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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Spanish for Young Readers
Guest post by Barbara Mascareno-Shaw

I am pleased to have Barbara Mascareno-Shaw visiting Cookie’s Book Club today. I’ve asked her to tell us about a few books for young Spanish learners.

“What’s in a Bilingual Book?”

Is it possible to find just one book that can help all bilingual readers or beginners in Spanish? Could there be books that can give young readers an easy access to new Spanish words?

A Spanish bilingual young reader is one that is learning how to read, write, and eventually speak Spanish. Usually when young readers are starting to learn to read, they start to sound out words and syllables. This is helpful in letter recognition and phonemic awareness.

For a bilingual young reader, it is even more important to distinguish between the vocal sounds in English and Spanish. In this way, books that have easy to read fonts and pictures are essential for young bilingual readers. 

One particular series of books is Tupi by Merce Aranega

Here, the author establishes the relation between Spanish words with the pictures in the book. It links the notion of the visual understanding between the words and words in context by using different pictures. The young or beginner reader must sound out the picture word in the sentence to continue reading. This book series incorporates basic daily tasks such as bathing, playing music, fieldtrips to parks and farms, and storytelling and uses easy to recognize pictures to complete the sentence in the story.

Another good example of easy to understand bilingual books is the Wordbook (Libros de Palabras) series by Mary Berendes

The author also uses pictures as a visual tool to build a relation between words and meaning. In this case, the words are not just stand-alone concepts as in a dictionary but are part of a complete scenario. For instance, in learning about seasons, winter could be portrayed as a winter wonderland with ice-skating, snow, snowmen, cold weather, and many more examples of winter. The best part of this series is that the reader can build the story as they pronounce the words in the picture since the words are all related to that topic in that specific scenario.

In learning Spanish, there are many different bilingual tools but it’s always fun to build vocabulary with easy to read picture books.

Barbara Mascareno-Shaw has a dual degree in Biochemistry and Chemistry and has taught K-12 children under the No-Child-Left-Behind program. The students in this program are struggling in school and are about to repeat a grade unless there’s parent/teacher intervention. Barbara is a native Spanish speaker from Argentina that’s lived in the United States most of her life. She believes in promoting reading skills at any age level whether bilingual or not. She encourages her daughter, Savanna, to learn Spanish through books, songs, projects, and of course Science lessons. Barbara currently lives in Las Vegas, NV with her wonderful husband and daughter Savanna. She also is a Science, Math, and Spanish tutor. You can learn more about her by visiting her at her blog, Spanish4Kiddos - The Spanish Science Corner. You can also follow her on Twitter and visit her Facebook page.

Thanks Barbara! These look great. I think I'll pick up a couple of them as Christmas gifts for my four-year-old. (He loves Dora and Diego and wants me to send him to a Spanish school!) 


Unknown said...

Thank you (gracias) for inviting me to be your guest here today at Cookie's Book Club. I love visiting your blog and the great book reviews you present. I'm glad to hear that your son wants to learn Spanish someday. It's never too early or late to learn another language. It has many wonderful benefits.
Take care,

Cookie’s Mom said...

You're welcome (de nada)! Thanks for being my guest, Barbara, and thank-you for your kind words!

I took French immersion for years, and we speak a little French at home, but I've always wanted to learn Spanish. Jack and I have made a commitment to learn Spanish together. I agree wholeheartedly, learning languages is highly beneficial!

Anonymous said...

Great ideas, as always! This gives me a couple of Christmas gift ideas ;)

Crazy Life of a Writing Mom said...

These books sound amazing! I've never heard of something like this--so cool :)

Unknown said...

@Cookie's Mom, maybe we should trade language lessons: Spanish for French and vice versa.

@Spilled Milkshake, it's never too late to start Christmas shopping :)

@Elisabeth, glad you like the book selections.

Brenda@MyParentingCoach.com said...

I loved having a bilingual parent read a book that came in both languages to my class. These books would have made that easier! Thanks for sharing:)

Erin said...

Awesome idea! Will check these out. New follower from Weekend Blog Hop. I hope that you can follow me too at www.indianacouponsavings.com

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