Ventanas Mexico

Books and resources for life in Mexico

Provides a blog promoting living in Mexico and promotes books on learning Spanish and how to rent in Mexico.


The Interactive Guide to Learning Spanish Free Online

""If you are learning Spanish on your own — or plan to start in the near future — I would recommend buying this guide" -  review excerpt, Two Expats in Mexico website and blog

The best tools from over 300 language learning sites, with links organized into lesson plans

Ask anyone who has tackled learning a language and they will tell you that the learning tools that come up first in search engines and the ones that advertise the most are not the best ones. They will also tell you that no one tool is perfect.  You need several tools.

Yet here’s what most busy people do.  The idea comes up of learning Spanish. Maybe they’ve always dreamed of speaking a second language. Maybe their children are learning. Maybe they’re thinking of retiring to a Spanish-speaking country.

They go online, get frustrated in the research, and buy an expensive “comprehensive” program from the first two pages of Google. They use it a month or so, get bored and give up.

Many of the very best tools, often free, are buried by search engines. Amazing teaching features are sometimes even hard to find within web sites themselves.  

The sad fact is that the designers of many wonderful, effective tools are usually much better at teaching Spanish than they are at SEO (search engine optimization - that thing that makes even inferior websites and products reach the top two pages of your search results).  

The language learning websites that “big” language teaching sites don't want you find.

Spanish non-profits whose mission it is to promote the Spanish language, real schools and individual Spanish teachers who don’t have big marketing and SEO budgets but do create great free tools on their sites.

Buried in search engine results are teaching sites with free and well-done features including

  • Listening videos for understanding Spanish at different speeds

  • Narrated stories with click-on word look-up

  • Interesting travel blogs with parallel text

  • Interactive games and exercises

  • Effective grammar videos

  • Dozens of Skype tools to help you practice speaking as much as you want

  • Contemporary news stories chosen and adapted to teach Spanish

A YouTube video on the subjunctive may work better for you than a written explanation. Sometimes you feel like reading, other times listening to a podcast. With this book and the supporting web page, you can learn Spanish in dozens of different ways.

The Interactive Guide takes directly you via links to the best, most effective bits, based on research of over 300 sites. It cuts through the clutter and sales copy by linking you to the best features.

What’s more, it shows you how you can put together these features into a unique lesson plan every day. Dozens of sample lesson plans at every level are included to get you started. Study from your laptop or e-reader.

What I’ve found is that using different tools keeps you moving and motivated. The Interactive Guide takes you to unheralded sites and the passionate teachers behind them, sites that deserve your attention and consideration...if you could just find them!

Are you frustrated with how difficult it is even to find out what each program actually costs online?   The Interactive Guide gives you the cost of paid programs too, sparing you time and frustration.

Once you purchase the book, make sure to check my book support page, where I will include new resources I have uncovered that will be included in the next edition, updates and tips. 

Who this book is for:

People over 45 who have always wanted to learn Spanish;

People who are considering retiring to a Spanish-Speaking country some day;

People who want to conscientiously plan their mix of free and paid programs based on specific learning style, taste and budget;

People who like technology, but want to keep it simple;

People who are frustrated with digging though misleading labeling and pages of sales pitches to find out the cost;

People who want to read, speak, write and understand spoken Spanish on their choice of subjects;

People who always choose “assorted” chocolates.


Are you thinking of moving to a Spanish-speaking country either full- or part-time?

 When members of the website were asked, “What are the most common misconceptions about Mexico, here was a typical response

“In the 8 years since moving to Mexico from the US, I've met countless expats who assumed they'd "pick up" Spanish while living here, with a few months of local classes. It seems most people don't know that it takes a lot of time and effort (e.g. homework, practice) to learn another language.

When they realize this, many give up and never master more than the most basic Spanish. My advice would be to start even before you move here. Most of us know years in advance before taking the big step of moving to another country. Use this time to start learning and practicing”. - fdinolfo - San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

This is a comment you will see echoed on many expat sites and forums.  Spanish may only take months to speak, but it takes a few years to learn how to converse.

Isn’t that what you want to do if you live in another country?  Expats who cannot converse in Spanish pay more for things, socialize with natives less and don’t realize the most rewarding facets of expat life.

About the author: Kerry Baker

As an expat, I know how much being able to speak Spanish has enriched my life in Mexico and how hard it is to study from the same language tool week after week.

I use the Guide every time I want to create unique lesson plans tailored to that day’s language goals and mymood. By using its dozens of different tools,  I look forward to my sessions. Every day is different.

Variety keeps you motivated and you will find staying motivated is the biggest challenge to learning to converse in a new language. The book’s support page provides even more free resources that will keep your language journey fresh day after day.

I can be reached at or Skype: kerry.baker68