts. You can tap on any word to look it up instantly. Every definition has examples that have been written to help you understand how the word is used.
It’s like 3-D reading practice!
If you see an interesting word you don’t know, you can add it to a vocab list.
Review a complete interactive transcript under the Dialogue tab, and find words and phrases listed under Vocab.
Learn all the vocabulary in any video with FluentU’s robust learning engine. Swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you’re on.
The best part is that FluentU keeps track of the vocabulary that you’re learning, and it recommends you examples and videos based on the words you’ve already learned. Every learner has a truly personalized experience, even if they’re learning the same video.
Start using FluentU on the website with your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store for iOS and Android devices.
The mobile versions of this app are great for learning useful words and phrases and hearing dialogues. And when you combine a mobile app with the web version, you get a powerful reading tool.
That’s because the web version of MosaLingua comes with access to a carefully built library of materials for learners, including e-books. By exploring the content in the library, you can not only practice your reading directly, but also use the translation tool to get instant definitions for any words and phrases you don’t know.
You can then add those words and phrases to your flashcards, which sync across all devices and so will be waiting for you on your phone for on-the-go learning!
The most basic version of MosaLingua is free, with the option to upgrade, and the additional web features cost $59.90 for a year.
4. Lee Paso a Paso by BQWare
Lee Paso a Paso (Read Step by Step) is an app designed to help children learn to read Spanish, whether or not they’re native speakers. However, it’s also a great tool for adult beginner Spanish students.
This app uses images and mini games to help you learn basic phonics and simple words and phrases. The games include matching words with pictures, filling in missing syllables and using syllables to form words. So rather than just encountering new words, you’ll have to actively engage with them, boosting your retention.
Lee Paso a Paso covers 880 words, giving your vocabulary an awesome jumpstart.
5. Spanish in Context by 24/7 Tutor Inc.
Spanish in Context seeks to improve your Spanish skills with audio and texts featuring conversations and articles. It operates under the philosophy that learning words in context will help you better understand and remember them. If you’ve ever tried to learn a vocabulary list by rote memorization, you probably agree!
The texts are interactive, making it easy to look up definitions quickly. Plus, you can practice your accent along the way with the “Speak and Compare” feature, which records your speaking and compares it side-by-side with native pronunciation.
The app also offers quizzes, games and activities to test your learning.
The basic download is free with additional in-app purchases available to expand the material.
6. Reading and Writing Spanish by PEQUELANDLABS
Reading and Writing Spanish is a free app intended for children who are learning to read and write, but it’s also a good tool for beginning Spanish students of any age.
This app focuses on teaching syllables, basic writing (including letter formation) and early vocabulary. Exercises with fun animations help you practice your learning. Activities focus on introducing words and teaching sentence construction by focusing on the individual words composing them.
Additionally, each activity contains an associated animation, which is a great way to connect the written words with their meanings rather than merely translating them to English.
While this is great for building reading skills, the app will also help improve your pronunciation. There are exercises for specific letters that’ll help you nail down the pronunciation of any tricky ones. The audio is very slow so that you can clearly hear the precise pronunciation of each letter.
While this app is pretty basic, if you’re just setting out it’s a good option.
7. Leo con Grin by Educaplanet
Leo con Grin (I Read with Grin) is geared toward kids, especially the digital native generation; but again, it’s an effective reading practice tool that Spanish learners of all ages can use.
The app focuses on helping you read Spanish from scratch. First, you’ll learn letters. Then, you’ll use these letters to build words. Then, you’ll use these words to build sentences. This will ensure you understand what you read.
There are 30 lessons focused on particular letters or sounds and presenting words that use them. Each of these lessons contains 11 games to help you apply what you’re learning. The games come in two difficulty levels.
The app also uses phonics to help you get that perfect pronunciation.
The basic app is free to download with additional content requiring in-app purchases.
For more advanced Spanish students who are looking to improve their reading skills, BBC Mundo (BBC World) is an excellent choice.
This Spanish-language app from the BBC provides up-to-date news stories perfect for intermediate to advanced Spanish students. Headlines offer quick, easy reading practice. Plus, if you don’t understand a word, you can refer to the associated image for helpful context clues.
Along with the reading practice, you’ll also be getting exposure to the issues that are relevant to the Spanish-speaking world.
The BBC Mundo app is free to download.
Try these “text-cellent” apps to upgrade your Spanish reading skills with the tap of a button!
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Spanish with real-world videos.