I have taught Spanish to children as young as 3 and to adults well past retirement. I certainly use different materials and approaches based on their ages, but when it comes to beginners, there are a few things I believe work for all age groups. So, adults too should use materials for children to learn Spanish.
1. Children’s books
Children’s books are an excellent resource for anyone who is in the beginning stages of learning Spanish. The words are simple, the sentence structure is basic and there are pictures to help you gather context – what more could you ask for? Reading children’s books aloud helps you work on your pronunciation. It also helps you develop your ability to gather information from the surroundings and make educated guesses for words and phrases that you do not understand. Looking at the words as you read them will force you to think about the spelling and the sounds of each letter, which is very important during the early stages of learning a language.
Reading books you already know in English can be helpful as you will already know the story, so it allows you to focus more on the vocabulary, but don’t allow yourself to only read books you already know. Branch out a bit.
2. Children’s CDs
Children’s songs are incredibly repetitive, annoying and painfully simple. I know that doesn’t sound like a great sales pitch, but think about it- how many times have you heard a song from Barney or Sesame Street and had it stuck in your head for days? That is exactly the point. The songs are easy to learn and the tune helps you remember the pronunciation of the words much easier than basic speech. You will be singing the songs until you want to scream but you will get the content memorized without any trouble.
I will likely regret this, but here is a video of me singing a song about the days of the week (turn up your volume, it is really quiet for some reason):
3. Movies and TV Shows with Spanish Subtitles
I could have put kids movies and shows, which I do highly recommend, but I don’t think you have to limit it to just children’s movies. If you are dying to get into the adult world in Spanish and want to learn some new vocabulary, pick a movie or show you have watched a hundred times and find it dubbed in Spanish or just turn on the Spanish subtitles and force yourself to read them. Since you already know what is going on, you will be able to focus more on the vocabulary and verb usage. Just be careful though, there are a LOT of bad subtitles out there.
Check out these other articles about How to Speak Spanish.