Most helpful positive review
59 of 59 people found the following review helpful
Excellent review for someone with previous knowledge
on February 24, 2006
What kind of learner am I?
I teach in a university-based adult education program, where many of my students are native Spanish speakers. My high school and college Spanish classes were a distant memory, but when I chose this book and its companions (pronouns and verbs), I DID remember enough to communicate at a basic level. I've found this series excellent for improving my Spanish enough for my students to comment enthusiastically after a relatively short time. I have no instructor, but I learn well from books, and I already knew how to pronounce Spanish words. For someone else in my position, I can't recommend this series highly enough--it's the best I found after extensive searching, library loans, etc.
Getting the most from this product:
I also recommend getting all three books (complete grammar, pronouns, and verbs) as I did. I've found that it's been helpful to work through a few sections in one book, switch to one of the others, and move ahead in similar jags through all three at once. I can tell when to switch by when I start to feel like I'm getting in over my head--I think it would be difficult to learn alone using just one of these.
Another tip: This series is pure grammar, but there's plenty of culture and literature available free online. I've supplemented the books by reading Spanish-language newspapers online (my favorite seems to be the BBC/Latin America), pasting the text into [...] to check my reading as needed. Often, I've translated these in their entirety for practice (the free translation's enough to understand, but not a particularly good translation). I also found a Spanish-speaking penpal by visiting Spanish chatrooms, and write back and forth frequently as a way to practice my written Spanish. These activities have provided the learning richness that simple grammar texts aren't intended to offer.
Who shouldn't use this?
However, if (for example) you know no (or almost no) Spanish now or remember very little vocabulary, this would be a poor choice. It definitely assumes some level of familiarity with the language.