We have had some great questions from parents on how to support our budding Spanish readers. Here are a few ideas we have gathered to pass along. Please feel free to post a comment if you have something to share.
Use your local library. Our local libraries have a great selection of children’s books in Spanish. Your child may enjoy reading familiar books, such as those written by Eric Carle or Dr. Seuss, but in Spanish. The familiar title and content will make them more comfortable tackling it in a new language. Even the older kids will enjoy going back to those early readers for the rhythm and repetition in the stories. Practice reading out loud together. If you are not a Spanish reader, that’s OK. Learn it together and soon the kids will be teaching you (another great way for them to learn).
Listen to music. There is a wide variety of music available for check-out at the library. Pandora or other online music stations have seemingly endless music in Spanish. Listening and even singing along to music will help with accent, pronunciation, and word recognition.
Enjoy movie night. Watch your favorite children’s movie, but in Spanish! Change the audio to Spanish and turn on the English subtitles; pop some popcorn and gather for a new twist on an old favorite. Maestra Mercedes even recommends simply turning on the Spanish subtitles to the English showing. Expand on movie night and make it “dinner and movie” night – and prepare Mexican our Spanish cuisine together. We have one family that always has Mexican food for dinner beforehand and calls it Mexican Movie Night!
Step back in time. Sesame Street episodes in Spanish are available for free on iTunes. Search “Aprende con Sesamo” and you’ll find about 4 hours of programming
Ask Questions. Ask your kids to give you more detail on the information provided in Tuesday folders. If your first grader is learning words beginning with the letter “D” this week, ask them to tell you a few. Get out the Spanish-English dictionary and look up a few more words together. Practice writing the words and drawing pictures together. Getting the children to teach you will really help their comprehension.
Read! Reading comprehension is a skill that needs practice. Reading in English will help our kid’s reading comprehension in BOTH languages.