The 9 Best Books to Learn Spanish Quickly

Kelsey Wetherbee Published on November 21, 2022
Best books to learn Spanish

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Spanish is one of the most popular languages to learn, and there are so many resources available to help you out. But how do you know which one is best? You can spend hours searching for the perfect one. This article is a guide to some of the best Spanish books available. Whether you are a beginner or an advanced learner, there’s something on this list that can help you on your Spanish learning journey.

Best Books to Learn Spanish

Spanish is one of the most spoken languages in the world. It’s the official language of 20 different countries and over 548 million people speak it. Learning Spanish will let you talk to people in almost all of South and Central America, as well as some countries in Europe and Africa. In the United States, Spanish is the second-most commonly used language (after English). So even if you don’t have plans to travel through Argentina or Colombia, learning Spanish can give you a huge advantage in finding a job in your home country.

How Long Will It Take You To Learn Spanish?​

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How We Picked the Best Books to Learn Spanish

For any language learning products we’ve tested or researched, we follow a strict testing methodology to make sure our experts make the same considerations. Here are the factors we looked at when testing Spanish textbooks specifically:

  • Structure and Topics: We looked for textbooks that were easy to navigate and had content organized in a logical way. In addition, we also looked for useful extra features like glossaries, answer keys, English-Spanish translations, phonetic pronunciations, and more.
  • Quality of Content: To pick the best high-quality options, we checked each book to make sure its content was fit for all levels of Spanish learners and that they fulfilled their goal effectively. Clear explanations and cultural notes were also taken into consideration.
  • Features Available: For a more comprehensive study experience, we looked for books with additional materials, like audio tracks, mobile apps, flashcards, and other helpful tools.
  • Value for Money: We took the three previous factors and compared them to the price of each book to determine if they are valuable and convenient resources for Italian language students.

Our Top Picks for Best Spanish Books

Below is a table with the best books to learn the Spanish language. Scroll down to learn more about each one.

Best Overall Spanish BookMadrigal's Magic Key to Spanish
Best for BeginnersSpanish for Dummies
Best for Self-StudyPractice Makes Perfect: Complete Spanish All-in-One
Best Spanish WorkbookEasy Spanish Step-by-Step
Most Comprehensive BookComplete Spanish Step-by-Step
Best for Spanish GrammarSpanish Verb Tenses
Best for Reading PracticeSpanish Short Stories for Beginners
Best for Spanish VocabularyComplete Spanish Workbook for Beginners
Best for Advanced Spanish LearnersLearn Spanish: 6 Books in One

Madrigal’s Magic Key to Spanish

Best Overall Spanish Book

Madrigal’s Magic Key to Spanish is the best overall book to learn the language because it explains difficult language topics in a concise manner, and shares tips and tricks to help you master Spanish faster. The book starts by teaching you the aspects of Spanish you already know, like English words borrowed from Spanish or similar vocabulary (like importante, restaurante, and presidente). Then, it introduces you to verb conjugation through English, which can make this topic a lot less overwhelming. Each lesson places words into different categories according to their endings and concisely explains how English words can be translated into Spanish.

Margarita Madrigal is a prominent Spanish teacher and has created a unique way to learn the language, which she shares in this book. In my opinion, her approach is a fresh take that can make learning Spanish much simpler for native English speakers. The lessons follow a logical order and start with the content you’re most likely to know and understand (borrowed words) and move towards Spanish verb conjugation and more complicated topics. There are also tests you can use to measure your progress and original illustrations by Andy Warhol. Although it was originally published several decades ago, it continues to be a favorite amongst Spanish learners of all levels. Check out the book for yourself here.

Key Benefits

  • Start learning Spanish using the knowledge you already have from the language and avoid feeling overwhelmed
  • The book uses a fresh and unique approach that teaches you how to form Spanish words from English words in an effective way
  • Includes tests to help you measure your progress and check on your understanding

Spanish All-in-One for Dummies

Best for Beginners

Spanish All-in-One for Dummies is the best book for beginner Spanish learners due to its progressive structure and concise explanations. The book starts by teaching you the basic aspects of the language like common similarities with English, the sound of the Spanish letters, and the numbers, before moving on to essential phrases and grammar. This book combines four books of the Spanish Dummies series, and it’s a comprehensive resource that can help you address any doubt you have about the language. It comes with a CD with audio tracks voiced by native speakers, so you can listen to the correct pronunciation for each word and phrase.

Even if you don’t have any experience with Spanish, I think Spanish for Dummies can be a good compliment to your study routine. It can be hard to find a resource that provides an explanation for all the nuances and exceptions you can run into when learning Spanish, but this is an option that compiles everything you need to start from the basics. The examples are clear and the explanations make understanding topics like verb conjugation, expressing gender with definite articles, and learning the Spanish prepositions a painless experience.

I recommend this book to learners from the complete beginner to intermediate level who want to build a solid foundation in Spanish. Note that the book doesn’t provide exercises so you’ll still need to use other resources to practice applying your knowledge. You can learn more about the book here.

Key Benefits

  • Compiles 4 books into 1 so it’s a comprehensive resource that can teach you all you need to know to apply Spanish vocabulary and grammar in real life
  • Its explanations are concise and clear, and the examples help you understand complicated grammatical topics without struggling
  • Includes an additional audio CD to allow you to listen to the pronunciation of different words, sentences, and dialogues to develop your listening comprehension skills

Practice Makes Perfect: Complete Spanish All-in-One is the best book for self-study because it covers all aspects of the language, including vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, listening, and speaking. This book combines 5 different workbooks from the Practice Makes Perfect series into one comprehensive book filled with 26 lessons and multiple exercises to help you master grammar topics from the beginner to intermediate level. For example, you study spelling, pronunciation, and punctuation and continue with nouns, articles, the different tenses and verbs, and prepositions and conjunctions. It also comes with a bonus app that has flashcards and audio for additional practice, and an answer key so you can check on your progress.

If you only want to add one book to your study routine, I think this is a complete option that has everything you need to build a basic understanding of the language. The explanations are written in a way that makes studying Spanish engaging and simple, and the lessons follow a logical structure that progressively builds upon what you previously learned. You start by learning the vocabulary and aspects you’re most likely to apply as a complete beginner, which ensures you understand and allows you to start speaking in Spanish from day 1. The additional material also provides a great alternative to practicing speaking and listening on your own, so I think the price of this book is completely justified. You can read more about it here.

Key Benefits

  • Combines 5 books into 1 to teach you the essentials of the Spanish language including vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, listening, and speaking
  • Includes +500 exercises and an answer key to help you practice and check on your progress on your own
  • It gives you access to an app with audio tracks voiced by native speakers and a record-and-play feature so you can develop your conversational skills while you use the book

Easy Spanish Step-by-Step

Best Spanish Workbook

Easy Spanish Step-by-Step is the best Spanish workbook because it uses a building-block approach to teach you grammar and introduce you to useful Spanish vocabulary step-by-step. With this book, you can learn the 300 most common Spanish verbs in order of frequency along with other grammatical elements like indirect and direct objects, the Spanish tenses, double object pronouns, and more. The lessons are well organized, and break Spanish grammar into logical chunks so you can start applying the language as soon as you start your studies. Each lesson comes with a reading comprehension practice, and you can use the answer key to measure your progress.

Unlike other books, Easy Spanish Step-by-Step teaches you the knowledge you need first instead of going by topics. Its lessons follow a logical order that starts with nouns, adjectives, articles, and other basics of Spanish sentence structure so you don’t have to guess or look for other resources to fill in the blanks. I find that this approach is more useful than when books start by introducing random phrases because it teaches you how to actually build sentences. All the vocabulary words presented in each lesson are chosen so you can use them together in the exercises and see how they work together. Find out more about the book here.

Key Benefits

  • Learn the most frequently used Spanish verbs and vocabulary and use them together in practice exercises
  • Gives you clear explanations for grammar topics and constantly builds upon what you previously learned to develop your skills
  • It teaches you how to apply the language, so you don’t have to rely on memorization and can start using your Spanish conversational skills quickly

Complete Spanish Step-by-Step

Most Comprehensive Book

Complete Spanish Step-by-Step is the most comprehensive book to start learning Spanish because it has 600 pages that teach you how to handle vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation issues you might encounter while you study the language. Note that, unlike Easy Spanish Step-by-Step, this book goes beyond the basics of Spanish and into the territory of advanced language topics like the formal and informal use of different vocabulary words and verbs, colloquial sentence structure, and the different meanings a Spanish word can acquire depending on context. This book is part of the Step-by-Step series by McGraw Hill, so you know all the content is high-quality and accurate. There’s also a mobile app included that lets you practice listening, and reading comprehension practices at the end of each lesson.

It’s clear that this book has covered all the skills and language aspects you need to become conversational in Spanish in an effective way. With this book, you can start with the basics and study the most useful elements to build a solid foundation. Then, you can follow the lessons in order to expand your knowledge or directly address any doubts you might have. The book is designed to take you on your Spanish journey from beginning to end, and its exercises allow you to practice using the language elements you study together instead of centering on one at a time. For all that it offers, I’d recommend it to any serious Spanish learner. See if Complete Spanish Step-by-Step is right for you.

Key Benefits

  • Its lessons follow a logical structure that covers topics for beginner to advanced Spanish grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, and sentence structure
  • The lessons continuously expand on what was previously taught, including idioms, alternative uses, colloquial language, and much more, so you truly learn how to apply the language in real life
  • The book has an app to help you develop your speaking, listening, and pronunciation skills to ensure you truly can communicate in Spanish

Spanish Verb Tenses

Best for Spanish Grammar

Spanish Verb Tenses is the best Spanish grammar book to master one of the most complex parts of the language: verb conjugations. In this book, you can find lessons that explain how to conjugate the most basic verbs in Spanish, like haber, ser, and estar, and progressively move to less frequent ones. You start with regular verbs and, once you’re familiar with their patterns, you continue with irregular verbs and the different Spanish tenses. This book has extensive explanations, practice exercises, and conjugation tables to help you understand and learn to apply Spanish verbs with ease and confidence. It also comes with an app that has flashcards, audio tracks, and a record-and-play feature to help you review what you learned and practice speaking and listening to Spanish.

This book does a great job of teaching Spanish verb use and conjugation in a logical manner. In order to understand this complicated topic, you need to be familiar with the types of verbs (regular or irregular), their stems (hab-, est-, sab-), and endings (-er, -ar, -ir). The book introduces these topics in a thorough way, so when you get to the tenses you can easily understand how they work and conjugate them without constantly relying on the conjugation tables. I think this is the best way to study the Spanish verbs to start using them in your daily Spanish conversations. You can read more about it here.

Key Benefits

  • Focus on studying all the aspects of verb conjugation including the types, stems, endings, and forms to be able to conjugate them in every tense without struggle
  • Includes conjugation tables and practice exercises to help you review what you learn and develop a natural understanding of how Spanish verbs work
  • The bonus app includes additional materials that allow you to practice speaking and listening, so you can use the vocabulary you acquire in your daily Spanish conversations

Spanish Short Stories for Beginners

Best for Reading Practice

Spanish Short Stories for Beginners is the best book to practice reading in Spanish because it has 25 engaging tales to increase your vocabulary and test your knowledge of the language. Each story includes a set of useful vocabulary words that are highlighted throughout the text, as well as English translations and summaries both in English and Spanish to make sure you understand the plot. You can find reading comprehension questions at the end of each chapter to test your skills, and you can check your answers with the answer key on the last pages of the book.

The goal of this book is to help A1 Spanish learners become accustomed to reading Spanish texts while keeping them engaged in the learning process. The stories talk about real-world scenarios and use simplified language to allow you to understand the texts and keep you motivated. This way, you can continue practicing and immersing in the language to reinforce your vocabulary and conversational skills. All the language used in the stories is natural-sounding, so this is a good chance to learn how native speakers use the language. Find out if you like the book here.

Key Benefits

  • The book has 25 engaging stories that use simplified language to help you practice reading Spanish with ease
  • There are vocabulary lists with English translations, and Spanish and English summaries you can read to make sure you understand all the content in each chapter
  • It includes comprehension questions and an answer key, which allows you to check on your progress and understanding

Complete Spanish Workbook for Beginners

Best for Spanish Vocabulary

Complete Spanish Workbook for Beginners is the best book to learn Spanish vocabulary because it teaches you useful words for all kinds of situations in frequency order. The book is designed to introduce you to the vocabulary you need to communicate with Spanish native speakers in an effective way, including nouns, diacritical marks, and other important aspects that can change the meaning of your phrases. It follows a structured lesson plan, so you can start with the basics before diving into verb conjugation and structuring phrases for small talk. There are also practice exercises and quizzes that help you retain what you learned.

I think this book successfully fulfills its goal of increasing your vocabulary in an easy way. Even though it was designed for beginners, you can use it to improve your conversational skills at any level of your Spanish studies. There are reading and fill-in-the-blank exercises that help you start applying the language, so this isn’t only about memorizing a bunch of new words. With the Complete Spanish Workbook for Beginners, you can practice using Spanish vocabulary and grammar, and learn common phrases you might hear in different Spanish-speaking countries. The book also includes a pronunciation guide and audio tracks, which makes it a complete resource for beginner learners to start having conversations in Spanish. You can read more about the book here.

Key Benefits

  • Learn common vocabulary in frequency order for all kinds of scenarios so you can navigate daily life in Spanish-speaking contexts
  • Introduces you to essential language aspects that can change the meaning of your words and sentences, which ensures you apply the language in the way you truly intend
  • Teaches you common phrases and expressions you can use to communicate with native Spanish speakers in different countries around the world so you can develop a global understanding of the language

Learn Spanish: 6 Books in 1

Best for Advanced Spanish Learners

Learn Spanish: 6 Books in 1 is the best book for advanced Spanish learners who want to perfect their skills. This book compiles 6 tomes into 1, so there’s a lot of useful information about vocabulary, grammar, sentence structure, and study tips to help you overcome all kinds of obstacles. The book goes over content for beginner to advanced-level students and includes stories for every level to accompany your study and allow you to test your skills. This book has a large focus on grammar and teaches you the words and phrases necessary to navigate common situations like forming questions, handling day-to-day conversations, complaining, and understanding Spanish songs.

Because the beginner section in the book is much smaller than the intermediate and advanced ones, this book is better for advanced beginners who already have a deep understanding of the language. It can serve as a reference guide, or you can use it to fill in knowledge gaps and address any weaknesses in your Spanish studies. It’s very complete, but its explanations might be too in-depth and its exercises too complicated for less experienced Spanish learners trying to understand the basics of the language. Instead, I think it works better for advanced learners looking to polish their skills. You can read more about this book here.

Key Benefits

  • A comprehensive book that tackles all language nuances to polish your skills and help you become fluent in Spanish
  • Includes reading practices and exercises for beginner, intermediate, and advanced learners to put their skills to the test and check on their progress
  • The content gets progressively harder and the exercises get more complicated so it works best for advanced Spanish learners who already dominate the basics to fill in any gaps in their studies

Other Spanish Books We Researched

To choose the best books to learn Spanish, we reviewed many books. Here are a couple of books that weren’t included in the list:

  • Easy Spanish Phrase Book: This book has 700 common Spanish phrases with formal and colloquial variations as well as phonetic translations. It can be a helpful resource if you’re looking to learn many common-day phrases to communicate on your next trip to a Spanish-speaking country, but it won’t teach you how to structure phrases or apply Spanish grammar on a deep level.
  • No Nonsense Spanish Workbook: This book was designed for self-study Spanish learners of all levels and ages. It includes all the beginner knowledge you need to navigate the Spanish-speaking world, like vocabulary variations, common phrases, grammatical exceptions, and more, but it might require additional resources for it to make sense.
  • Practice Makes Perfect: Complete Spanish Grammar: With this book, you can complete 25 lessons that go over the basics of Spanish grammar you need to apply the language with ease and confidence. While many people like the Practice Makes Perfect series, I thought that this book required a good foundation in the Spanish language before using it because the explanations were too generic for beginners to benefit from them.

Why You Should Use Books To Learn Spanish

Books can be incredibly beneficial to your Spanish study routine. For beginners, there are books that start from zero and offer an all-around approach to learning. If you are more advanced, some books have very detailed explanations of important grammar topics and can help you reach an even higher level of understanding and fluency.

Books are portable and easy to carry. They make learning convenient because you can take them anywhere. They also offer flexibility as you can flip to whatever section you like and study what interests you.

How To Use Books To Learn Spanish

Once you’ve selected a book to help you learn Spanish, it’s time to create a study routine. It’s recommended to have a consistent routine and dedicate time every day or a few times a week to studying Spanish. When learning a language, frequent study is the only way to see continuous improvement.

Books are one of the best ways to learn Spanish, and are best used alongside other language resources. For example, a book can give you detailed grammar explanations, but a Spanish language app might be a more effective and entertaining way to learn vocabulary. Or taking an online Spanish course is good if you want to be walked through the language step by step.

Best Books To Learn Spanish: Final Thoughts

Hopefully this list has given you a few good options of books you might enjoy learning with. Finding the right one for you will make it easier to stick with studying. Read what other reviewers say about the book and check if the book comes with additional resources, such as a CD, online audio, or app so you can take full advantage of all the tools you’re given. With consistent study, you’ll be speaking Spanish in no time! ¡Buena suerte!

Best Books To Learn Spanish: FAQ

What is the best book to learn Spanish?

Madrigal’s Magic Key to Spanish is the best book to learn Spanish because it gives an interesting all-around approach to teaching the language. Each lesson concisely explains difficult topics and gives useful tips and tricks for learning Spanish even faster. This book has been around for decades, but it’s still a favorite amongst Spanish learners.

Are books a good way to learn Spanish?

Books are an excellent way to learn Spanish. They offer in-depth explanations about important grammar, conversation, and vocabulary topics. Many books also include practice exercises so you can practice what you learn. Some books focus on specific subjects, such as verb conjugations or commonly-used phrases, which will give you an in-depth look at that one particular topic.

What is the best Spanish textbook for beginners?

Spanish All-in-One for Dummies is the best Spanish textbook for beginners because it starts from the basics and has clear and thorough explanations. It’s a comprehensive guide that combines four books of the Spanish for Dummies series. It comes with an audio CD and practice exercises throughout the book.

Can I learn Spanish in 3 months?

Realistically, you probably won’t reach a proficient level of Spanish in 3 months. According to the US Department of State, it takes 600 class hours (or 24 weeks) to reach proficiency in Spanish. But if you dedicate the time, in 3 months you can learn enough Spanish to comfortably have basic conversations and get around in a Spanish-speaking country.

To see how long it will take you to learn Spanish, check out this fluency calculator.

Kelsey Wetherbee

Kelsey is the Content Manager and Editor of Langoly. She is a TEFL-certified English teacher with more than eight years of classroom experience in three different countries. She’s an avid language learner with an advanced level of Spanish and is currently studying French. Whenever possible, she loves to travel and enjoys meeting people from all over the world. Connect with Kelsey on LinkedIn.

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1 Comment

  • This is a very helpful article. I intend to utilise the suggested books to learn this language. I hope that others would also benefit from this article.