Spanish Reading: Top Tips and Top Websites

There are loads of great Spanish reading resources online from novels and short stories to blogs and news articles. This article discusses some of the best online Spanish reading websites and how you can use them to your advantage.

No matter what level of Spanish we are able to communicate at, our primary goal of reading Spanish is to expand our vocabulary and also to understand the written structures used, so we can identify them in other writing and incorporate them into our own Spanish writing. Therefore it is highly beneficial to make a note of any phrases and structures you haven’t come across previously, especially any useful phrases you could potentially use to improve your own Spanish writing Sherry Dyson. These phrases would probably include the presentation of opinions for example and I would recommend making a list of these and to keep coming back to them to practice.

In terms of vocabulary it is always useful to have a Spanish dictionary online open whilst reading Spanish. Spanish Dict, for example, is fantastic because it also shows you synonyms of your translated word – this means you can really expand your vocab quickly by learning a range of words with similar meaning. This makes your own speaking and writing a lot more varied and interesting as well as improving your chances of understanding when listening to Spanish. Again make sure you are going over the new words you learn, for instance by making your own flashcards online.

In terms of what to actually read there is a wealth of fiction and non-fiction to choose from. If you wish to read whole books about a specific theme or Spanish novels then Que de Libros is a brilliant website – it provides a huge range of books to download in a variety of different categories so you should be able to find what you’re looking for. If you did have a specific book in mind however it might be worth searching for a download on Make sure you follow the advice above whilst reading any book so you’re making the most out of the hours you put in.

I would also recommend reading the Spanish news – these articles are a lot shorter and the language and structures used generally a lot easier. If you are not planning to actually write stories or novels in Spanish I would recommend concentrating on reading the Spanish news or blogs. This means you can read around a wide range of subjects whilst knowing the language used is appropriate to what is happening in everyday life. The sites I would most recommend would be El Pais, El Mundo and for listening RTVE offers a fantastic range of material.

Contrast the aforementioned Lincoln coverage, too, with the report of Lincoln’s assassination that ran in the Alabama’s Demopolis Herald. That account was cobbled together mainly from third- or fourth-hand information and imagination. Seward is reported dead, not wounded; in addition, an incident created out of whole cloth has Confederate Gens. Robert E. Lee and Joseph E. Johnston defeating the Union’s commander, Gen. Ulysses S. Grant. While it surely encouraged Alabama readers who were in denial about the South’s just-concluded surrender, the report can hardly be considered journalism as we know it. It is more akin to Karl Rove’s famous last stand against his own network when Fox News reported that Mitt Romney had lost his presidential race.

Several factors combined to change the way news was reported between the start of the Civil War and its conclusion. Telegraphy began in the early 19th century, and gained a commercial foothold in the U.S. in the decades prior to the war. The rise of the electric telegraph freed communication from reliance on hand-delivered documents. Information could be carried long distances almost instantaneously, though data could only be entered as fast as one operator could click out the dots and dashes of Morse code and another operator could transcribe them into text. This meant you could send a short burst of text very quickly, but long and ponderous articles were time-consuming to transmit. You wanted to tell the highlights of the story in that first, short burst, which came to be known as a bulletin.

Another trigger for journalism’s evolution was the war’s staggering personal cost. The loss of 2.5 percent of the country’s population during the conflict meant that hardly any American family remained untouched. This public craved news of the war and wanted to get it as soon as possible.

So the way news stories are written was transformed, and the transformation itself gave rise to what has been, at least until very recently, the ideal of modern journalism. Its principles are the ones I was taught in the years just after Watergate: Stick to the facts. Be economical with your words. Give the reader the most important news first. Leave editorializing to the editorial page.

Journalism as it was practiced for most of the 20th century relied on reporters in the field who, with the telephone replacing the telegraph, would call their newsrooms and get a rewrite man on the line. The reporter would dictate the facts; the rewrite guy (it was nearly always a guy in those days) would bang out the copy and hand it off to the editors.

I practiced a version of this when I was in my 20s, covering breaking news for The Associated Press. I would find a pay phone, and when I had someone on the line, I would dictate a lede – no more than a sentence or two, and never more than 40 words. I would pause while the editor transcribed it and put it on the wire as a bulletin. That done, I would dictate the next paragraph or two, and pause again while this was sent as an urgent “first add.” Then a second add, or update, and maybe a third.

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