Spanish Uncovered Overview
Have you ever been flipping through a stack of flashcards, trying your best to remember a vocabulary word, when suddenly you think, “There has to be an easier way to do this!”? I know I have! As a language learner with a short attention span, I am always trying to find new and more efficient ways to learn my target language. Specifically, I’m looking for something fun that will not leave me snoring.
One way that works well for me is reading stories or articles in my chosen language. Unfortunately, I have to spend a lot of time searching for material that is within my fluency level but still challenging enough to help me learn. After years of struggling, you can imagine how excited I was to find Spanish Uncovered, a language-learning program that focuses on learning through stories!
Spanish Uncovered is unique in a number of ways, but the most standout feature for me is that it is a truly in-depth program that is also fun. ”What’s that?” You ask, “A comprehensive language program that is fun?" It’s true. Don’t believe me? Keep reading to learn all the details.
Likes And Dislikes
As always, I like to start with a quick list of pros and cons, just to give you an idea of what to expect:
Spanish Uncovered pricing:
There are six course levels offered for $297 each:
Advanced (Releasing Fall 2023)
Mastery (Releasing Fall 2023)
They also offer two bundle options: the
Spanish Gold Bundle ($997)
Spanish Platinum Bundle ($1,997)
The Gold bundle includes all of the available courses and five extra learning resources:
You can find detailed descriptions of these resources in the “Extras” section of this article.
The Platinum bundle includes everything in the Gold bundle, plus:
As you’ve already guessed, Spanish Uncovered is a Spanish course. What you might not realize is that this program offers both Iberian and Latin American Spanish!
The Uncovered series is also available in 14 other languages. If you like the style of this program, you can try it out in Italian, German, Russian, and more. Some of the languages are only available in Beginner Level, but the program is constantly expanding so keep an eye out for new additions!
The Man Behind The Story
Just in case you are truly new to the language learning scene and haven’t yet encountered Olly Richards, I thought I would provide a quick introduction.
Olly Richards is a well-known polyglot who has been sharing language-learning tips and tricks with his online followers for years.
He has published multiple books, written a couple of successful blogs, and maintains a YouTube channel with over 300,000 subscribers. He has been studying languages for over 20 years and is passionate about sharing his knowledge with others.
This knowledge, and passion for teaching, led Olly to create the Uncovered courses. He is one of the main instructors in the program and his name will come up a lot in this article, so I thought it was worth taking the time to introduce him.
Okay, with all of that out of the way, let's begin!
Spanish Uncovered Signing Up
Getting started is pretty simple as long as you don’t get too caught up in the introductory information.
Each Uncovered course has an introductory page that is a mile long. This page includes everything you might want to know about how this program came into existence and how great the program is. To be honest, unless you truly want to know the whole history of the company, you can simply click the “Start My 7 Day Free Trial Now!” button and skip all that extra stuff.
All you’ll need to sign up is your name, email address, and payment information. As the button implies, the program is free for the first 7 days, but you will have to provide a form of payment when you sign up. If, in those 7 days, you decide that this program is not for you, you simply have to email them and they will cancel your purchase.
Once you provide your information, you’ll be taken to a page that offers you a discount if you want to purchase an additional course. No pressure though, you can easily skip it. Only to be faced with another offer. After you skip that offer, you can finally confirm your order.
You’ll then receive three emails. The most important one will have the subject “Redeem your copy of Spanish Uncovered”. Mine went to my junk folder, so be sure to check there if you don’t see it in your inbox within a few minutes.
The other two emails are a basic welcome message and a link to some free learning resources that are included with your purchase. These are the same five free items that are included in the Gold and Platinum Bundles. I’ll provide more details about these resources later in the “Extras” section of this article.
The Introduction: Getting Started
Once you get through the emails and ads, you can finally get started learning!
This program does not have an app, so you will have to use your internet browser. The mobile version is mostly well-designed, so you can complete the course on your smartphone without too much trouble. Just make sure you save the address to your favorites so you don’t have to look through your email for the link every time you want to study.
Once you are signed in, you’ll be taken to the home screen which gives you a clear picture of the course curriculum. To start, you’ll have to complete the ‘Introduction & Setting Yourself Up For Success” section. To be honest, this program is fairly intuitive, so 11 modules about how the program works seemed a bit excessive to me. That being said, this section does ensure that you will fully understand what you’re getting into before you even reach the first lesson.
Each course level is split into ten sections, or “chapters”. Each section has approximately eleven modules. Each module focuses on a different aspect of the chapter including vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, culture, and speaking activities.
Most of the modules are fairly short, allowing you to learn and practice in small segments. This is a great format because this program provides a lot of material and could easily be overwhelming if you tried to take in too much at once.
Each section includes some reading lessons, some listening, and even a few video lessons. This variety helped to keep me engaged. Even on days when I didn’t feel like practicing my Spanish, I could at least watch a lesson and feel good about continuing my learning journey.
Let’s take a more detailed look at the modules:
Module 1: Chapter Syllabus
The first module in each section is a chapter syllabus. This is pretty self-explanatory, but don’t skip it. The syllabus will give you a quick look into what you can expect to learn in this chapter so you know what to focus on.
Module 2: Listen & Read
The second module in each section is called “Listen & Read”. You can probably guess what this entails, but allow me to explain in a bit more detail.
The idea is to listen to the audiobook and read the text in Spanish so you can begin to familiarize yourself with the sounds and the look of the Spanish language. The entire chapter is in Spanish, but don’t be intimidated. This is part of the fun.
This module is broken down into three activities:
Your first activity will be to listen to the chapter, just to see how much of it you can already understand. If that’s only a couple of words (or even zero words), don’t worry. It’s fast-paced and meant to give you an idea of what Spanish sounds like when spoken by a native speaker.
Activity 2 gives you the text so you can read and listen at the same time. Again, it’s all in Spanish. As Olly explains in the lesson, this is to help you gain familiarity with your new language.
You’ll be encouraged to listen to and read through the story several times. The more you engage with the material, the more you’ll get from it later on. Do not allow yourself to get too caught up trying to translate it, you will find the translation in the next module. Just spend this time embracing the new sounds.
When you’re ready, you can move on to Activity 3 which is a small homework assignment to look for cognates within the story.
Modules 3-8: Lessons
These modules are the actual lessons for each section. The lessons are typically in this order:
The lessons include a few videos, lots of reading material, and a few practice activities. The practice activities are pretty standard such as matching games or multiple-choice questions. The activities are somewhat rudimentary but still effective.
Side Note: Every time I finished an activity it came up with an option to download the app, but I could never get it to open. Perhaps they are developing an app? I’m not sure, I’ll check back later for that. For now, the widget in the browser works just fine for these simple activities.
The only lesson that is a bit different is the Speaking Activities lesson. This isn’t so much a lesson as it is an activity or at least suggestions for an activity. In this module, you will find downloadable PDFs with speaking practice ideas that you can do alone or with an instructor.
I thought this was a somewhat creative way to get around the age-old problem of how to include speaking practice in an at-home language program. We all know that the best way to learn a new language is to speak it and these printouts will at least give you a few ideas of what to say.
Take your time going through each lesson because there is a lot of material here. Every video and reading section has something important to offer, so don’t skip anything. If you feel overwhelmed by all the information, take a break and come back to it, never skip forward.
Module 9: Chapter Review
This module gives you the opportunity to listen to the story again and take a short multiple-choice quiz to check your comprehension level. If you went through each module carefully, I think you will be pleasantly surprised by how different the story sounds to you this time compared to how it sounded the first time you gave it a listen.
Module 10: Chapter Review Quiz
This is another obvious one, the review quiz. This is just a slightly longer quiz to see if you have mastered the material.
Module 11: Check In With A Progress Report
This module felt a bit silly to me. This one is just a reminder that you can use the Spanish Uncovered “Private Community” to chat with other language learners and instructors about your experience. You’ll also be reminded that you can leave a testimonial on the Spanish Uncovered website if you’re so inclined.
Additional Course Resources
Every module includes downloadable and printable content. You can download the chapter texts, the audio files, and plenty of activity pages. You will find a compiled list of these materials at the bottom of the Course Curriculum page.
In this section, you’ll be able to download the entire audiobook in one file as well as a PDF of the entire text. You’ll also find some additional speaking activities and a few other little extras such as tips for finding a speaking partner.
Spanish Uncovered Extras
As far as I can find, every Uncovered purchase comes with five additional learning resources:
The Speed Learning Secrets Workshop:
This is a recording of an online class that Olly gave concerning productivity in your language learning journey. He talks about how to stay on task and make the most of your time while still enjoying the process of learning a new language.
The Lost Chapter:
This is a PDF of a Spanish story written by Olly Richards. It’s a fun short story that is split into three chapters. Each chapter comes with a list of vocabulary words with translations as well as a short list of multiple-choice questions to help you gauge your comprehension.
Make Words Stick ebook
This is a 37-page PDF ebook by Olly Richards. It contains many tips and tricks for language learning including his most effective methods for “making words stick” in your memory.
Fluency Magic: Video Masterclass
This has quite a grandiose name for what it is. This is a 30-minute video of Olly and another polyglot named Alex discussing their methods for improving your reading level in your target language. Some of it was useful, but I wouldn’t call it a masterclass.
The Golden 100 Accelerator Checklist
This is a 10-page PDF containing a list of Olly’s top 100 Spanish words that you should know to kickstart your Spanish-speaking journey. There are all kinds of these lists online, so I wasn’t too impressed that they hyped this up as a $97 value. It is a good list, but I’m definitely glad it was free.
Like every language program out there, Spanish Uncovered has its drawbacks. For me, the biggest drawback is the price.
Don’t get me wrong, this is a good program. It covers nearly everything you need to become fluent in Spanish, but $300 a course just isn’t feasible for a lot of at-home learners.
The lack of built-in speaking practice is also an issue. I do agree that the best way to practice is to speak to a native speaker, but that isn’t always an option. The addition of a peer review system, (such as that used on Busuu, where you record yourself speaking and native speakers give you feedback) would be an improvement on the written instructions for speaking activities.
The lack of a proper app is also a letdown for me. Although the browser version did work on mobile, it was a little cumbersome. In this day and age, it just seems odd not to have an app.
Lastly, the commercialism of this program is over the top. From all of Olly’s videos, you would think he was just doing this to benefit his fellow language learners around the world. From his website, you would think it was an “As Seen On TV” product. I appreciate that this is a business, but all the upselling and advertising can be a big turnoff for some of us.
There aren’t too many programs quite like this one, but thankfully Spanish is such a popular language that there are lots of alternatives as long as you don’t mind going for something a little different.
Rocket Spanish is probably the closest alternative to Spanish Uncovered. Rocket Spanish has a structured lesson plan and offers lessons from beginner to advanced.
Although they don’t use stories for teaching, they do offer a lot of quality material and fun practice activities.
Busuu is a fun option for those who enjoy gamified learning, but still want more in-depth lessons. Not only does this app offer quick, engaging practice activities, but they also have that peer review system that I mentioned in the previous section.
They also offer online tutoring with native speakers.
italki is a favorite of mine. This website gives you access to thousands of native speakers who are happy to help you practice your target language.
You can choose from professional teachers or just regular people who are happy to have a chat.
Other People That Love Spanish Uncovered
Spanish Uncovered Review: Final Thoughts
My final thoughts on this program are simple: if you can afford it, try it. Olly has put a lot of thought into this program and it shows. No matter what level of Spanish you’re at, I think you could benefit from the in-depth lessons you will find in Spanish Uncovered. From the reading material to the personal videos, and, of course, the core story, this program offers a perspective on language learning that you are unlikely to find anywhere else.
Do not be discouraged if the price tag is a little out of range for you. You can still benefit from Olly’s knowledge through his YouTube videos, blogs, and books. If Olly’s style isn’t quite for you, there are always loads of other options out there. The important thing is to find what works for you so that you can enjoy the journey. As always, happy learning!