We all loved having bedtime stories read to us as children.
Even as adults, who wouldn’t want to relax and enjoy incredible books from the comfort of their home, car or secret hideout?
No one, that’s who.
That’s why an audiobook is an amazing thing.
But what if you could get all the pleasure of listening to an audiobook with the additional bonus of practicing your Spanish? The good news is that you totally can.
Obviously, audiobook courses are excellent choices for studying Spanish. But casually listening to audiobooks that aren’t designed to help you learn the Spanish language—you know, audiobooks that were recorded for native Spanish speakers—is also a great way to practice your skills.
Why Listen to Spanish Audiobooks?
Listening to Spanish audiobooks will improve your pronunciation. They’re great for listening activities because the audio is clearer than many other sources like TV, movies and music. Without background noise, you’ll hear a loud, clear voice perfectly enunciating every word. This is helpful because muffled audio, music and background sounds can make it harder for Spanish students to understand the exact pronunciation.
Additionally, audiobooks will help you improve your listening comprehension. Practicing listening often and with a wide variety of resources will improve your listening skills overall. Since the speech in audiobooks is often slower than a conversational pace, listening to audiobooks is a good way to segue into being able to understand rapid-paced conversations between native speakers.
But audiobooks have more to offer than just that. They’re also convenient. Much like an e-book, audiobooks are easy to download and take with you wherever you go. With audiobooks, you can even learn Spanish in your car. Plus, unlike podcasts, the length is much more flexible. If you have a little time, you can easily listen to a chapter, a poem or a short story, but if you want to spend a few hours practicing, you can listen to a whole book.
What’s more, audiobooks are very enjoyable. You can listen to novels, poems, self-help books or virtually any other type of book you can think of, so you can easily find something you’ll enjoy. Many classic Spanish books are even available in audio format. They’re classics for a reason—in the simplest terms, it’s because they’re awesome.
Visual Learners: Supplement Your Audiobooks with Videos
If you try an audiobook and find that it’s too difficult for you to understand, don’t worry: You can start with something more structured and work your way up to your favorite Spanish book-on-tape.
It might help to see accompanying visuals while you’re listening to Spanish, so a program like FluentU is a great place to start your learning.
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.
You can decide how much structure you need: Just Spanish subtitles or Spanish subtitles with the translated English beneath them. Use this feature to wean yourself off the English translations, and to prepare yourself for the awesome audiobooks we have below!
FluentU has a wide variety of videos on 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. 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 App store or Google Play store and enjoy FluentU’s innovative features on any of your Android or iOS devices.
Once you’ve ramped up your Spanish skills with FluentU, you’ll be ready to tackle these audiobooks—and any other Spanish content you want!
13 Entertaining Spanish Audiobooks to Tune Up Your Learning
English Title: “Simply Darío”
Available for free via LibriVox, this work is composed of five brief poems by Rubén Darío, a popular Nicaraguan poet who wrote in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
Beginning students will benefit from listening to these poems. They’re brief, so you won’t get overwhelmed. Plus, their cadence makes them easy to listen to and even memorize. Additionally, they use predominantly common vocabulary (with a few more advanced words thrown in for good measure).
English Title: “The Golden Age”
“La edad de oro,” also available for free via LibriVox, is a collection of short children’s stories by José Martí, a Cuban national hero.
Since these stories are written for children, the vocabulary isn’t too advanced. Plus, the lengths vary from one minute to just over an hour, so there’s a story to fit into any schedule.
English Title: “The Three Little Pigs, Little Red Riding Hood, Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp and Many More Stories”
This collection of well-known children’s stories can be bought on Amazon on CD.
These stories are a great way for beginning students to start practicing their listening skills. Since the stories are for children, the vocabulary isn’t too advanced. Plus, since these stories are well known, beginning students will be able to follow the stories and deduce the meanings of unfamiliar words via context clues.
English Title: “The Raven”
“El cuervo,” the Spanish version of Edgar Allen Poe’s famous poem, is available for free on LibriVox.
While the vocabulary is more advanced, intermediate students will be able to follow it since the original English-language poem is so well known. Additionally, the rhythm makes this poem easy and enjoyable to listen to.
English Title: “The Little Prince”
“El principito,” available for purchase via Audible, is the Spanish version of the Antoine de Saint-Exupéry classic about a young boy who has fallen to Earth from an asteroid. While it’s sometimes classified as a children’s book, its depth makes it more appropriate for adults.
“El principito” is a good option for intermediate Spanish students because it’s novella length—not as long as a full novel, but longer than most children’s stories. Additionally, it uses fairly common words.
English Title: “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”
“El maravilloso mago de Oz,” the Spanish version of the L. Frank Baum classic, is available for purchase via Audible. If you aren’t familiar with the tale, we’re concerned for your childhood, but to catch you up, it’s about a girl who travels via tornado (a popular form of transit in the Midwest) to a magical land.
This is a good choice for intermediate Spanish learners because it’s a full novel with some less common vocabulary, but the familiarity of the tale will make it easy to follow. You’ll also get a ready supply of some fairly magical words, which everyone needs.
English Title: “Sherlock Holmes: A Scandal in Bohemia”
This Spanish version of an Arthur Conan Doyle classic is available for purchase via Audible. It follows Sherlock Holmes as he investigates a blackmail case.
This Sherlock Holmes tale is good for intermediate learners. It’s a short story, so it isn’t too intimidating. Additionally, while the story traditionally has some old-timey words, this version is adapted for children, so it won’t be too challenging for intermediate Spanish students.
English Title: “August’s Lesson: Wonder”
“La lección de August: Wonder” (known by its English title, “Wonder”) is a popular 2012 children’s book by R. J. Palacio. It follows a boy with a facial deformity who had previously been home-schooled as he enters a mainstream school.
Since it’s written for children, it won’t be too difficult for intermediate Spanish students. Plus, it uses standard vocabulary, which will help reinforce words that you’ll hear often.
This classic novel by Miguel de Cervantes is available for free via LibriVox. It follows an often bumbling knight as he strives to be a hero.
“Don Quijote” is an ideal choice for advanced Spanish students. It’s a true classic, so familiarizing yourself with it is important for your cultural education. Since it’s from the 1600s, some of the terminology isn’t particularly common anymore, so you’ll need context clues (or a dictionary) to figure out what they mean.
“Lazarillo de Tormes” is available for free from LibriVox. Due to some religious content and the dynamics of the era (the 1500s), the story was written anonymously. It tells the life story of the title character as he interacts with members of various groups in society.
This classic is appropriate for advanced students. It’s a notable work because it’s thought to have introduced the picaresque novel, which is a sort of episodic novel that follows a roguish hero. It’s also notable for its portrayal of 1500s society—it was banned during the Spanish Inquisition, so you know it’s good. However, due to its historical nature, much of the vocabulary is more challenging than other books.
You’re probably familiar with the Herman Melville classic about a sailor’s obsession with revenge against a whale. But now, you can purchase audio CDs to listen to it in Spanish!
Due to its relatively complex sentence structures, the work is certainly advanced. However, advanced Spanish students will be able to handle it, particularly if they’re already somewhat familiar with the work. This is a good way for Spanish students to test their skills to see if they hold up to a more challenging work.
Plus, what better way is there to learn seafaring terms?
English Title: “Like Water for Chocolate”
Laura Esquivel’s “Como agua para chocolate” is available for purchase via Audible. The story follows a girl who wishes to marry but instead must care for her mother. It also weaves in magical elements and recipes.
While “Como agua para chocolate” uses relatively general, common words, it contains complex sentences, so it’s a great way for advanced students to perfect their skills.
English Title: “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”
“Los siete hábitos de las personas altamente eficaces” by Stephen R. Covey is available for purchase through Audible.
If you’re on a huge self-improvement kick, why not multitask by perfecting your Spanish while listening to this classic self-help book that aims to help you achieve your goals? The language isn’t too advanced, but the concepts require some thinking, so this is a good option to improve your ability to listen and think in Spanish.
With so many great options, enjoy an audiobook today—your Spanish skills will thank you for it.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Spanish with real-world videos.