Don and some of his youngest students of Spanish
at the Odessa Christian School 

In 1981 at the age of 34, I began my study of Spanish with THE BEST self-teaching Spanish textbook I have ever seen: Spanish Made Simple. This delightful text of 40 chapters is written in the form of a continuous story about a business man in New York who is preparing to visit his agent in Mexico City. You can order this wonderful book right here on the Internet at: Spanish Made Simple: Book  Read my review on Amazon. Within a few months of starting this book, I was conversing with native Spanish speakers about every topic under the sun. Within two years of self-study, I tested out of one whole year of Spanish at the local community college. I was certified by The Texas Education Agency to teach both secondary Spanish and elementary bilingual classes. I was a bilingual teacher for fourteen years, and taught junior high Spanish for two years. This book worked for me, it will work for you. ¡Buena Suerte! Good Luck! 

 Spanish Grammar 

Free Lessons from Donald L. Potter

If you are studying Spanish on your own, you will find Spanish Grammar (1942, 1943) by Eric. V. Greenfield very helpful. I found this book very helpful in my early Spanish studies, it is also good for basic vocabulary and comprehensive grammar review. It is built around a graded reader that teaches high frequency words and comprehensive college level grammar. It is also a good review grammar. Here is a link to a pdf of Greenfield’s Spanish Grammar. Here is the Complete Vocabulary for Spanish Grammar in a single, convenient document for study and review. 

Click on the Lessons below to hear a native Spanish speaker reading the stories at conversational speed. Frequent listening will hasten the day you will become a fluent Spanish listener and speaker. For convenience, I am publishing each lesson individually in pdf. Just click on “pdf” beside the lesson. 

First Semester 

Introduction. pdf - Alphabet and Pronunciation 

Lesson   1. pdf - First Conjugation Verbs AR (Present Tense) 

Lesson   2. pdf - Estar (Present Tense)

Lesson   3. pdf - Second Conjugation Verbs ER (Present Tense) 

Lesson   4. pdf - Ser - (Present Tense)

Lesson   5. pdf - Subject Personal Pronouns

Lesson   6. pdf - Third Conjugation Verbs IR (Present Tense)

Lesson   7. pdf - Possessive Adjectives 

Lesson   8. pdf - Radical (Stem) Changing Verbs

Lesson   9pdf - Personal Pronouns after Prepositions - Negation

Lesson 10. pdf - Present Tense of Some Irregular Verbs 

Lesson 11. pdf - Personal Pronouns (Indirect and Direct Objects)

Lesson 12. pdf - Preterite Tense (Definite Past)

Lesson 13. pdf - Preterite Tense of Some Irregular Verbs

Lesson 14. pdf - Past Tense (Continuity, Description) - Imperfect Tense

Lesson 15. pdf - Tener and Its Idioms

Lesson 16. pdf - Relative Pronouns

Lesson 17. pdf - Present Subjunctive 

Second Semester

Lesson 18. pdf - Some Irregular Present Subjunctives 

Lesson 19. pdf -  Commands 

Lesson 20. pdf - Demonstrative Adjectives

Lesson 21. pdf - Future Tense - Present Conditional 

Lesson 22. pdf - Reflexive Verbs

Lesson 23. pdf - Time of Day 

Lesson 24. pdf - Present Perfect Tense - Participles 

Lesson 25. pdf - Comparison of Adjectives and Adverbs

Lesson 26. pdf - Numerals

Lesson 27. pdf - Past Perfect Indicative 

Lesson 28. pdf - Days - Months - Seasons 

Lesson 29. pdf - Figure Perfect Indicative - Perfect Conditional 

Lesson 30. pdf - Survey of Moods and Tenses 

Lesson 31. pdf - Past Subjunctive 

Lesson 32. pdf - Demonstrative Pronouns - Possessive Adjectives 

Lesson 33. pdf - Simple Conditionals - Present Unreal Conditionals 

Lesson 34. pdf - Past Perfect Subjunctive 

Lesson 35. pdf - Past Contrary-to-Fact Conditionals 

Lesson 36. pdf - Passive Voice  

Many years ago, I taught a course to business people here in Odessa using Margarita Madrigals' Open Door to Spanish I. This is a wonderful, fast paced course especially useful for teaching conversation classes. There is a second volume which covers more advanced grammar including the subjunctive mood. It is the perfect textbook for jr. high, high school, and college conversation classes. You can purchase them at:  Open Door to Spanish: Vol. 1, or Open Door to Spanish: Vol. 2. Late Professor of Spanish at Abilene Christian University, J. W. Treat, once told me that Margarita Madrigal's earlier and larger one volume work, Madrigal's Magic Key to Spanish, was an excellent volume for learning Spanish quickly. You can order a copy at Madrigal's Magic Key to Spanish: Spanish

Here is my Auto-instrucción en lectura española. I wrote this program back in 2004 to teach Hispanic children who could not read Spanish to read their own language. I used it successfully with a lot of young students. 

When I started my Spanish studies, I made a lot of use of A Practical Grammar for Border Patrol Officers (1970) by John G. Friar & George W. Kelly. It is an excellent grammar that will help you speak more like a native Southwest Spanish speaker

. Unfortunately, this book has been removed from ERIC. I hope it will be come available again soon.  A Practical Spanish Grammar for Border Patrol Officers (1943) by John G. Friar and George W. Kelly, Spanish Instructors, Border Patrol Training School, El Paso, TX. I made extensive use of fine grammar when I was teaching myself Spanish. 

Her  is Libro Libre: Beginning Spanish Course. A free textbook in pdf. 

It is VITAL to listen to as much Spanish as possible. World famous linguist Eugene Nida recommended that beginners spend 50 percent of their study time LISTENING to the language. Here is his chapter on "Learning by Listening." 

Here is an excellent, up-to-date Spanish Grammar (2003) by Juan Kattán-Ibarra and Christopher J. Pountain. 

Learning Spanish Wiki has a lots of great material for learning Spanish.

Online Learning: Spanish Resources. There is a variety of programs here. 

There is a lot of free Spanish material available at 

The Easy Spanish looks like a good program from a Christian perspective. 

Here is one of my very favorite intermediate Spanish Readers. I have two copies, which I have read many times and profited much. Noche Oscura en Lima. Here is an Archive copy: Note Oscura en Lima

Another great intermediate reader is Tesoro de la sSerra Madre

Foreign Service Institute Spanish (FSI)

Teaching yourself Spanish just got easier, more powerful, and less expensive. In the 1960's the Foreign Service Institute of the United States Government developed a series of foreign languages courses for the major languages of the world. Top flight linguists analyzed these languages and developed courses using the best audio-lingual methods available. These courses are in-depth presentations which will develop high levels of fluency. They are public domain since they were developed with taxpayers money. Several publishers have made the available for purchase; BUT this site is making them available for FREE. This includes the books, teachers' manuals, and even the audio recordings. Here is the link to the Spanish materials: FSI Spanish 

Journey into Spanish

by Elloitt Glass

Elliott Glass was one of the most innovative and successful Spanish teaches of our times. I taught his Everyday Spanish with great success. Journey into Spanish is an updated version of Everyday Spanish. It is a comprehensive course in college level Spanish. The textbook is in an interactive workbook format. It has a very interesting story line about a group of teenagers visiting Spanish speaking communities around the world. Audio instruction is available. Unfortunately, this book seem out of print. That is very sad since there is nothing available that can compare with it for a strong beginning Spanish textbook. His El Politico Honesto was a fabulous second year book and video. There are used copies available on Amazon: Journey into Spanish

Spanish Language Training. This website is loaded with great information on learning Spanish. 

Listen to the Spanish Bible on the Internet: The very best  book for learning any language is none other than the Christian Scripture. You can also listen to Biblia Reina Valera Edicion 2000 at this web site: Reina Valera.

Practical Spoken Spanish, Seventh Edition, Revised by F. M. Kercheville. First published in 1934 with the 7th edition in 1959 - and 12th printing 1992. This little gem has taught thousands to speak Spanish. 

For a advanced students of Spanish, the University of Iowa has superb pronunciation course: Phonetics.

The Combined Spanish Method: A New Practical and Theoretical System of Learning the Castilian Language by Alberto De Tornos. This 1869 Spanish Method book, although very old, has some very excellent features for those teaching themselves Spanish. The is free from Google Book.

Here are two books for teaching children Spanish using the natural method: Primer libro de español segun el método natural (1884) by J. H. Woman. Segundo libro del español (1916). 

Libro primero de lectura de Appelton by William T Harrison, Andrew J. Rickoff, and Mark Bailey. This is a beginning reader that couples beginning Spanish and English Lessons. I  have never seen anything like it. It is very interesting. 

A Text-Book of Modern Spanish by Marathon Montrose Ramsey. One of the all time classics grammars of modern Spanish. Highly recommended for advanced students. Here is an even better copy of A Text-Book of Modern Spanish. I have found it very helpful. The section on accent is dated, but most of the rest is accurate and useful. 

Short Spanish Review Grammar and Composition Book (1923) by David Hobart Carnahan. This is a really fun review grammar. 

A Brief Spanish Grammar with Historical Introductions and Exercises (1899) by A. Hjalmar Edgren. Despite its age, I have found this grammar very interesting and helpful. The historical introductions are especially noteworthy, referring back to Latin. 

Reading, Writing, and Speaking Spanish for Beginners (1921) by Margaret Caroline Dowling. Inspire of its age, this is a lovely and very useful grammar. I have enjoyed studying it, and highly recommend it. 

Poco a poco: An Elementary Direct Method for Learning Spanish (1922) by Guillermo Hall. The direct method for learning languages was very popular at one time. 

Program for dividing Spanish words into syllables. And conjugate verbs

Elementary Spanish (1929) by Patricio Gimeno and Stephen Scatori. An attractive grammar for review and gaining a sensitivity to the language. 

Everyone needs a good Spanish-English/English-Spanish Dictionary. My favorite is the  University of Chicago Dictionary 

Learn Spanish On Line

I recently found this helpful web site that uses material similar to the Foreign Service Institute which proved very valuable to me during my early attempts to learn Spanish. Perhaps you will find them of value. There is a special section on pronunciation that will prove especially valuable to beginners Here is the Link: Learn here is the BBC Spanish course. BBC also has courses in two other Romance languages: Italian and French 

Here is a wonderful Spanish Poetry web site: Anthology of Spanish Poetry.

Free Grammar Instruction and Practice, mostly in Spanish: CALL

The Cortina Method

   (1911). This method has been around for a long time.

Easy Spanish Reader  (1919). A superb work. Very helpful.     

Libro primario: arreglado al español  (1887) by Hubert Howe Bancroft. This delightful little book was written to teach Spanish speaking children to read Spanish.        

Spanish Simplified (1890) by Augustin Knoflach. A very fine grammar for beginning learners. Some of the orthography is dated, but the essence of Spanish hasn't changed any since then, so it is still a good book for those wanting to grasp the essentials of the language. I would love to see an updated edition someday.                          

Primer libro de lectura  (1919) Gertrude Margaret Walsh. This book makes good use of cognates and has very interesting stories and delightful poems. 

Harmonic Method for Learning Spanish (1916) by Doctor Luis a. Baralt. A unique method for advanced student presented in a conversational format with the teacher talking naturally to the student. 

Spanish Practice Exercises: Exercises.

When I started my studies of Spanish, I listened to the Voice of America (VOA) every day. You can listen to the news, music, and commentaries at The Voice of America

Spanish Flash Cards: A super fun way to learn Spanish vocablary and grammar. 

Learn Spanish: A site loaded with FREE information on Spanish vocabulary and grammar. 

Spoken Spanish: Lessons 1 to 14  (1945, 1946) by S. N. Treveño. Here is the Archive Copy of Spoken Spanish. Published for the US Armed forces. This is an excellent introduction to Basic Spanish based on Basic Sentence Patterns. Spoken Spanish: Lessons 15-30. Recordings for this method are available on Archive. Here is the first Unit 1

Linguistics for Bilinguals (1982). Excellent introduction to the subject. 

Invitation to Spanish Poetry by Eugenio Florit. Here is the link to the audio, which can be downloaded. I have spent many pleasant hours with this book and recording. This is a dual language book. 

El Hobbit by J. R. Tolkien.Translated by Manuel Figueroa. (1937, translated 1982) A good way to improve one’s Spanish is to read a favorite English adventure book translated into English. 

1. Spanish Flashcards. This is a fun way learn basic vocabulary and grammar.

2. Learn Spanish: Start with their fantastic Pronunciation Exercises. 

3. Spanish Learn It On Line: Here is another must-visit site: SPALEON

4. Here is another link for learning Spanish: Quia.

5 . If you want to "Learn Spanish Like Crazy," here are some excellent free lessons: Learn Spanish Like Crazy Lessons

6. More free Learn Spanish materials. 

7. Diccionario de la lengua española por la Real Academia Española. 

8. Thousands of Free books for you to read in Spanish at: Libros Tauro

Success with Foreign Languages: Seven who achieved it and what worked for them by EARL W. STEVICK