Listening to podcasts is a great way to supplement Spanish classes. The best part is that it’s portable, you can do it on the toilet, the treadmill, while you jog or before you go to bed. Finding the perfect podcast though can be difficult especially if you don’t know what you’re looking for. I like to use iVoox.com that has its own web platform and mobile app for Android, Windows phones, and iPhone (so no excuses!). It deals in exclusively Spanish content, so its the perfect place to look for podcasts related to personal interests for more advanced students. Here are five of my favourite podcasts to assign as homework and use as study aids from most advanced to best for beginners.
Radio Ambulante is a radio show that covers stories from Spanish-speaking countries (which the radio says includes the US). The podcasts I’ve listened to have a narrative style, introducing interesting stories that have literally brought me to tears. They’re about half an hour long and are meant to be captivating stories. Radio Ambulante is a great way to get accustomed to listening to spoken Spanish, increasing vocabulary and learning a little bit about the different places where Spanish is spoken in Latin America. This episode is about a natural hair activist from the Dominican Republic, Carolina Contreras, doing big things for the natural hair movement.
NEWS IN SLOW SPANISH
News in Slow Spanish comes in a Latin American version and Spain version, most episodes are less than eight minutes and discusses weekly news stories slowly. The podcast is meant to be used in conjunction with materials at the News in Slow Spanish website where you can read transcripts of the different episodes. This podcast is definitely meant for intermediate students as each episode can use a wide variety of tenses and verb forms. This episode touches on the forced repatriation of Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent in the Dominican Republic.
CUENTOS PARA IRSE A DORMIR
Cuentos para irse a dormir are bedtime stories told in Spain Spanish by a father and his daughter. Each episode is less than ten minutes long and goes over various favourites as well as some new ones. The Spanish is fairly upper beginner/intermediate and faster paced but is a good practice for past tense forms. Since the stories are familiar enough, it helps with comprehension!
NOTES IN INSPIRED BEGINNERS
Notes in Inspired Beginners is a great way to put grammar points into practice. These Spanish-language conversations structured around certain vocabulary, themes, or grammar are spoken slowly and are meant to give students real-world context for their subjects of study. Although the episodes can sometimes feel very contrived, they’re incredibly useful. Episodes help students, for example, practice numbers by listening to the speakers discuss how many students they have in their classes. The episodes are entirely in Spanish though, so some of them may not be perfect for a beginner just starting out.
NORTON’S SPANISH BASICS
Norton’s Spanish Basics are short lessons by Spanish teacher Señor Norton. Episodes are in English and vary from just over a minute to over sixteen. Though there are only eleven episodes, the podcasts covers a solid foundation for the average beginner student. Señor Norton has also recorded podcasts where he teaches his daughter some elementary Spanish in a podcast called Myra Learns Spanish which go over some basic introductory vocabulary.
Personally, I love supplementing my students’ classes with podcasts, whether for self-study or as conversation prompts. Though these podcasts are not meant to replace a good teacher, they add a lot of value to your current plan of study and can help get you familiarized with different accents and subject matters.
Got a favourite Podcast I didn’t mention? Let me know in the comments below! Don’t forget to check out more of the free resources I share like this one on different study tools to use on your journey towards Spanish language mastery!
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