Libro Libre: Beginning Spanish
Copyright Year: 2018
Publisher: Erin Huebener
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Libro Libre is a frankly complete book for beginning Spanish students. It begins with basic notions such as expressing time or vocabulary of food, going through the conjugation of the present and past, and ends with some notions of the... read more
Libro Libre is a frankly complete book for beginning Spanish students. It begins with basic notions such as expressing time or vocabulary of food, going through the conjugation of the present and past, and ends with some notions of the subjunctive. Each unit includes objectives and different activities and always with a Spanish-English vocabulary table. The book includes a verb table and different links to go deeper. As for cultural notions, it covers all the aspects that a beginner needs to obtain a fluid communication. The teacher and the student can choose between a series of different activities, almost all of them communicative, which make it possible for the book to be used by different audiences.
Libro Libre does not present any accuracy problem, on the contrary I think it can be used from beginners to intermediate level students. The materials presented are suitable for these levels as well as the objectives presented in each chapter. I have observed that the authors have an important knowledge about the Hispanic world. The book is not only accurate, it's very effective.
Libro Libre is an updated text which can be seen both in the way of presenting each chapter with the objectives in the form of I can, or the different types of activities in the form of tasks. It includes current topics such as the inclusion of the third person pronoun elle to include transgender and non-binary pronouns. The cultural elements are updated with dialect variations and current photos.
The text is presented clearly for students and teachers in the formulation of the grammar suitable for beginners without making an extraordinary use of language jargon, but introducing some concepts necessary to understand the notions presented. The presentation of the activities is clear so that even the students can use the book independently.
Each chapter is formulated in the same way. First with some objectives and a brief cultural reading followed by the presentation of the new grammatical and lexical concepts. It always ends with a personal reflection on what has been studied that leads to the new chapter.
As I mentioned earlier this book can be used at different levels. I see it easy to assign only a few chapters or even different concepts. The index with the page number makes the search easy. This also allows that if for some reason some of the activities are not to the liking of the student or the teacher, they can be skipped without any learning problem.
Libro Libre is well organized. The chapters are structured in the same way and the use of Spanish has a great balance with the use of English, which appears mainly in the instructions for the activities and in the grammatical explanations.
It allows the online or offline use of downloaded in pdf form. The links are intuitive and lead to easily navigable YouTube videos or audios. The only downside is that some activity responses that need a QR code would need another device in order to get it, not just with a click.
I detect different typos on the book, always when is Spanish. Many of them are about capitalization. Objectivos, should be objetivos. This typo occurs in every chapter las repuestas, pg. 12, should be las respuestas el día de independencia, pg. 70 should be Día de la Independencia seite, pg. 206 should be siete luchó para should luchó por, pg. 308 pg 308 should be tampoco les
I believe that the book covers different cultural aspects of the Hispanic world that allow the student to have a vision and explore those that are of their greatest interest. The text includes aspects of daily life, the use of names, pronouns, food, history, etc. that include the cultural varieties of the wide Hispanic world.
I loved the book, if I could choose to teach with it definitely I would. Not only can the book compete with others of a high price, but it is just as attractive being free. It is definitely a treasure that must be shown to all who teach and learn Spanish.
I really enjoyed going through the whole book "Libro Libre". It is a very complete book for beginners. It is an accessible book for the students because it has clear and colorful illustrations, basic vocabulary using a good number of cognates... read more
I really enjoyed going through the whole book "Libro Libre". It is a very complete book for beginners. It is an accessible book for the students because it has clear and colorful illustrations, basic vocabulary using a good number of cognates and also basic sentences which helps students to improve their pace. Besides, the author includes some translation whenever it is considered necessary. The way the author organizes the book is just perfect for the students to reflect on the objectives and goals that they need to reach in each chapter. At the end of each chapter not only there is a space to review the vocabulary studied in the chapter, but also there is a place for the students to reflect about the vocabulary that they have gained. I like the fact that the book has a good variety of easy and well illustrated cultural readings. The grammar portions are very well explained and there are plenty of activities for the students to practice. I also like the audio and video pieces that the student can use for extra practice. In general, there is a good balance of the language skills and the cultural component of the language.
Libro Libre is accurate and effective for the level of Spanish that has been designed. The content of the book is well organized and it has a logical sequence of themes.
The content of the book is relevant. The cultural portions that the author uses , the grammar, examples, and activities won't age too fast. Later it might need few updates in the usage of vocabulary just in case if some of the terminology doesn't apply to all the Spanish speaking countries or people stop using some words. As a native speaker for example, I wouldn't have understood the phrase el quequito, if I wouldn't have seen the picture of the cupcake, because maybe in one country they say "el quequito", but not in several Spanish speaking countries. Besides, It would be nice to have a workbook, even though the book has a good amount of activities per chapter. If the teacher decides to work on those activities in class, there wouldn't be enough activities for the students to practice at home.
In general Libro libre has a clear sequence of themes and grammatical structures. The explanation of the grammar and activities is precise. I only found one error on the instruction on page 147 (Activity 23) where the activity is about stem changing verbs and the author asks to conjugate reflexive verbs, then I found that reflexive verbs are on page 216.
The book Libro Libre is very consistent in the use of cultural readings, objectives, the grammar explanation and activities. I noticed some inconsistency in the use of English and Spanish on the table of contents, some of the themes are in English and some are in Spanish. The same happens on the chapters tittles, sometimes the author puts them in both languages and at times only in Spanish or only in English. The aspects that I mentioned before are easy to be corrected, the most important fact is that the book is consistent in everything related to content.
The book is divided in ten chapters which are subdivided into cultural reading, objectives, vocabulary, grammar, activities, revision of objectives and vocabulary. This sequence is consistent throughout all the chapters. The only kind of negative aspect is that to get to a chapter, the students will have to scroll down until they get to the chapter or the page that they need. Overall this is an excellent and easy book to understand and to follow.
The book is well structured and very coherent. Each chapter has the same sequence of themes which is perfect because the students can navigate easily through the chapters and through the whole book. The author uses English to give instructions or to translate words that could be difficult to understand, but other than that all the readings and activities are in Spanish.
Libro Libre gives the students the opportunity to download the book and work on it. It has links for video and audio that are easy to handle for anybody.
I did not find significant mistakes on the grammar sections of each chapter. There are some details that I consider confusing for the students, for example, on page 73 there are three lists of weather expressions and the author uses capital letter in the middle of the sentence. The students could think that it is correct to write "Está Soleado" because the author writes "soleado" with a capital letter. Also the author uses capital letters when writing lists of words which is not necessary.
Even though the readings on culture are easy interesting and very well illustrated, I find that the book Libro Libre is lacking a balance on cultural information about more countries than the ones that the author uses in the book. I know there are only ten chapters and 21 Spanish speaking countries, but the author repeats some of the countries like Argentina and Mexico. Also, I don't see a good ethnic balance in the pictures and photographs throughout the book.
Overall I like the book Libro Libre and I would love to use it in the future with my students. It is a well structure, clear and it counts with excellent examples, activities and colorful illustrations.
Libro Libre is a book that I enjoyed reading. The book covers aspects of Hispanic culture using readings of authentic materials, and as a native Spanish speaker I believe this an excellent resource to familiarize learners with different Hispanic... read more
Libro Libre is a book that I enjoyed reading. The book covers aspects of Hispanic culture using readings of authentic materials, and as a native Spanish speaker I believe this an excellent resource to familiarize learners with different Hispanic accents and idioms. Libro Libre covers basic grammar for beginners in a very simple way so that it becomes easy for learners to comprehend. The vocabulary and content is supported by colorful illustrations, and with additional audio, and videos which are free resources available in the program. The books provides students with a section in which they can reflect about the lesson objectives and what their expectations are for that lesson, by doing this students can increase language awareness on acquired learning skills to enhance the use of the target language. Libro Libre is a book that can be used for virtual teaching or when teaching in a classroom.
I did not detect any error. I believe that Libro Libre is an accurate book. It is well organized and relevant.
I do not think that it will be necessary to up date the book soon. Libro Libre book is written and arranged with links in such way that if it were necessary to update it will be very easy to implement it.
The writing is clear and easy to comprehend. Instructions are written in English, vocabulary words are either written in English and Spanish or accompanied by illustrations so that beginners can easily comprehend.
Overall there is a clear consistency in the writing and explanation in all the chapters of Libro Libre book that includes a clear sequence of short cultural readings, chapter goals, vocabulary, grammar, and chapter reflection. The terminology used is consistent with the Spanish Standard framework.
Each one of the ten chapters is divided into smaller sections that can be assigned independently or as a whole. The chapters are well organized, in a sequence that makes sense and with easy to find sections.
The book is well organize. It flows well, it begins each chapter with a cultural reading followed by a vocabulary list, a Pre-chapter activity and a series of activities that reinforce learning skills. At the end of each chapter there is a reflection section where the student can reflect on what he/she has learned; "I can do" section.
I had no trouble with interface. No issues with this.
The text contains no grammatical errors, but there is a repeated spelling error which is the word objectivos should be spelled objetivos without the "c".
I like the fact that the book includes cultural readings in each of its chapter. I also like the illustrations to represent culture backgrounds, but I think the text should represent more the variety of races, and ethnic groups that conforms the Hispanic World.
Overall I have to say that I like the Libro Libre book and I will use for my future classes. I think it is a very good Spanish for beginners book. It is practical affordable, and easy to use. Thank you for writing it.
I completed the review of the Libro Libre book and I really liked it. I teach the beginner level of Spanish at a local community college, as well as at a state college, and most of the students enrolled in my classes come with a mix of proficiency... read more
I completed the review of the Libro Libre book and I really liked it. I teach the beginner level of Spanish at a local community college, as well as at a state college, and most of the students enrolled in my classes come with a mix of proficiency levels. The large scope of the book is great in that it covers all the grammar and vocabulary that I usually cover in my Spanish I and II courses.
I found that the book content was accurate for a beginning I and II Spanish level. I will definitely use it as a supplemental book for an OER Spanish course.
The book was relevant to the topics for a Spanish I and Spanish II course and included videos and activities that were also relevant to the lessons.
I found the Libro Libre very well organized by Chapters. The topics were clear and easy to follow.
At the beginning of each chapter in the book, there were sections that use goal setting and metacognition. The Libro Libre book was very consistent in having the activity “I Can.." at the end of each module where students can reflect on the way they learn. The goals for each chapter were specific and achievable.
The book was divided into ten chapters and in order to get to a particular chapter students will need to scroll all the way to the assigned lesson. In previous books I have used, I was able to enter the number of the page I was looking in a search bar, however, I was unable to do that with this book. It was a little bit difficult to have to scroll all the way to a specific page I was looking for but it was also ok as the book is free.
I found the chapter in the book very well organized and that it included learning objectives in each topic of the book. The book themes had an easy flow.
The interface included web links about different topics and QR codes. Some of these QR codes had enough activities to practice descriptions of famous people who are commonly known by our students which at the same time makes students interested and engaged.
One of the errors I was able to detect in the book was that in the table of contents some of the topics are in English and some in Spanish.
I found the cultural readings at the beginning of each chapter short but up to date. When updating the book, a suggestion would be to add some reflective pre- and post writing activities comparing Latin America and the U.S. cultures.
When reviewing the Libro Libre book I found more pros than cons. El Libro Libre is a great option for an elementary OER beginner course and a great alternative for students who are not able to afford the purchase of a textbook which can be costly. This Spring semester I had a couple of students who were about to drop out of the class because they couldn’t afford the cost of the textbook required for our class. When updating the book, a suggestion would be to add activities for listening, and reading more short passages about cultural topics with pre- and post writing activities. I appreciate the time and effort put by the author in writing the Libro Libre book and I really hope I can use it in the near future. I will be writing a proposal to my department to develop and OER Spanish course and I will suggest the use of the Libro Libre book.
This textbook is comprehensive in its treatment of the standard vocabulary and grammar as is expected from a high quality first year college textbook. The entire gamut of vocabulary and grammar is sequentially and thematically organized and... read more
This textbook is comprehensive in its treatment of the standard vocabulary and grammar as is expected from a high quality first year college textbook. The entire gamut of vocabulary and grammar is sequentially and thematically organized and presented in a to-the-point style in manageable chunks, all contained within the 10 chapters that make up this 432 page long textbook. The table of contents is detailed; it runs from page 3 to page 5 and lists the standard vocabulary themes and grammar topics found in any US college level first year Spanish textbook published by mainstream for-profit publishers of academic textbooks. There is a balance of all the four skills, but instructors will find it easy to choose and emphasize activities and skills the as per their teaching style and learner needs. Audio and video ancillary materials are available on YouTube and are hyperlinked in the text. The cultural readings accompanying each unit afford reading practice as well as cultural information on a diversity of topics without overwhelming the beginning level learner of Spanish. There is more than enough material for instructors to gainfully cover a two or three semester long foreign language basic course sequence.
A cursory scan of the content indicates that the material is accurate, error-free and unbiased. I did not check for typos, which, if any, can be corrected due to the editable nature of the medium. On the whole it appears to be expertly written. The experience of the author with traditional books from large publishers, her familiarity with companion websites, her mastery of the Spanish language, and her own personal teaching experience are well reflected in this well-edited, printable, and “no-cost beyond printing” textbook.
This is a recent and current text, which is generally somewhat of a rarity in open source collections as they generally contain older texts, especially in disciplines like foreign languages. This particular text dates from 2018. The relevance of this resource can also gauged from the manner it invites self-reflection on the part of the student through end of the chapter “I can” statements, goal-setting activities and vocabulary lists (readymade as well as personalized, student generated, looked up words) – all of which reveal consideration of contemporary active learning approaches and testify to the pedagogical currency of the method and approach – as well as the “three-phase cycle for task based activities” that inspire and inform the pre-chapter activities in the book.
The text is written in lucid and accessible language. There is no jargon that will impede learner comprehension.
The text is internally consistent in terms of terminology and framework. Standard metalanguage and terminology are used throughout to present language and grammar concepts. The terminology used is also consistent with the professional standards in the field. It would be nice though if all the cultural readings had a title in the table of contents. Right now, some do and some don’t.
There is substantial modularity in the sense that each unit and each section within each unit can function as a distinct and separate module with independent learning objects, though when it comes to language learning, it serves to remember that everything builds on something else and that what came before applies to what is on hand.
The organization is methodical. Topics are presented in a logical, clear fashion and progress from easy to more challenging. For example, chapter 1 introduces the simple present tense via the verb “ser” in the present tense, regular –AR verbs are covered in chapter 2, chapter 3 addresses -ER and -IR verbs, chapter 5 the present progressive, chap 8 the imperfect, chap 9 the preterite (which is rather late in the order compared to most other books) while the imperative, subjunctive and conditional moods are worked into Chap 10. However, there are many ways of arranging material in foreign language study -- no one method of sequencing is necessarily perfect and no one pre-set sequence is necessarily the best!
There are no significant interface issues, no navigation problems. The external audio and video links work smoothly. There are abundant images, which load properly. The page design is uncluttered and neat. The font size is comfortable and does not cause strain while reading.
I did not spot any grammatical errors in my perusal. This is a language textbook and upholds the expected standards.
No examples of culturally insensitive treatment were found. The images inside the text represent a variety of races, ethnicities and backgrounds. The cultural readings are not centered on any one region but span across the wider Spanish speaking world.
This book affords the convenience of a textbook and workbook rolled into one. The audio for the vocabulary for the chapters is on YouTube and is accessible with just a click. The curriculum is identical to the material contained in books published by the large academic publishing houses but the treatment is less dense (which can be a big plus as it cuts away the clutter). It is also innovative in that it provides reflection pages at the end of every chapter where students can take stock of the skills they have acquired in the unit through a list of performance verbs / action words corresponding to Bloom’s Taxonomy. However, instructors would have to figure out for themselves how to assess student learning since publisher provided ancillaries like test banks or online quizzes are not there. On the other hand though, this can also be an opportunity for instructors to devise unconventional and simpler ways of assessing learning and progress by focusing on communicative and productive competencies as encapsulated in the “After completing this chapter, I will be able to:” sections or by designing their own written or spoken assessment activities and exercises modeled on what is in the book.
This text covers a variey of appropriate themes and topics: grammar, vocabulary, and culture. I would have liked to see specifics when it came to the cultural section of each chapter. In the first chapter of the index, for example, it reads... read more
This text covers a variey of appropriate themes and topics: grammar, vocabulary, and culture. I would have liked to see specifics when it came to the cultural section of each chapter. In the first chapter of the index, for example, it reads "Lectura cultural: La Patagonia", specifying what the cultural topic will be. Chapter 2 is also specific. But for the other chapters, there is no detail telling what the cultural content is. Chapter 5, for example, simply reads"Lectura cultural: ", and only after going to page 159 can you see that the cultural reading selection is about Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.
It is hard to put together a Spanish text without favoring a particular region. With 21 countries encompassing what it is to be "Latin American" it is easy to focus one a particular dialect or culture. While this text includes examples from many different cultures, and points out what may be different from region to region, it does not appear to have a bias toward any.
The examples and exerises are written in a way that is general enough to last over time. Since a lot of the cultrual aspects tend to be historical, many wouldn't have to be changed to keep the book feeling "modern".
The explanation of concepts is very well done. Clear, consise, it reads as a teacher speaking interactively with students as opposed to a dry lecture. For the most part I found it engaging and easy to follow.
It is very well laid out and establishes a flow very early on. The student would know what to expect with each chapter. Both teacher and students would be able to get into a rhythm early on in the semester.
This text would be a good fit for a two semester introductory series, eg Introduction to Spanish I and Introduction to Spanish II. There perhaps would be a need to fill in some content when using the text over two semesters, but that would give a lot of time to practice and build a solid foundation.
The themes of the text are well matched between vocabulary/content/grammar. They go well together and are used logically to expand communication abilities.
I appreciated that while it was pleasantly illustrated, the pictures and captions were not distracting within the text. The hyper links were easy to open and very useful in providing examples of material.
The text was well done in terms of grammar, there were no glaring mistakes to my eye.
I would have liked to see some more aspects of culture as Latin American culture varies so greatly region to region and incorporates so much of European, African and Indigenous cultures.
I especially appreciated the goals and self reflection of the text. I have found that many times students do not pause to reflect on what is going well and what needs improvement until it is too late in the class. Setting a couple of goals at the beginning of each chapter and reflecting on the progress made when the chapter is over seems like a very effective way to not only help students track their progress more effectively, but also to help them self-evaluate and possibly self-advocate if needed..
The book covers all the basic grammar content of beginner Spanish with enough grammar activities and exercises to support student learning. It also has excellent Audio and Video activities, although the teacher probably needs to incorporate other... read more
The book covers all the basic grammar content of beginner Spanish with enough grammar activities and exercises to support student learning. It also has excellent Audio and Video activities, although the teacher probably needs to incorporate other free resources available online to support the content, as well as cultural readings and videos. The explanation of the grammar is simple, avoid very rigid boxes and examples and use some very useful mnemonic devices. I also appreciate that it regularly incorporates cognates, suffix and prefix exercises (all of this increases students' language awareness and expands their vocabulary).
The cultural information and the grammar seems accurate and effective. I have not detected any big errors in my review, although I detected some typographical errors.
I don't think the text obsolete within a short period of time. The necessary updates will be relatively easy and straightforward to implement, mainly if the emphasis of these updates can be put on the audio and video links on youtube.
I think this is one of the book's greatest successes: its clarity. The grammar explanations are clear, using English and mnemonic methods that the students will appreciate very much. The activity directions are also consistently clear. The book has a student center focus - if this is possible. I mean, it addresses the student in simple language, almost like in a casual but very effective way. It seems as if the author has passed the same struggles with the language as the one who is studying at the time. For example, the explanation of the phrase "estar loco" (Mi hermano está loco), "being crazy" (188) is excellent. I appreciate that the book dedicates sections to study the differences between Very / More / Much, which is usually difficult for students.
The book is organized, well structured and coherent with the organization it proposes, chapter after chapter. I like the design of the book, some pictures chosen to illustrate the topics are fun and fresh.
The book can be segmented into chapters without losing coherence. Each chapter is autonomous, although interdependent on the previous one due to the logical sequence of learning.
The book is organized, well structured and coherent with the organization it proposes, chapter after chapter.
The interface is basic and easy to navigate it. Audio recordings and videos provide good resources to present and use the vocabulary. I wish it had hyperlinks to navigate the book more efficiently. Grammatical explanations, for example, could be linked directly to exercises online or exercises from the book itself. For example, when reviewing the verb estar in present progressive tense, there should be a link that refers the student directly to the grammatical explanation of estar that appears on previous pages.
I detected one "leísmo" (when we use “le/les” as a direct object): Yo le saco a caminar [a mi perro], p. 195, and some typos.
The text is not culturally insensitive or offensive in any way. I like the use of @ to refer to the feminine and masculine of nouns and adjectives. I have seen some regionalisms, such as the use of frutilla in Chile or the distinction between Lima and Limón, but it would be great to include more variants of the Spanish.
I would have appreciated the use of songs or poems, and activities related to them. Also, the cultural readings could have more exercises of comprehension, research and production linked to them. Overall, it is an excellent book.
Libro Libre: Beginning Spanish is most appropriate for a 2-semester beginner sequence, with 400+ pages covering grammar commonly seen at these levels. While the textbook offers brief cultural readings with each of the ten chapters, the professor... read more
Libro Libre: Beginning Spanish is most appropriate for a 2-semester beginner sequence, with 400+ pages covering grammar commonly seen at these levels. While the textbook offers brief cultural readings with each of the ten chapters, the professor will inevitably need to seek out additional cultural materials along with appropriate listening and reading activities. However, for what the textbook intends to do -- present basic grammar -- it does fairly well. The grammar is typically presented in an informal, catchy way, with a keen eye to common student mistakes. Textbook activities naturally center on grammar, with many mechanical and guided ones in addition to some that intend to be more communicative. As a grammar resource, the textbook does a good job at presenting the material. Vocabulary is, at times, presented in context, which is great, yet there seems to be little overall cohesion throughout the chapters. That is, there could be much stronger ties between the cultural reading, the themed vocabulary, the grammar examples, and activities for students.
Libro Libre presents the grammar and other materials in a methodical manner. The accuracy of the information presented, especially relating to grammar, seems accurate and effective.
Besides updating some of the student activities periodically, the content does not seem like it will date too quickly. One point to mention here, however, is that there is no online workbook (with auto-grading). This is actually one of the first points made in the Foreword section by the author. Online workbooks have been a huge time-saver for both professors and students in my experience, though different pedagogical approaches will dictate just how important they are to a given class.
The writing and explanations, including activity directions, are consistently clear. The textbook will be accessible to beginners of Spanish, given that English and Spanish are used appropriately to convey meaning. As remarked above, stronger overall chapter contexts would likely improve the overall flow and naturalness as certain material could be presented more organically in context.
Each chapter is consistent, with a short cultural reading, followed by a goal-setting section before proceeding to grammar and vocabulary exercises. Likewise, each chapter concludes with a reflection on the short- and long-term goals set by each student at the chapter's start. This technique is wonderful to see included, as constant reflection and assessment of strengths and weaknesses is important at these levels. It is also important to note that the textbook maintains an explicitly positive and encouraging attitude towards language learning.
It would not be difficult to segment learning in a different order than the one proposed by the textbook. Each grammar module could be worked on independently of the broader chapter and vocabulary contexts if so desired.
There is a clear and orderly method of presenting the grammar, one that corresponds to traditional ways of doing so. The only particular quirk of this textbook in that sense is the final chapter, which covers present perfect, subjunctive, commands, the future and the conditional. This information overload would be best managed differently, perhaps by working some of the material into earlier chapters or simply presenting the concepts only, as I assume it is a taste of what is to come at the intermediate levels. One chapter is surely not enough to effectively cover all of these points. It would also be good to have the chapter vocabulary arranged in sections at the end of the chapter. As is, the many words are listed alphabetically, which may not be most useful if a student is trying to look up a specific word by category (food, clothing, classroom item, etc.).
The interface is clean and basic. Audio recordings provide good models for newly presented vocabulary and videos (both link to YouTube) present great examples of classroom activities. The videos, however, are not meant for listening activities (comprehension), as there are Spanish subtitles provided. These added materials are a definite plus, though easier topic navigation bookmarks built in to the textbook may smooth things out.
There are a handful of typos, though nothing that interferes with communication or understanding.
The textbook makes a notable effort to be inclusive, with most of the vocabulary words presented with the gender neutral @ symbol. Likewise, trans-gender and non-binary pronouns are also explicitly discussed, given the gendered nature of the language. However, there are some inconsistencies, such as the use of “you guys” as an Uds./vosotrxs translation instead of “you all.” Lastly, the textbook does tend to rely on Spain much more heavily in its photos, cultural pieces, and activities than other parts of the Spanish-speaking world. With 20+ other places and communities to choose from, the constant references to Spain seem needlessly Eurocentric. As other reviewers have mentioned, many of our students have family ties to U.S. Latinx communities, the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, and many other places that are under-represented or not at all in the textbook.
Libro Libre serves well as a grammar textbook and contains many useful and relevant activities to practice this grammar, moving from mechanical to guided to open-ended, generally speaking. However, it is imperative to keep in mind that cultural information, reading exercises, and appropriate listening activities will need to be sourced elsewhere.
This textbook seems to be consistent chapter after chapter on what it has to offer: a cultural section at the beginning of the chapter, a list of objectives, introduction to vocabulary, grammar, etc. However, I would like to have an index on the... read more
This textbook seems to be consistent chapter after chapter on what it has to offer: a cultural section at the beginning of the chapter, a list of objectives, introduction to vocabulary, grammar, etc. However, I would like to have an index on the screen so that I know how to jump to material that I need to find fast. There is a “bookmark” function where I can scroll the pages and find where a new chapter begins but I could not find what it is on that chapter unless I read the objectives page. It lacks a true index. The vocabulary list appears twice on each chapter: first, when it is most needed to accomplish a task, and it comes with links to audio (YouTube) to listen to their pronunciation; and second at the end of the chapter, but without a link to audio. The grammar section is in most need of an index. For example, when I searched for the conjugation of the present tense of “tener” (to have) I had to press the “find” function in my computer (CMD F, or CTRL F OSX or Windows) five times. The book shows that “tener” appears 96 times, so perhaps what I am looking for it is many many clicks away.
Even expensive language textbooks are often inaccurate and different people will find that there are different ways to present material. Although there are things in this textbook that I would explain differently, at the same time I learned a lot seeing that the textbook provides other perspectives that I have not found in publisher-made textbooks in my over twenty-six years of teaching. I did not see much inaccuracy from the first four chapters of this textbook that I reviewed. Maybe I would not have explained things the same way, but they still made sense on the way they are explained by the author.
There is a calendar picture of the year 2015. This is the second edition of the textbook, from 2018. This should have been an easy update to fix. The textbook on the other hand seems very up to date on gender issues vis-à-vis grammatical gender in Spanish and does a very good job on offering options and keeping students up to date on what native speakers are trying to do to break the gender barriers established by the binary system in Spanish.
The text is easy to understand, and written by someone who seems to have gone through similar challenges learning the language. I like the clarifications throughout the textbook (not just the first four chapters that I read thoroughly) that usually you could find in only an instructor’s textbook, in blue font, in contrast with what you can find in “Libro Libre”, directly addressed to the student, the reader of the textbook. This “glossary of explanations” do not overwhelm the student. It is written almost like in a casual way as if you would read a “Something for Dummies” book, although not comically. The pictures to illustrate/clarify the topics are very well chosen, often having a neutral but diverse tone. They have a “good taste” (they are all G-rated) and they also appear to be “up-to-date” (these are not old pictures). This could present a challenge when editing it in future years for accuracy though, if some text had to be changed to match any future picture changes.
This is perhaps the best part of this textbook. I like its organization and how it makes the student get ready for what they are going to cover, and then reflect on what they learned and what their goals are. It does this chapter after chapter, teaching the student a good habit to use to learn. I do not see a lack of organization on this textbook. However, in ten chapters I see that there is lots of material that depending on the school could be covered in one semester, two semesters, or more. The last chapter of the textbook though seems to present new grammar that is not realistic to learn in one chapter and should be material for a future textbook or level of Spanish (i.e = second year Spanish). I see that the present subjunctive is presented as “An introduction to the Subjunctive”, but still, one chapter for several very challenging tenses is too much. Maybe there should be two chapters added to this textbook.
The text is “average” in the way it presents grammar versus communicative activities. It does not seem to overwhelm the reader with grammar but it shows enough material so that students can begin working together with the language. Perhaps, the grammar pages should be colored (or have a different page presentation) differently so that they are easy to pinpoint when searching for something that we do not know exactly what is called but that we suspect that it is “there”. I see that I could choose fragments of the textbook and reference them at a later chapter, to review something that can help connect it to what is covered elsewhere in the chapter. However, I see that this would be something that I have to do manually, ahead of time, and especially once I am very acquainted with the pages on the textbook. See “Interface” in this review for a comment on how I “struggled” in finding information within the textbook for “expressions with tener”.
This textbook is organized in a very classical way of teaching Spanish first year, and it is usually the way that I prefer it. There are some publisher-made textbooks that are trying to prove that there is not a set order to teach a language, and although this is true, I prefer the order that I have been using for more than two decades. There is however one aspect of organization that bothers me in this textbook: at first I was very excited to see that the first page of every chapter had a “culture” section, and I thought that because it was at the beginning of the chapter that it had a prominent purpose on that chapter, but no. Every “cultural reading” I read does not seem to fit directly with the grammar or vocabulary covered, especially because they are just one page of factual information but they are not accompanied by some comprehension activities or referenced later in that chapter.
Search: I searched “tener expressions” and I could not find them within the search tool. Luckily, I searched then “expressions with tener” and there was a title with that exact wording, the index, showing me that they were in page 227. Then I entered “227” in the search tool but it did not send me to page 227, and I had to scroll (by means of the thumbnails on the navigator pane on the left) to that page manually. Once I was on that page, I saw that the expressions where there but that I had to go to the vocabulary list at the end of the chapter on page 235 to find out the meaning of those expressions. I think that every time that new vocabulary is introduced there should be some kind of mention on where to find their meaning (i.e. page number for the list of vocabulary) and then on that end of chapter vocabulary list there should be another mention on which activity or activities these new words are mostly used. Maybe some kind of hyperlinks from page to page? Images/Video/Audio: Images appear great and they all seem linked to public resources that hopefully will stay there forever, and the same goes for the YouTube audio/video links. Chapter sections: The “Culture” section is a bit confusing in that in the first chapters they clearly have a title, for example: “Las cabezas colosales”, but then those titles disappear, and the navigation online make it appear that a grammar section is part of the culture, with for example “Cultura: -AR verbs” whereas it should say “Cultura: Las fallas de Valencia”.
Generally, there are no many grammatical or spelling errors, but yes, there are some, occasionally. For example, at the time of giving this review, the word “Objectivos” is still misspelled. It should be “Objetivos” with no “-c-“, and this word is all over the textbook.
Regardless of the cultural sections that the textbook presents at the beginning of every chapter which I do not see that they connect with the chapter itself, the rest of “culturally relevant” material in the textbook does a great job of being inclusive and up to date.
Although I am aware that I gave a critical review of the textbook probably from a perspective of a publisher-made heavy textbook user, I see that the textbook has many good things to offer, and I see that is innovative (to me) in the way some activities appear. I imagine that the author has either taught at high school level before or got some ideas for the activities from other instructors who did. I like how some of the mechanics in the activities are explained to the student. For example, the bingo activity on page 62 “Bingo humano”: This “info-gap” activity is better than many that I see in publisher-made textbooks in that the potential answers are more unexpected as the student has to retrieve the information not just from two sources (“student 1 paper” versus “student 2 paper”) which many textbooks provide in their instructor resource packages but instead from the whole class. This activity is extremely participatory. An OER textbook has a great opportunity to become a better textbook because it can be more flexible in the way material can be improved, changed, added, removed, etc. Publishers are challenged at this as they depend on what their original authors want to do, and they are already happy with what they have since they are selling it anyway and making money without getting up. On the other hand the altruistic nature of OER hopefully will give current and future authors the tools to improve or at least adapt original OER textbooks, with proper attribution, for future generations. I like too that there is one section on this textbook that covers differences between the words “more”, “very”, and “much”. These are words that are challenging to learn in almost any language since they are used constantly and often incorrectly for learners of a new language. Last but no least I like too the “End-of Chapter ‘I-Can’ statements and goals” because it helps to give the student ownership on what they learn. That is, they worked for it, and it has become useful for them. This textbook is a mix of textbook/class manual but it still should be accompanied with some kind of “homework” that the instructor does not have to manually grade.
Covers standard grammar topics seen in other beginner textbooks. Table of Contents clearly shows where to find each topic, although the order of introduction is sometimes unusual (e.g., imperfect before preterit). It also seems that the order of... read more
Covers standard grammar topics seen in other beginner textbooks. Table of Contents clearly shows where to find each topic, although the order of introduction is sometimes unusual (e.g., imperfect before preterit). It also seems that the order of presentation could occasionally hinder natural conversation practice (e.g., introducing “las materias” on p.23, but not the verb “estudiar” until p.91). The book’s final chapter is jam-packed with quick introductions to more complex concepts (which usually overwhelms and discourages students; I’d save most topics from that last chapter to start them off “fresh” in intermediate classes). In terms of glossaries, the end-of-chapter vocabulary lists don't seem especially effective, with random words alphabetized in Spanish (rather than chunking them by topic), and there is no comprehensive glossary at the end of the book.
I ran across multiple spelling errors (likely just typos) in both English and Spanish, but I only spotted one that might actually hinder student comprehension (“pobrar" on p.153). General content seemed mostly accurate, with a few scattered errors such as Actividad 12 (p.293), asking student to provide English translations of sentences already in English. I didn’t observe any bias, and liked the efforts to be inclusive, although the “trendy” use of arroba (@) should be explained to students.
Content of cultural pieces and the random sampling of YouTube links I accessed seemed relevant and up-to-date, with very few items that will become quickly obsolete. However, the current relevance of the actual exercises is questionable, and could be improved by replacing some of the fill-in-the-blank activities (which seemed to be in the majority) with more communicative prompts and activities to focus on in-class oral proficiency. If vocab and mechanics (fill-in-the-blanks) are assigned as prep/homework, the class session can be mostly communicative, but the majority of the exercises I looked at seem to require more teacher guidance than could be expected for independent homework at the novice level. Although I liked many of the exercises, this general approach seems outdated to me.
Grammar explanations are fairly clear (although several of them could be more concise) but I found the overall contextual clarity of the book to be lacking. One immediate example is the choice of each chapter-opening page, the "Lecturas culturales," which are contextually unrelated to any material presented in that chapter and serve no clear purpose of “orientation” to upcoming material, and employ a level of language that is incomprehensible (and likely frustrating) to the beginning student. Is the goal to ask students to gist general ideas from any cognates they can figure out? This concept might work if the opening-page text included a few more cognates or relevant vocab words that students could find in the end-of-chapter glossaries, or if it featured a photo and/or topic related to chapter material. (Adequate context could also allow the opening topic to be bookended later in the chapter with a short reading and pre-/post-activities about that same topic, using some words/concepts that they’ve learned.) New vocabulary introductions also lack clarity: Chapter vocab is first introduced with no English equivalences, NO instructions, and limited pictures (e.g., p.311); assuming that students are supposed to write these equivalencies in themselves, they must scroll many pages down to find the end of the chapter (40 pages, in this case!), where vocab is presented in rambling lists alphabetized in Spanish. I don’t understand why these equivalencies aren’t presented along with the vocab, or at least organized into smaller, topic-related chunks to facilitate clear comprehension.
The framework seemed fairly consistent throughout the book, with repeated elements such as “I Can” statements, setting goals, personalized vocabulary lists, etc. However, I saw a frustrating amount of exercises that were not consistently scaffolded on previously presented material, centering on not-yet-learned terminology and structures. I’d be hesitant to assign these as homework (asking the novice student to figure them out on their own) or use these in class (having to waste class time answering questions about “extra” unfamiliar structures and terminology); novice students have enough material to cover as it is, so I'd prefer to stay consistent and focused on what they've learned so far.
The text would be easy to divide into sections that could be assigned at different points in the course.
The order of presentation often seemed illogical and would be confusing and exasperating to novice students, especially if they are trying to study at home without the instructor present to guide them and explain not-yet-learned terminology and structures. A few examples: (1) unfamiliar structures: using the preterit to ask questions (p.129), although they just learned basic present tense verbs a few pages before; also, ending the “¿Tiene suerte?” questionnaire (p.153) with “scores” using present perfect, commands, and subjunctive structures; (2) unfamiliar vocabulary: using “querer” repeatedly in questions on p.122, 123, though not introduced until p.146 ; food vocab not introduced before learning places that sell those foods (panadería, heladería, etc.); (3) not clarifying concepts: stem-changing verbs are also called “boot verbs” with no explanation, followed by a practice activity that refers to them as reflexive verbs; (4) an unclear intro to subjunctive: p.367 (with a photo of how “que” supposedly “quecks”(?) you into the subjunctive), followed by two open-ended subjunctive writing exercises that students would be unprepared for, followed by a more structured exercise with helpful sentence “lead-ins” (this exercise should have come first), followed by a new vocab list (scroll down 17 pages to find the English equivalences), followed by an exercise giving advice – which I thought might be an opportunity to revisit what they just learned about subjunctive, but instead they’re asked to use impersonal “Se debe…” (which they haven’t learned yet).
The text seems free of significant interface issues. Wish list: a clickable Table of Contents; the greenish-beige background and the font could be changed to improve legibility.
I didn’t catch any grammatical errors.
Covers a diverse range of topics, and I enjoyed the little “blurbs” (e.g., p.172 re: restaurant service), but the chapter-opener “Lecturas Culturales” are completely unconnected with overarching chapter themes and the texts presented in these are too advanced for beginner level (see Lecturas culturales, Caps.1-3; students at that point haven't even been introduced to basic present indicative verbs). Beyond adjusting these chapter-opener culture readings to a more novice level, enabling students to absorb the information, it would also be helpful to have relevant pre- and post-reading activities, discussion or writing topics, or some way to tie the cultural concepts presented into the rest of the chapter.
As other reviewers have noted, this book is a “labor of love” – it’s clear that a great amount of time and effort went into putting it together – and it could likely be adopted as a good OER alternative to expensive textbooks and adapted by an experienced instructor in an independent setting or perhaps a very small program. That said, this particular OER wouldn't be a good fit with our coordinated program, taught by an ever-changing pool of affiliate and tenured instructors in traditional, hybrid, and online formats that rely on the expensive “bells & whistles” of an online platform (auto-graded homework, tutorials, online exams, synchronous and asynchronous recording options, etc). Seeing this book was an interesting start, though, and it will be exciting to see where the journey of OERs for foreign language might lead us in the future. Heartfelt thanks go out to the author, editor, and team who clearly worked very hard on this book; your pioneering efforts are much appreciated!
I felt that the book actually covers MORE than what we usually cover in the first two semesters of our Spanish sequence. read more
I felt that the book actually covers MORE than what we usually cover in the first two semesters of our Spanish sequence.
The content was perfectly fine as far as I am concerned. I didn't notice any mistakes.
I didn't see a lot of culture that was "super trendy"--shouldn't become obsolete very soon. Very good.
I thought the book explained the grammar very well.
I'm not sure exactly what this question is referring to, but I didn't have any problems with "terminology and framework."
Yes, I felt that the chapters were adequately broken up into sections that are accessible and could be assigned in different sequences, depending on what an instructor wishes to emphasize first.
The text is very well organized. It flows well. It has writing activities and interactive-speaking activities that were done in a creative way. Actually, the text could have had more speaking activities. But I like how each chapter (a) opens with something cultural and (b) the readings are in the target language.
I had no trouble with this, and I'm not particularly good at computers.
I didn't notice any grammatical errors.
I didn't notice anything offensive in the book's cultural representations.
I really liked the book overall, and I'd seriously consider using it. But the one major weakness is that it (apparently) doesn't have online, interactive activities for students. Especially for professors who teach online classes, this might be a difficult book to use. The graphics and presentation are very nice--better than the book I'm using now, actually. Books have come a long way since I started teaching, when everything was in black and white! The text did a good job of integrating grammar with reading and writing activities. The embedded videos probably could use some improvement.
Libro Libre covers the essential topics and grammar typical for a beginning Spanish class. It also includes activities that can be filled out in the textbook, so there is no need for an exercise book. read more
Libro Libre covers the essential topics and grammar typical for a beginning Spanish class. It also includes activities that can be filled out in the textbook, so there is no need for an exercise book.
Minor spelling errors and inconsistencies. In Table of Contents, some topics are in English and some in Spanish, for example “Los adjetivos” and “Reflexive verbs”.
The content is up-to-date and culturally relevant.
The instructions and explanations are clear. The grammatical material is introduced in a simple way, and followed by numerous activities. This gives an instructor freedom to elaborate on the material using his/her own methods. However, the topics in Table of Contents can be confusing, for example in the section “Lectura cultural” one can find both “La Patagonia” and “-AR verbs”. The section on verbs should be in a grammar category, not in “Lectura cultural”.
Inconsistent listing of topics in Table of Contents - some are in Spanish, some in English. Grammatical and cultural topics are both listed in “Lectura cultural”.
The textbook is divided in chapters and sections. It is easy to use for both students and instructors.
Some of the important grammar sections are missing. The sections on direct and indirect object pronouns should be followed by a separate section on double object pronouns. Also, the preterite tense should be introduced before the imperfect, not vice versa.
The text is easy to navigate and accessible. It can also be printed if the access to the Internet is limited.
I have not detected any errors. There are minor mistakes and inaccuracies (mentioned above) that can be easily corrected.
The book is up-to-date, comprehensive, and culturally inclusive. It offers a diverse range of vocabulary and topics.
I strongly recommend this textbook, since it is comprehensive, easy to use, and free! An excellent alternative to the overpriced college textbooks.
The book is fairly comprehensive because it follows the standard path of teaching a foreign language. This is good though: students will have a good book that can certainly be used successfully for learning basics Spanish. read more
The book is fairly comprehensive because it follows the standard path of teaching a foreign language. This is good though: students will have a good book that can certainly be used successfully for learning basics Spanish.
The book is accurate; there is no typos, there is no awkward errors that always tend to make a bad impression on the reader. The book was carefully written and thoroughly edited.
The cultural content of the book is up-to-date; the information that authors bring to the reader is important and interesting; it helps the reader contextualize his/her language learning, helps come to understand the importance and relevance of learning Spanish in today's world.
The instructions of the textbook are clear; the language used is simple and straightforward. The authors do not use a difficult terminology - they tend to present the material in a clear and concise way; they certainly have their audience in mind and try to accommodate it without sacrificing the didactic value of the book.
The text is consistent; the cultural topics presented throughout the book logically flow from one another. It is easy to master the languages skills due to the abundance of activities. Even though some activities seems unnecessary or redundant, still there is a always choice, and the majority of them is very good from a didactic point of view.
The chapters sometime seem a little long; some chapters contain too much material but, on the other hand, it may be beneficial for more extensive homework, or self-directed studies.
The topics presented in the book are very typical: they are basically follow the bitten path of many other textbooks. I see this as an advantage as we look for a good substitute for printed and very expansive books that are on the market.
There is no significant interface issues, nor navigation problems, distortions. Nothing will confuse or destruct the reader from the main reason he/she uses the book - to acquire basic knowledge of Spanish.
What is important also is the text does not have any grammatical errors, and this speaks highly of its authors and editors.
The cultural component of this book is rich and versatile. It is very good that authors tried, and successfully achieved, to include so much cultural material into one book: in my experience, students learn the language better when there is a lot of interesting cultural facts.
It is an excellent book that can easily substitute the similar printed and expansive texts. In certain areas - the grammar, for example - the book is even superior to many printed textbooks.
This is mainly a grammar book. In that area it covers grammar points typical of a first year book. More complicated grammar points (subjunctive, etc) are covered in the last chapter as an introduction. I assume the expectation is that students... read more
This is mainly a grammar book. In that area it covers grammar points typical of a first year book. More complicated grammar points (subjunctive, etc) are covered in the last chapter as an introduction. I assume the expectation is that students will practice those concepts in later classes. Within the grammar focus, I think it could use more exercises given that there is no accompanying workbook. I would have liked to see more communicative exercises, that is exercises to do with partners instead of solo. There are partner exercises, but there are some solo exercises that could be more productive as partner exercises in order to push students to novice-mid or high in their oral proficiency, which is what a beginner book has to do. What the book is missing is non-grammar content (writing activities, project based learning), more culture, more stories, more theme-based lessons, more content-based learning. I believe some of that could be supplemented as needed.
The book seems to be error free, but I am not an expert on each of the cultural aspects covered. I will assume they are accurate. Regarding accuracy of the grammar explanations, they seem to be, however, some seem a bit long. I prefer shorter chunks. Regarding bias, like every text, it carries some bias. I did not see Spanish speaking cultures in the USA presented in the book. At my university most students are heritage language learners in the broad sense (culturally connected to the language through familial ties even if their proficiency is non measurable). For my students Spanish is not an exotic language for far away places. I prefer books that represent the Spanish speaking cultures of the USA, together with cultures in foreign places.
Since this is a grammar based book, the content can be regarded as up to date. The exercises, on the other hand, could be more up to date in the sense that many of them are not communicative but rote. While some rote exercises are indeed necessary, communicative exercises are what helps students grow their oral proficiency through oral practice. Regarding the cultural portions, I believe updates could be made when it came to the cultural portions, especially because they are very short and basic. I did appreciate the presentation of current issues such as the use of "Latinx" or the approaches to non gender binary issues.
The grammar explanations tend to be a bit on the long side. I would recommend shortening them. I would also try to avoid technical jargon where possible. Students can be easily overwhelmed when confronted with having to learn grammar in order to learn Spanish. The message such language can convey is that the course is a course about Spanish grammar, versus a course for speaking Spanish.
The chapter's structure does get repeated from chapter to chapter so in that sense it is consistent. The table of contents could be clearer in order to address that consistency. For example, the first part of the chapter presents a cultural reading but the table of contents does not mention the topic in all the chapters. Also, the marking of each chapter in the table of contents could be more obvious, maybe using color headings or a bigger subheading would help. There are some constant aspects that I really liked. I like the idea of setting goals at the beginning of each chapter. I also liked the can do statements on each chapter, as well as the vocabulary at the end that includes the personalized vocabulary. I love the idea of student selected vocabulary.
I wish the table of contents was clickable so I did not have to scroll through all the pages to get to a chapter. On the other hand the titles and subtitles were very helpful, as well as the numbering of the exercises. Perhaps there could be some use of color for grammar explanations, and some sort of symbols to mark rote(skills getting) vs communicative (skills using) exercises.
Since the book is not content or themed-based the only thing I can comment on is the grammar and vocabulary. There is always great debate as to what vocabulary or grammar points progression should be presented in first year books. I thought the progression was quite typical, though I usually like a section about colors right away so students can start building their oral skills putting nouns and adjectives together. I did not see such section in this book.
This seemed to be mostly a scrolling book. It would be great if it could be transformed to a more navigation friendly format with a clickable menu. Maybe an OER platform like SCALAR could improve the experience. The table of contents is not clickable. The blue links sometimes do not open the videos unless you disable pop ups. Once you know that you are good to go.
I found a few grammar and spelling mistakes, but for the most part it works.
The text is not culturally insensitive or offensive that I could see. Because of its lack of depth in cultural content, there are many cultural issues of the Spanish-speaking world that are not represented. Perhaps some groups could feel under represented.
I think this book shows a great effort in putting forward a product that could be used (with supplementation) in first year classes. I applaud the effort. I agree with the authors that perhaps giving up the bells and whistles that we get with the big publishers is a fair trade for our students not paying such high costs for books. At my institution we have a significant amount of students who are food insecure and housing insecure. It seems outrageous to assign books that are $200+ in order to get the pretty platforms and great resources. Still, I don't think there has to be a trade off. This book is an good start and with some work, it can become a book that, given its free access, is acceptable. I know no book is perfect, so the fact that this book can be edited and changed can be an advantage. I would not plan to make the switch right away. I would need to see how I can improve this book and supplement it before I would use it.
The textbook covers many of the basic structures needed in an introductory course in a simplified manner. The Glossary could be improved. read more
The textbook covers many of the basic structures needed in an introductory course in a simplified manner. The Glossary could be improved.
The book is fairly accurate aside from just a few mistakes or spelling errors.
The book is up to date and even includes some recent changes in terms of gender inclusiveness.
The explanations are in English in a way they can be easily understood by students. More examples could have been included.
It is overall consistent, although at times it may use vocabulary that has not previously been introduced.
The modules can be divided by the chapters or Capítulos shown on the table of contents. The modules appear somewhat arbitrarily without an overall theme to tie them together.
The table of contents serves as the best way to organize the various topics, and each chapter or capítulo follows a similar pattern, although it could have been done in a more aesthetically appealing fashion.
The text is free of significant interface issues, including navigation problems, distortion of images/charts, and any other display features that may distract or confuse the reader. The layout could be improved to aid its readability.
There were a few misspellings and grammatical mistakes found, but these can be easily pointed out by instructors and corrected.
The text is not culturally insensitive or offensive in any way. It makes use of examples that are inclusive of a variety of races, ethnicities, and backgrounds, although I would have liked to have seen more examples featuring Hispanics and content related to Mexico, our largest population group in the region.
This book covers most of the same topics that all beginning Spanish books cover. More discussion and explanation of pronunciation would be useful. read more
This book covers most of the same topics that all beginning Spanish books cover. More discussion and explanation of pronunciation would be useful.
The text seems to be accurate, albeit sometimes oversimplified. This happened with some of the more "complex" grammar topics, such as object pronouns, as well as with items of pronunciation.
The topics in this book are more or less the same topics that all beginning Spanish textbooks cover however the lack of input and meaningful communicative output is very dated.
For the most part this text is easy to understand and gives clear explanations of topics. However, there seems to be a preference for explanations in English, there could be much more Spanish used throughout the text, even in the explanations.
The book is consistent with itself however it is not very consistent with current trends in SLA research.
Over all the text is relatively easy to read and it is broken into chapters. However the combination of topics (both grammar and vocabulary) was not always very contextualized.
The topics are relatively logically, but, again, what I found to be lacking is the contextualization of topics. I also found the use of many different font sizes to be a bit distracting.
I had no problems with the interface although the pages seemed a bit small.
I found no glaring grammatical errors other than 'objetivos' (which has been mentioned in other reviews).
The inclusion of cultural topics starts off well but it seems to be lacking as the textbook progresses. The language and topics are inclusive, and it is certainly not offensive or insensitive, however I think that all topics could be more intertwined with cultural context.
I would consider using this text in a Beginning Spanish classroom however, I would certainly supplement this text with additional input (of all types) and more contextualized and meaningful activities.
The author has done a good job covering beginning level topics. An index would be very helpful. read more
The author has done a good job covering beginning level topics. An index would be very helpful.
The book is accurate. The links to the audio and video clips are fine. Truly a labor of love here.
Although there are references to celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Rafael Nadal, these are few and far between so that the book will not need any major updating. I appreciate the comments on more modern and politically correct ways of addressing/referring to racial differences and using appropriate pronouns with transgender or non-binary folks. If there was any mention about appropriate terms for indigenous people I missed it.
The book is written in clear and accessible language. The grammatical explanations are paired well with the graphics in such topics as the treatment of ser vs estar, telling time, the comparisons between reflexive and non-reflexive sentences, and the visuals that show how the demonstrative adjectives change in terms of how distant the speaker is from what he/she is pointing out. I liked the explanation of how to use two verbs in a row, often missing in texts that I have seen.
I do not care for the use of the '@' symbol to indicate variability according to gender in nouns, pronouns, and adjectives. This system is not used consistently throughout the text or in the vocabulary lists at the end of each chapter. Also, the explanation of the system appears somewhat after it has been employed so it could be confusing to students. The last chapter has many more topics than the preceding ones, and what is there seems to me more appropriate for an intermediate course.
In the author's statement at the the beginning of the book, she says that part of the motivation behind its creation was to create something to replace expensive books, even if they could be "bundled" to provide three-chapter packets per term in a quarterly system. This made me wonder how I would use the book in a semester system: perhaps the answer would be to cover three chapters per semester (the equivalent of the first three classes in the initial sequence at my university) and to eliminate the last chapter. I believe that I would be happy not to teach future, conditional, present perfect, and subjunctive all in that one chapter anyway.
I think that the topics are presented in a reasonable sequence, although looking at the Table of Contents it is not immediately clear what the themes are for some of chapters. The pre-chapter goals are more specific. It would be interesting to try teaching the imperfect past tense before the preterit past tense. My only comment is that my students are always relieved to get to the imperfect after all the irregular preterit verbs. I would be inclined to talk about cognates on day one, and might wait a bit on introducing the present progressive but that is just me.
The pagination is off by one page. If you go to print page 170, you will get page 169. Not sure about the variations in font size between the bulk of the text and the pre- and post-chapter goal materials, but I like concept of reflecting before and after each chapter. Also the spaces for the personalized vocabulary. I like the creative use of QR codes.
Of course, one never really knows until you teach the book! As noted in other reviews, the word 'objetivos' is misspelled in each chapter. There were a couple glitches in English between present and past tenses. I enjoyed the practice provided with the personal 'a', and with the pesky muy vs mucho vs más as these are often overlooked. In general, students are guided from simpler to more free-form, higher order thinking activities. I liked the quiz format (for example p135, 153) and am sure my students would as well. I liked the presentation on commands less.
I like the readings at the start of each chapter. The images in the book are good quality and portray a range of different Spanish speakers, Spanish- speaking locations, and realia. I liked that the author included links to read more about different topics.
This textbooks covers enough grammar and vocabulary to get you started. Although, they are not put in context. For instance, the vocabulary has to be learnt by memorizing a list of words at the end of each chapter. read more
This textbooks covers enough grammar and vocabulary to get you started. Although, they are not put in context. For instance, the vocabulary has to be learnt by memorizing a list of words at the end of each chapter.
It is quite accurate for an elementary level textbook.
It doesn’t need to be updated in a short period of time but because it works with traditional, cultural content.
the instructions are in English and, at times, quite simplified.
Yes, it is repetitive.
It is divided in chapters and topics and smaller sections.
Too many learning objectives by chapters
Repetitive and monotonous. It has been written by a single person and lacks the creativity and resources of other (extremely expensive) language textbooks.
Some misspelled words and weird expressions in English. There is some missing information in the table of contents.
It is politically correct. Informative and able to cover some basic curiosity about the Spanish speaking world.
It is a fairly good elementary level textbook to be modified by instructors according to their own students’ needs.
From the beginning, students encounter expressions and words they are not supposed to know. Then, there are no translations provided for the vocabulary and “otras expresiones” sections (and in most cases there are up to 3 pages of words to... read more
From the beginning, students encounter expressions and words they are not supposed to know. Then, there are no translations provided for the vocabulary and “otras expresiones” sections (and in most cases there are up to 3 pages of words to acquire). Instead, vocabulary is translated at the end of the chapter in alphabetical order in Spanish. It would have been more useful to introduce them at the beginning (and then at the end as well) with some examples and then guided practice- communicative exercises. Another important issue is that when introducing vocabulary or grammar there are several verbs and expressions that were not included in that section. For instance, when reviewing the vocabulary of classroom, there are 3 different structures: “hay” (there is/ there are), “compré” (bought) and “necesitar” (need). In the same fashion, when introducing “questions words” (what, who, how), the vocabulary comes from different units and, in some cases, it was not introduced before. It would be useful to, when learning vocabulary, use one verb or repeat a structure familiar to students. Lastly, audios attached to vocabulary and “otras expresiones’ are useful for pronunciation, especially if students are working on the their own. They can repeat them multiple times in order to familiarize themselves with the sounds.
The content of the book is accurate and it covers most of the topics (vocabulary and grammar) of a beginner’s book. It does not have errors or bias.
The content is up- to- date and it does not contain any reference that will lead to obsolesce in a short period of time. Consequently, the author was consistent in her goal of creating an open access book that do not require permanent updating of content. In contrast, most books latest editions include references to recent movies, songs or events which will need to be changed in the near future. Nonetheless some exercises appear outdated in pedagogical terms. For instance, when presenting the “stem changing verbs”, students are expected to conjugate different verbs. This type of approach of reviewing and recalling conjugation belongs to an outdated teaching method. Generally, students read the verbs already conjugated and then they use them in a guided practice with some context connected to the topic of the chapter.
Instructions of exercises are in English so in that aspect they are clear. Some exercises, however, say “do your best to communicate” (especially when dealing with issues that students are not supposed to know. Should they say the word in English, then?). Once again, the book would benefit from a clearer input on vocabulary and grammar.
Following on the previous section, the book introduces expressions and verbs that students do not necessarily know. For instance, when reviewing the vocabulary of classes, it presents ser/ tener (to be and to have) which has not been introduced before.
As the text presents several chapters and topics, it is divisible into smaller sections and students can do some exercises as homework or read the grammar or vocabulary before the class on their own. However, in most cases, it is necessary to add more input and examples in order to assign the exercises (maybe it can be useful to provide an explanation of the grammar before they go to the book).
This is the weakest feature of the book as the organization is not clear to me. The table of content mostly describes the grammar and vocabulary with some communicative objectives (i.e expressing possession). Then, each chapter introduces an excessive amount of learning objectives: most books only have 4 learning objectives in each chapter. I believe that this long list is a consequence of each chapter introducing several grammatical points and vocabulary that are not necessarily connected. For example, chapter 5 goes over food, professions, and nationalities. The last 3 chapters of the book exclusively focus on grammar without adding vocabulary. Lastly, most pre-chapter activities use the vocabulary and grammar students are learning on that specific unit. Students should be supposed to do the activities after the chapter, not before. One useful feature is the inclusion of the vocabulary list by the end of the chapter. It is a nice tool which allow students to keep track of new expressions and vocabulary they learn and they do not get lost on notes.
The book is on PDF and students can both download it to a computer or open it on a browser. Because it includes videos and audio, it may be best to use it while connected to the internet. The links work well and the images and texts are clear. Once again, the book is accessible to anyone with a computer and internet connection.
The text does not contain grammatical errors. However, by the end of each chapter, on a section to reflect on the learning outcomes called “a revisar los objetivos”. The word “objetivos” is repeatedly misspelled.
The text is culturally sensitive as it features several issues that matter to students in the classroom. When introducing adjectives and nouns, the book defines Spanish as “highly gendered language”, in the sense that there are several endings of words associated with masculine or feminine. Then, there is a note on the challenges on accountability of non- binary identities in Spanish. The explanation on the use the “’x” and the “e” to reflect different gender identities is extremely useful as it acknowledges both the presence of non- binary and queer people in our classes and the challenges that non-binary Spanish speakers face, when trying to use gender neutral language. Additionally, this book acknowledges the presence of a variety of Spanish speaking countries and regions, both when explaining pronunciation and in the short videos. These videos are helpful to familiarize, at an early stage of the learning process, with Spanish pronunciation and the differences in varieties and places. The only little problem with the cultural sections of the book is that, as a consequence of the unclear organization and lack of consistency of the book, ‘the short excerpts of “culture” at the beginning of each chapter contain too many unknown words for a beginner student, so it is a missing opportunity for learning culture.
The author has successfully created a book that covers most of the grammar and vocabulary in a beginner’s class. However, I would not use it to teach a 101 course. Instead, I would recommend it for a class of “false beginners” (each institution give a different name to this type of courses). In other words, I would use it with students who took a Spanish course in the past but do not feel confident enough to start a more advance course or need a strong revision of the main topics of elementary Spanish. Additionally, because of the lack of open access resources, the book is a great tool for those students who prefer to study by themselves.
The book serves as an introduction to Spanish in a comprehensive way, but more as a "survival spanish", with topics from presentations, to the body vocabulary, school, travel and food. It includes links to videos with grammar explanations... read more
The book serves as an introduction to Spanish in a comprehensive way, but more as a "survival spanish", with topics from presentations, to the body vocabulary, school, travel and food. It includes links to videos with grammar explanations available on youtube.
The book's is mostly accurate, but there are certain mistakes on commands in English for the explanations.
The book uses resources that are temporarily sensitive, but mostly is a general, introduction book, easy to implement and even available for self-study used.
There are explanations in English and Spanish for most of the exercises.
The terminology and framework is consistent, with easy bilingual explanations.
Modules consist of grammar and topic themes. The clarity of the modules and finding topics is a little bit difficult. This could be solved with a clearer table of contents and a divided scheme, that will be friendlier to the reader and allow the text to be more accessible. I think for highschool levels it would work. Not sure about college level.
The topics are presented in a logical way. It is a matter of organization and making the text more accessible.
The text is free of significant interface issues, including navigation problems, distortion of images/charts. I would change the font to make it more readable.
The text in Spanish contains no grammatical errors. In English the commands sound a little bit artificial, i.e. "elect a spokesperson of your group"
The text is not culturally insensitive or offensive in any way. It should make use of examples that are inclusive of a variety of races, ethnicities, and backgrounds.
A good tool for an introductory Spanish class.
Overall, the book moves from input to output far too quickly. Novice-level learners need much more engagement with meaningful comprehensible input. In that respect, it is not comprehensive enough (i.e., it doesn't "cover" enough input, so to... read more
Overall, the book moves from input to output far too quickly. Novice-level learners need much more engagement with meaningful comprehensible input. In that respect, it is not comprehensive enough (i.e., it doesn't "cover" enough input, so to speak). As for the index or table of contents, it is a little confusing. It is unclear what each chapter is about. Also, only the first two chapters include a title for the reading in the table of contents; the rest seem to be missing. As for the "glossary": words and expressions are organized alphabetically in Spanish rather than thematically (e.g., "days of the week"), or at least alphabetically in English, which would be more convenient for learners to find the word they might be looking for. For example, if a learner is trying to find how to say "Monday", they would not be able to easily find it in the glossary unless they went through all of the words listed. It also seems to be missing sections to help learners develop reading and writing skills. The "cultural readings" have no comprehension questions or pre-reading activities. All in all, for a language textbook meant for novice-level learners ("beginning Spanish"), it does not provide enough comprehension-based (input) activities, and it moves too quickly from one section to the next. Therefore, most instructors using this book would need to supplement it considerably.
This is a difficult category to assess in a textbook like this. The information provided about Spanish is for the most part accurate, although there are some grammar explanations that might possibly be misleading. As for it being unbiased, I would say that indeed it is. However, it is disappointing that the book presents the "vosotros" form throughout the book, which is only used in Spain, and it never even mentions the "vos" form, which is used in several Latin American countries. A few of the cultural artifacts (pictures, references) also appear to favor Spain, although it is somewhat subtle.
Again, this is a difficult category to assess in a textbook like this. It is unlikely that Spanish will evolve so drastically within a short period of time. The textbook does not include any references to current events, so in that sense, it should not become obsolete or need frequent updates. The reason why I rated it low in "relevance" is because the overall approach and the activities are very traditional, and in that respect, it is not "up-to-date" with what we know after over four decades of second language acquisition research. Tasks or activities that focus on meaningful communication (i.e., not meant to just “practice” the vocab or the grammar) are scarce. The majority of activities reflect the same practices that were common in textbooks from a few decades ago.
The authors have indeed tried to simplify grammatical explanations, but some technical jargon is still used. Surprisingly, metalinguistic terminology is used in the "objectives" at the end of each chapter, which make the learning objectives seem less meaningful and entirely focused on explicit grammar knowledge, such as "recall irregular preterite forms." Instructions are for the most part clear and easy to understand (especially since they are all in English). However, there is a section in each chapter with a list of words and expressions in Spanish with a blank next to each one, and it is not entirely clear what those blanks are supposed to be (e.g., are students supposed to write the translations?). With respect to the readings or other sections where students need to understand Spanish, the language is at times too advanced or complex for "beginning" level Spanish, and context or visual cues are not always provided to make it more comprehensible and accessible. This last point is perhaps the most important for a language textbook with respect to "clarity."
Once again, this is a difficult category to assess in a textbook like this. However, the formatting and overall sections do appear to be consistent. The traditional "presentation-practice-production" approach is also consistent throughout. The only sections that stand out in stark contrast with such a traditional approach are the “pre-chapter activities,” which seem to be more aligned with a communicative or task-based approach. Unfortunately, there is only one activity per chapter like that.
This is perhaps the most difficult category to assess in a textbook like this. Following the criteria provided in this form: the textbook does not present "enormous blocks of text", but at the same time, the text is self-referential and cannot be "easily reorganized and realigned without presenting disruption to the reader." That is true for most or all language textbooks. Since this book presents a lot of isolated mechanical practice, it is true that any instructor could select some activities and skip others without much disruption.
It is very difficult to understand the organization of this book or the reasoning behind the way it is organized. Each chapter appears to contain a wide array of topics seemingly disconnected from each other (e.g., food, professions, names of countries and nationalities are all presented in a single chapter). The organization of each chapter is also unclear. For instance, each chapter starts with a reading (in Spanish) that is not connected to the rest of the chapter in any way (e.g., chapter 10 starts with a reading of Garcia Marquez, but he is never mentioned again in that chapter and is not included in the learning objectives). Even the very first content page of the book, before students have been able to learn any words at all, is a reading in Spanish. Also, the “pre-chapter activity” is an interactive task that should be at the end of the chapter since it requires learners to use information they will learn later in that chapter. Lastly, it is unclear how the authors decided which grammar structures to include and why they chose to present them in the particular order in which they appear.
There is no distortion of images. However, I was unable to open any of the links. Navigation was OK but not entirely easy because there isn't an interactive table of contents. So, for example, if a student is completing an activity and wants to see the vocab list at the end of the chapter, they would have to keep scrolling until they locate it. Also, the PDF page numbers don't match the page numbers in the book: it is off by 1. For example, if I were to tell students to go to page "100", and they typed "100" in the PDF to navigate directly to it, it would take them to page 99 of the textbook. It is not a major concern, but something to keep in mind.
There are no major grammatical errors, but there is an error that appears in every chapter: "objectivos" should be "objetivos"
It is not culturally insensitive or offensive. It does include images that reflect people of different races. The integration of cultural information is much stronger in the beginning chapters than towards the second half of the book, where other than the "reading", there is little discussion about the target culture. I do appreciate that the authors attempted to include culturally-relevant references in the "language practice" activities so perhaps the instructor using this book will take that opportunity to help students learn more about them.
Something I found very telling was the preface on p. 2. It focused entirely on the issue of cost, rather than the issue of pedagogical quality of commercial textbooks. Overall, I would say this is a very traditional and grammar-focused textbook, which is what many commercial textbooks do as well. And so, if other educators are looking for traditional materials, then this book does offer the advantage of being free. I don't doubt that the authors dedicated a lot of time to create these materials. I just wish the organization had been clearer, and most of all, that the approach had been based on second language acquisition principles, focusing on communicative goals based on ACTFL proficiency guidelines.
Libro Libre is a comprehensive textbook. It covers most of the topics usually covered for a beginning Spanish class. Also, every chapter provides a vocabulary section with translations of new Spanish words. read more
Libro Libre is a comprehensive textbook. It covers most of the topics usually covered for a beginning Spanish class. Also, every chapter provides a vocabulary section with translations of new Spanish words.
It's pretty accurate.
The book is relevant and contemporary.
In general it does provide context and explanations for the contents introduce. Grammar points could have been elaborated in more detail.
It is consistent.
The textbook provides a good number of activities for each chapter. However, the purpose for each activity is not really clear. Other textbooks have clear sections for "practice", "communication", "writing", etc. This makes it easier for the instructor to choose/pick the activities for the class as not all of them can be done due to time constraints.
It is well-organized.
The book is available in PDF format which makes it easy to download. It does contain some links for mostly audio and some videos. The audio and videos (which are streamed from Youtube) are pretty basic. There is not a variety of colors in the book. The layout sometimes is hard to follow.
No grammar mistakes that could hinder students' learning.
Culture is presented in the beginning of each chapter. It does use information from different areas of the Spanish-speaking world.
I believe Libro Libre is a good open textbook. It can be adopted and adapted by experience instructors. Most Spanish language textbooks today have an online platform where students can find tutorials, cultural videos, interactive activities, oral recognition, and other activities. They also provide a website where students can do their homework, homework that it's graded automatically, which helps instructors to optimize time. Spanish textbooks today are expensive and Libro Libre offers an alternative.
Table of Contents
- Lectura cultural: La Patagonia
- Lectura cultural: Las cabeza colosales
- Lectura cultural: -AR verbs
- Lectura cultural: The Verb ir and Places
- Lectura cultural: Food
- Lectura cultural: Health and the Human Body
- Lectura cultural: Saber versus conocer
- Lectura cultural: Childhood and Adolescence
- Lectura cultural: Vacation
- Lectura cultural: The Present Perfect
About the Book
One of the most important things we can do to hold ourselves accountable for our learning is to engage in goal setting and metacognition—a fancy term for thinking about the way we think and learn. The goals we set should be specific and achievable. Something like “Speak Spanish” is too broad, we need to focus on the steps we need to take to get there and the signs that we will see as proof of our progress.
About the Contributors