Listening to podcasts is one of the best ways for students to practice and improve their Spanish. Listening to Spanish podcasts allows you to:
- Practice your Spanish with native materials, even when you don’t have access to a fluent Spanish speaker.
- Train your ear to recognize oral Spanish, from a variety of a speakers and accents.
- Expand your ability to process and understand larger chunks of Spanish than the short sentences and phrases you have worked with as a beginner.
- Download audio so that you can practice your Spanish while walking the dog, going to the gym, commuting to work, etc.
You will get the most benefit from working with podcasts if you already have a solid understanding of basic grammar and know a decent amount of vocabulary (at least 1000 words). Until then you will likely find it difficult to understand enough of the material benefit from podcasts. A good rule of thumb is that you should be able to understand approximately 75% of everything you hear, so that any new material you need to learn makes up no more than 25%.
Before diving into podcasts, you should already be able quickly recognize the various verb forms (including present, preterite, imperfect and command forms), and have a decent grasp of object pronouns, reflexive verbs, and other basic structures. If you are still rusty on any of these topics, you will likely progress faster by focusing on dedicated instructional materials like our full conversational Spanish course, and then move on to podcasts only after you have mastered these essentials.
How to use podcasts to improve your Spanish
You will get the most benefit from listening to podcasts if you train yourself to use them as the basis for active learning rather than passive listening. To maximize the value of podcasts as a learning tool, we recommend taking the follow approach: