Read All About It
Reading in Spanish is a great way to improve both your vocabulary and your grammar. As we read we gradually acquire new words. Researchers in reading estimate that we must hear and read a word, in context, about 20 times before we have completely acquired that word.
I recommend that you make reading in Spanish a part of your daily routine. Keep Spanish language magazines and newspapers at the breakfast table, on your nightstand and in the car for times when you have to wait. (Not at red lights!)
You do not have to understand every word or even every sentence to benefit from reading. In fact, if you read a novel written in Spanish, you can miss whole sentences and maybe even entire paragraphs and usually still follow the plot. Here are some reading strategies:
Scan the material first
Skim the selection to get the main idea
Read quickly, without looking up words
Read a second time, this time underlining some of the words you do not understand
Look up these words, or, not
Move on to another selection.
Here are some suggestions for reading:
This is the oldest Spanish language newspaper in the United States, founded in 1926. You will find articles on a wide range of topics, current events, sports, entertainment and politics. These articles are written in standard Spanish although classified ads may use slang or "Spanglish". You can read online, but I recommend picking up the Sunday edition, edición dominical, at a newstand so you have it to read in your car or take with you into a cafe.
This highly informative audio magazine is written by native speakers for high level beginners or intermediate students. Each issue features articles on food, culture, history, or social issues and comes with a CD so you can listen to the articles after you have read them.
Scholastic magazines come in three levels: ¿Qué tal? for beginners (IVC Spanish 1A, 1B or 1), Ahora, for advanced beginners, (IVC Spanish 2A, 2B or 2) and El sol, for intermediate students, (IVC Spanish 3, 4 or 10).
Although the content is geared toward the high school readers, these magazines are colorful and include articles on sports, fashion, entertainment, history, holidays and food and easy word games.
This site has hundreds of public domain books and stories from the Spanish speaking world. Search Literatura Infantil for well known children's stories or Leyendas Autóctonas for indigenous legends. The level is for advanced students of Spanish (IVC Spanish 4).
Leer en español
This is a series of easy, adapted novels published by Santillana Publishing Company. Levels 1 and 2 are appropriate for Spanish 2 students, while Levels 3 and 4 work well for Spanish 3 students and Levels 5 and 6 for Spanish 4 students. Level 1 titles include: Una mano en la arena, La sombra de un fotógrafo, El misterio de la llave, El sueño de Otto and Adiós papá. Level 2 titles include: De viaje, La chica de los zapatos verdes, El hombre del bar, Asesinato en el Barrio Gótico, El libro secreto de Daniel Torres and La ciudad de los dioses.