Innovative approach to learning Spanish
Spanish Uncovered is an effective way for beginners to start learning Spanish. The incorporation of stories throughout the course is unique and effective. The video lessons contain a lot of information, but some can be quite long and don’t actively involve the learner. However, the course is extremely useful if you have a lot of self-motivation and the approach will help you build a solid foundation in Spanish.
- Guided learning approach
- Detailed lessons with complete explanations
- Interactive features and printable worksheets
- Some lessons can be long and dense
- Limited speaking practice
Table of Contents
Spanish Uncovered Overview
Spanish Uncovered was developed by Olly Richards, a polyglot behind the popular I Will Teach You a Language blog. He developed the StoryLearning method and has several language courses available. As the name suggests, you learn a language by reading and listening to stories. The idea is that learning through stories is a more natural way to learn than doing grammar drills and memorizing flashcards. It tries to emulate the way that children learn a language by teaching language concepts in context, not through rules.
Here’s a video of Olly himself explaining how StoryLearning works:
Spanish Uncovered consists of 20 modules that follow the story of workmates who travel to Spain. Each module consists of a chapter of the story and lessons that break down the story to teach grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation. The last lesson of each module is a comprehension quiz to make sure you understood what you read. The Spanish Uncovered course only covers beginner Spanish. You need to buy the next level of the course or use another resource if you are an intermediate or advanced learner.
Spanish Uncovered costs $297.00. This is a one-time payment that gives you lifetime access to the course. Story Learning also promises a 365-day guarantee. If you aren’t happy with the course within the first year, you can receive a full refund AND they will pay for another Spanish course of your choosing.
The price gave me a bit of sticker shock, but it’s actually not too much more expensive than similar courses like Rocket Spanish and Pimsleur. Even less expensive options, such as Babbel and Rosetta Stone, come close to this price if you add live lessons to your subscription. If you prefer to pay monthly, apps like Mondly, MosaLingua, and Memrise offer inexpensive subscriptions.
Spanish Uncovered offers a 7-day free trial that gives you access to the entire course. If you cancel within 7 days, you don’t have to pay anything. On the 8th day, you will be charged for the full price of the course. You can cancel anytime during your trial by emailing the support team.
Once I signed up for the free trial, I received a one-time special offer of 50% off the next courses in the series: Conversations and Grammar Hero. This offer is only available when you first sign up and you won’t see it later. Make sure to take advantage of it if you like the course! Other than that, there are generally not many discounts available.
Creating my account for Spanish Uncovered was easy. Once you get to the dashboard, the user experience is excellent and the course follows a clear order. There are 20 modules, each with 7 or 8 lessons/activities to complete.
Each module begins with a chapter of the story. Next, they teach vocabulary and grammar in context of the story. There are also interactive practice activities and worksheets you can print.
Starting the lessons was easy, but that doesn’t mean becoming fluent in Spanish is easy. Let’s take a look at some common challenges that language learners face to see if Spanish Uncovered can help you overcome them.
Spanish Uncovered is a solid choice for beginners that have already had some exposure to Spanish. Since it’s such a popular language, a lot of people know at least a few Spanish words and phrases. It’s beneficial if you do because the course immediately immerses you in Spanish and moves at a fast pace. I would recommend taking personal notes during the videos or watching them a second time to really comprehend the material.
The first lesson is listening to the first chapter of the story, which is entirely in Spanish. They state many times that it’s ok if you don’t understand everything at first. It’s an immersive method of learning, which gives you a faster track to fluency. The immersion method is proven to be effective, and if you stick with the program, you’ll start understanding more and more of the stories.
Spanish Uncovered doesn’t focus on teaching an excessive amount of vocabulary, but you’ll definitely learn and remember useful lingo. The words and phrases are presented in the story at the start of the module. Then, there is a specific vocabulary lesson that teaches the words. Next, there are a series of interactive activities to practice what you learned. You match the words, spell them, and take a mini-test.
One of the best resources is the specific vocabulary and grammar worksheets associated with each chapter. You can find them at the bottom of the course modules. Each one is between 10-20 pages long. There are plenty of exercises to reinforce what you learned during the lesson. There’s also an answer key so you can check your answers.
Spanish Uncovered could improve a bit when it comes to speaking because there isn’t much opportunity to interact in authentic Spanish. The most Spanish you’ll hear is listening to the story during the first lesson of the modules.
I did like that I could choose Iberian Spanish or Latin American Spanish though. There is also a native speaker that teaches the pronunciation lessons, so you can practice imitating her pronunciation.
As with most online apps and courses, there is little speaking practice. Spanish Uncovered does offer speaking activities, but they aren’t very useful without a partner to speak with. If you want to become conversational, you’ll probably need a teacher. You can take classes online through a platform like italki, Preply, or Verbling.
Spanish Uncovered doesn’t use a lot of gamified aspects that other apps like Duolingo or Mondly use. For some, this entertainment helps build a routine. For others, gamified lessons are a complete waste of time. In the end, you are responsible for setting up a routine and sticking with it.
The Spanish Uncovered course has a clear structure, however, so it’s easy to see what to do next and keep going. If you truly want to learn the language, Spanish Uncovered offers a well-designed roadmap to get you there.
Overall, the Spanish Uncovered course was different than I expected – in a good way! When I heard the name StoryLearning, I thought that every lesson would involve reading or listening to a different story. Instead, Spanish Uncovered guides you through one complete story.
The story ties the course together, but reading it isn’t actually the primary focus. In each module, you listen to one chapter of the story. Then there are lessons that use the story to teach important vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation topics in context. This is an amazing way to guide yourself through the language learning process.
Another aspect I liked was that I could choose Iberian or Latin American Spanish. You can choose the one that fits best with your learning goals, or listen to both! The course tends to favor Iberian Spanish though. A teacher from Spain guides the pronunciation lessons, the vocabulary uses Iberian Spanish words, and they teach the vosotros verb conjugation, which is generally only used in Spain.
It took me a while to warm up to this course, but after I started working through the lessons and modules, I began to enjoy and appreciate it more and more. Because there are audio tracks, videos, and written worksheets, this course can work for many different learning styles.
What sold me on the course was the extensive vocabulary and grammar worksheets available. After listening to the story and watching the videos, I felt like I understood, but was a little unsure. Completing the written exercises by myself and checking the answers helped me remember what I learned during the lessons. I also liked the interactive vocabulary games that are available with each module.
As with any language course, there is some room for improvement. My personal opinion is that this isn’t a course for true beginners. I think that if I had no prior Spanish experience, I would feel a little lost or overwhelmed by diving into a story that’s entirely in Spanish. If you’re braver than I am, however, it’s definitely worth a shot. I think it’s necessary to take the course slowly and repeat the lessons more than once.
The instructional videos can also get a little long. Some of the vocabulary and grammar lessons are over 30 minutes. For me, it’s difficult to focus for that long, especially if it’s a complicated topic. It would be better to break up the lessons into smaller chunks and include more practice activities to really understand the topic.
The last area of improvement I noticed is that there is only a little listening practice and essentially no speaking practice. This is a common problem that most online language courses face since you are using a computer/smartphone and not talking with a real person. But taking classes with a teacher can be expensive since you are paying for their time and expertise. Some other apps that involve more listening and speaking practice without a teacher are SpanishPod101, Lingopie, and Glossika.
Since Spanish is a popular language there are many alternatives available. If buying the course in one payment doesn’t fit your budget, there are other apps like MosaLingua and Memrise that offer inexpensive monthly subscriptions. Similar courses that use audio lessons are SpanishPod101 and Rocket Spanish. Rosetta Stone and Babbel use the immersion method, using only Spanish to teach their lessons. If you like hearing authentic material, Busuu or Yabla are good options.
Spanish Uncovered vs Rocket Spanish
Rocket Spanish is the most similar to Spanish Uncovered. It also has a course plan that lays out the lessons in a logical order. You start with lesson 1 and work your way through. Rocket Spanish uses audio and written lessons, and Spanish Uncovered uses more videos. Rocket Spanish offers more levels and is cheaper per level. Since they are so similar, try the free trial to both to see which one fits your learning style. You can also read more about Rocket Spanish in this review, or try it for free by clicking the link below.
Spanish Uncovered vs SpanishPod101
SpanishPod101 is another good app if you want to hear authentic Spanish being spoken. While Spanish Uncovered only teaches up to an intermediate level, SpanishPod101 has 5 different levels from beginner to advanced. SpanishPod101 offers 3 different subscription levels, so it’s a better choice for those on a budget. I like SpanishPod101 because it has tons of supplemental material in addition to the lessons, but I prefer the clear course structure of Spanish Uncovered. If you are interested in SpanishPod101, you can check out this review or try it for free by clicking the link below.
Spanish Uncovered vs Babbel
Spanish Uncovered and Babbel use very different styles to teach Spanish. Spanish Uncovered has long lessons with lots of detail, but Babbel has short, interactive lessons that teach only a few topics in each lesson. Babbel has a cheap monthly subscription, or you can get lifetime access to all languages for less than the price of Spanish Uncovered. Babbel is the better option if you prefer quick lessons that you can do on the go, or if you are learning more than one language. If you want to learn more about Babbel, you can read this review or try it for free by clicking the link below.
Spanish Uncovered vs FluentU
FluentU is another app that teaches through videos and content featuring native speakers. It has short video clips, whereas Spanish Uncovered has detailed video lessons that talk about many aspects of the language. FluentU has one of the most expensive monthly subscriptions out there, so it might be the more expensive option after a few months. In this match-up, I prefer Spanish Uncovered because the course follows a clear and logical order. If you want to learn more about FluentU, you can read this review or try it for free by clicking the link below.
Spanish Uncovered is good for beginners. The course first immerses you in Spanish and then teaches the important parts of the language. The course will only take you to an intermediate level and then you will need a different resource to continue learning.
Spanish Uncovered isn’t free, but you can try it for free with the 7-day trial. You have to enter your credit card information to use the trial, but they won’t charge you until the 8th day if you don’t cancel your account.
The entire Spanish Uncovered course costs $297.00. There are no monthly payment options available. There is a 365-day guarantee. If you aren’t happy with the course during the first year, you can get a full refund.
Story Learning is a technique developed by Olly Richards, a polyglot who has learned more than 8 languages. The method involves learning a language like a child does, through stories and communication, not through grammar and rules. According to Richards, this is a more “brain-friendly” way to learn a language.
This is an independent Spanish Uncovered review, and the company has not sponsored this article. To write this review, I signed up for the free trial and used it for a few hours to thoroughly test its content and features. I also found additional information on the StoryLearning website to verify my findings.