My Duolingo Experience
I started using Duolingo to learn Spanish last October. Back then, I knew 0 Spanish. In late December, I took a placement test at the university and I tested into the intermediate level, skipping 2 levels altogether!!! I'm taking intermediate Spanish now, but I am learning more from Duolingo. I currently feel that my Spanish is higher than my classmates'. I'm also reading short stories in Spanish and conversing with native speakers.
Thank you, Duolingo!
Children's ebooks in Spanish, from Amazon.com (admittedly most of them are NOT short stories but it's a place to start looking): http://www.amazon.com/b/ref=amb_link_359169122_28?ie=UTF8&node=5087583011
Sounds like a great test. If given an entirely written test I would score 100% higher than one including comprehension. For me, reading a Western language is the easiest component to language learning. It seems listening comprehension is usually the most challenging for most people. How often have I heard: I can read Spanish, but when someone talks to me I can't understand it?