We all have a super soft spot for the stories we learned as children.
They’re engaging, enchanting and full of excitement.
If something is fun, we naturally feel extra enthusiasm for it, which encourages regular usage.
Bringing Spanish fairy tales into your language learning program is a win-win—not to mention a wonderfully entertaining way to boost your Spanish skills.
Let’s check some out!
- How Spanish Fairy Tales Help Language Learners
- 6 Enchanting Spanish Fairy Tales to Read and Watch Online
- 3 Tips for Learning with Spanish Fairy Tales
How Spanish Fairy Tales Help Language Learners
Fairy tales are geared toward children, utilizing pretty basic vocabulary and sentence structure. For Spanish learners, that’s a plus because simple words and phrases build a solid foundational vocabulary.
The stories are short, so they require only a minimal time investment to read. They’re perfect for grabbing a small slice of Spanish learning when you’re on a tight schedule.
Since fairy tales originate from across the globe, they’re often glimpses into different cultures. The cultural information encourages children to be aware of other global experiences—and it’s a great reminder of that fact for adults, too. Extra bonus? Fairy tales end with a happily-ever-after so they’re uplifting!
6 Enchanting Spanish Fairy Tales to Read and Watch Online
Había una vez una chica llamada Rapunzel. Vivía en una alta torre en el bosque.
(There was once a girl named Rapunzel. She lived in a tall tower in the forest.)
The captive Rapunzel with her long braided hair is a fantastic story for Spanish learners to pull into their language programs. It has everything fairy tale lovers look for: authentic characters, an interesting premise and even a witch!
This version offers both Spanish and English translations which are set up for optimal learning. The Spanish is presented in tidy, manageable blocks. It’s beneficial to attempt to read these without clicking the link to bring up the English translation. Often, we know more than we think we do, so give it a go reading in Spanish!
Audio and video versions are also available. Accessing those options requires purchasing a subscription to the service. Or, you can watch this free Spanish version on YouTube. Watch and see if you can note any differences between the two versions.
Whether you read or listen, “Rapunzel” is great for learning the construction and usage of Spanish commands. That’s excellent information to learn—even if you’re not planning on telling someone to toss down their braid for climbing purposes!
“Cenicienta” (Cinderella) is a sweet tale that’ll make any Spanish language learner smile. It’s the story most of us heard as children, but this version features lovable animated characters. Here, even the mean stepsisters are almost likable!
This particular fairy tale is a solid resource for core vocabulary. From a life of drudgery to dancing in a castle, the characters use so many useful words and phrases that are worth noting!
“Los tres chivitos traviesos” (The Three Billy Goats Gruff)
This classic tale about three billy goats and an especially gruff troll is a fun read in any language. But honestly, it seems to come alive in Spanish! I heard this story in Spanish before English, and I’ve always preferred the Spanish version.
The version linked to above offers two translations, when relevant. It includes the literal translation as well as a more contextual translation, which is a neat way to see how languages differ.
A prime example of the usefulness of a literal translation is seen every time the grouchy troll yells from beneath the bridge:
“¿Quién está ahí arriba? ¿Quién está haciendo taca-taca sobre mi puente?”
(Who’s up there? Who’s clip-clopping over my bridge?)
This translation sounds more natural in English, but it’s not literally what the troll says:
“¿Quién está ahí arriba? ¿Quién está haciendo taca-taca sobre mi puente?”
(Who’s up there? Who’s making clip-clop over my bridge?)
Here learners see how the Spanish language works with regard to vocabulary usage.
The audio version of this fairy tale is also available on the site.
“Los zapatos rojos” (The Red Shoes)
This charming video presents a well-known fairy tale in Spanish with English subtitles. The sentences are short which makes this an excellent choice for a beginning learner program.
The vocabulary used in this tale is very basic so this is a solid resource for learning a core vocabulary. Additionally, the vocabulary covers colors so watching this fairy tale is an easy method for learning those crucial words!
“Los tres cerditos” (The Three Little Pigs)
“Érase una vez que había una mamá cerda que tenía tres cerditos…”
(Once upon a time there was a mama pig who had three little pigs…)
Any story that begins with “once upon a time” just makes most of us smile, regardless of the language that it’s being told in. But this version of the popular fairy tale is especially endearing.
The story is told in Spanish with an English translation. The illustrations are colorful and vividly bring this tale to life.
There’s an audio version that’s available, so after you read the story, feel free to listen to it—or vice versa. I read and listened, and enjoyed both options.
One of the biggest values of this particular tale is that this version has a twist at the end. If you think you know how the fairy tale ends you might be surprised. This twist gives learners the opportunity to read for comprehension and perhaps be challenged to discern what exactly happens to the wolf in this story!
“Hansel y Gretel” (Hansel and Gretel)
This presentation of “Hansel and Gretel” is geared toward more advanced learners. The language is a bit more complex than some of the others mentioned here. Additionally, the sentence structure isn’t short and simple throughout the tale.
Another point that makes this a bit more challenging for learners is that the English translation isn’t on the same page as the Spanish fairy tale. This encourages learners to stretch a bit, and perhaps spend some time translating passages on their own without relying on the English translation.
Both the full English translation and the Spanish version are sure to please Spanish language learners—and remind them that sometimes those we meet in a dark, shadowy forest aren’t who they pretend to be!
3 Tips for Learning with Spanish Fairy Tales
On a basic level, fairy tales are great for working on your Spanish reading comprehension skills. But that’s not all!
To make the most out of these stories in your, start off with one or two that appeal to you the most.
With each story, make sure you do the following:
1. Take Notes on New Vocabulary
While reading, compile vocabulary lists, create a customized flashcard set or jot down interesting or peculiar expressions. Remember, fairy tale lingo often includes dragons, rescues and other fabulous topics!
2. Listen to the Audio Version of the Story
Why only practice your reading skills when you can also practice listening? Again, it’s a great idea to note interesting words and phrases.
If you can’t access the audio versions above, you can see what fairy tales are available on FluentU.
As a language learning app, FluentU offers a diverse collection of authentic Spanish videos, including children’s stories. While watching the videos, you can hover over the interactive subtitles to see in-context definitions. Click on a word to see example sentences, images and related clips, as well as add them to a custom flashcard deck or vocab list.
You can also review what you’ve learned with a personalized quiz at the end of each video.
3. Use the Fairy Tales for Speaking Practice
Spanish fairy tales can also be used to power up speaking skills. Use audio or video to model pronunciation—and remember, it’s beneficial to hit pause and replay a passage if you need to hear it again.
Adding fairy tales in Spanish to any Spanish language program instantly increases the fun factor of learning!
Diving into these beloved bits of popular literature increases reading skills. But it also gives learners the opportunity to grow their vocabulary, practice speaking by reading out loud and add fluency on every level.
Spanish fairy tales invite learners to curl up, relax, read or listen—and learn while having fun!