Sonrisas Spanish Blog

Reading/Children’s Spanish Literature

spanish story bookSpanish is the official language of 21 countries around the world, making it one of the most practical foreign languages for your child to learn. Despite the benefits of learning Spanish as a second language, it can be difficult to actually engage your child and help them learn directly.

This is why we’ve collected a few helpful tricks that can make teaching your child more fun and a little bit more covert! Here’s how you can get started.

Watch Spanish Cartoons
Cartoons that focus on Spanish-speaking characters or even incorporate small bits of Spanish like “Dora the Explorer” are excellent ways to supplement your child’s preschool Spanish curriculum lessons. These cartoons are often fun, colorful, and interactive for children, encouraging them to participate and learn new phrases in a different language. Audiovisual media is a fun, engaging way for children to learn a new language, and you can incorporate it at any time during the day.

Make Learning a Game
Learning anything in a classroom setting can quickly tire your child mentally. Instead of sitting down and looking through flashcards, try to engage your child with a fun language-learning game. It also helps if you offer a reward like a snack or a treat when the game is finished. If your child can associate learning a new language with fun and games, it will ultimately be much easier for you and for them in the long run to learn the language.

Invest in Spanish Story Books
Everyone loves a good bedtime story, and what better way to help your child learn Spanish than by reading to them in that language? As your child gets older, they can transition into reading the books with your help. If you’re not ready for full on Spanish story books, try Spanish story book sets that have an English version to accompany them. Some books even incorporate side-by-side learning.

Learning a new language can be a challenge for both you and your child. Finding ways to make it fun is just one of the many things you can do to create a positive learning environment for you and your child.

spanish storybook setWith the advancements in technology and travel within the past few decades, more and more Americans are traveling to different foreign countries. Because of this, the world is becoming more connected than ever before.

Learning a language — especially at a young age — brings many benefits to a young learner that will impact them for the rest of their lives. Here are the top four reasons you should introduce your child to a foreign language as soon as you can.

Improved Linguistics Skills

Children are sponges, and easily absorb everything in their environment. This is especially true with languages. If children are exposed at a young age, they will learn much easier and have an increased fluency than if they learned later in life. Children as young as three years old are developmentally mature enough to acquire a foreign language fairly easily, rapidly, and without accent. Plus, a child who speaks a second language will be able to learn a third language faster!

Cognitive Benefits

A few cognitive benefits that come with learning a second language include:

  1. Better problem solving skills
  2. Increased critical thinking skills
  3. Increased creativity
  4. Increased memory
  5. The ability to better multi-task

High Academic Performance

Bilingual students across the nation have repeatedly scored higher on standardized test scores, along with math and science. Considering the fact that language and science utilize both sides of the brain, a foreign language will enhance your child’s mental flexibility.

Well Rounded

Every parent wants their child to be well rounded, and nothing will help them become more culturally enriched than learning another language. Becoming fluent in a language will be able to open doors both socially and provide a level of competition in the workforce as they grow older.

If you are thinking about having your child learn a foreign language, consider enrolling them in preschool Spanish curriculum lessons. This curriculum includes utilizing Spanish storybook sets, which can help your child learn in a way that they can understand from a young age. Spanish is one of the most spoken languages in the entire world, and the benefits your child will receive from this language are endless.

Looking to start your child off slowly into the world of foreign languages? Contact Sonrisas Spanish School to get your Spanish storybook sets today.

spanish story booksStarting a homeschool Spanish curriculum for kids is one of the best advantages you can give a young child. At a practical level, it’s been proven that bilingual employees earn, on average, 20% more per hour than monolingual employees. Aside from that, Spanish is the official language of 21 countries worldwide, so if you think there’s a chance they’re ever going to want to travel the world knowing some Spanish will be in their best interest.

Even if you don’t homeschool your child, helping them learn the language after school is a great idea considering most school districts in the United States don’t provide the opportunity for an elementary Spanish curriculum. One of the best ways to get children started is through Spanish story books. As is the case with any language it’s often better to teach through this more interactive way than simply giving them flash cards to memorize.

The earlier you introduce your child to a foreign language the better; it seems that before the age of 10 is ideal, or even before the age of five, if possible. Reading them Spanish story books is the perfect way to begin their bilingual journey. Here are three great options to get you started.

  1. Amigos: Amigos is a playful Spanish story book that helps kids learn about shapes, colors, sizes, and even to appreciate diversity in others. That’s something everyone in the family can benefit from in today’s day and age.
  2. Cali y Mona: Inspired by a true story that the author, Pepe Valle, once read about in a newspaper, Cali y Mona follows a heartwarming story about a blind girl and her guiding pony. The book is written in Spanish and Braille, providing you the added bonus of teaching your child about one of the world’s most common physical disabilities.
  3. Juegos Tradicionales: Not all Spanish story books have to be about morals and such. Juegos Tradicionales is not so much a story, but rather a collection of 34 of the most popular games played by children in Latin America. Learning about a society’s culture is one of the best ways to truly understand it and the games they play can be something every child can relate to and will probably be interested in.

What books would you recommend? Let us know in the comments.

Here at Sonrisas Spanish we are big fans of good books, and by “good books” we mean books that are effective at teaching Spanish to children. Quiero a los Animales, by Flora McDonnell, is a good book. It includes two important elements of an effective teaching book: illustrations that convey the meaning of the text and clear, thematic vocabulary that allows for multiple teaching opportunities.

Quiero a los animales has huge, gorgeous illustrations. The sheer size of each one, covering both the left and right-hand pages of the book, engages children’s imagination and draws them into the story. The illustrations are not only beautiful, but they are also effective teaching tools because they explicitly convey the meaning of the text on each page and enable multiple teaching opportunities. Take this page for example:

There is a simplicity to the illustrations that at the same time captures a vibrancy and vivaciousness of the animals that are portrayed. Part of this feeling comes from the expressions on the animals’ faces.

The vocabulary in Quiero a los animales is focused around the theme of animals, me gusta, and me encanta. Either of these themes is an obvious choice to teach using this book, but each page contains multiple teaching opportunities. After reading the this page to students, a teacher can draw students into the story and work with multiple language chunks such as:

—     Me gusta la cabra. ¿Te gusta la cabra a ti?

—     Mira la cara de la cabra. ¿Cómo está la cabra?

—     Mira el pelo de la cabra. ¿De qué color es? (los cuernos, los ojos, la nariz, etc.)

—     ¿La cabra camina, o la cabra corre?

—     Mira la correa de la cabra. ¿Está rota?

It is this combination of great illustrations, simplicity of text, and depth of teaching opportunities that makes Quiero a los animales so wonderful. I would highly recommend it if you are in need of a good book. Quiero a los animales is now available in the Sonrisas Bookstore.

We have written a lot about reading children’s Spanish literature, but the subject bears repeating. Spanish literature has always been a central component of the Sonrisas Curriculum. Just as many children learn a lot about their first language through reading, so too can your students learn a lot about their second language through reading. The power of reading Spanish to your students lies in the ability of a story to deeply connect students to the content of a lesson by engaging their imaginations in an authentic Spanish experience. Children love being read to; they easily enter into the realm of imagination through stories. When their imaginations are engaged, their minds are open for language acquisition at a deep level. They are not only acquiring the language through the comprehensible input in the story, but they are also connecting to the language on an emotional level. They develop an innate “feel” for the language without any conscious effort. When the content of a story reinforces the content of a lesson, then students are given the opportunity to connect to that content at this deep level. This is the power of reading Spanish to your students. It should never be underestimated.

Sonrisas Spanish School creates, publishes, and sells preschool and elementary Spanish curriculum. The Sonrisas Spanish Curriculum consists of fun, effective, and standards-based Spanish lessons for children.

As experts in the field of children’s Spanish literature, Sonrisas has done all the hard work for you and compiled a wonderful selection of storybooks for sale in the Sonrisas Bookstore. You will love the Sonrisas Bookstore because it is specialized. We offer only authentic children’s Spanish literature, and you do not have to sift through titles from other languages. You will love the Sonrisas Bookstore because it is focused, and you can find what you’re looking for. The description that accompanies each book is thorough and colorful and lets you know exactly what subjects areas are targeted in the book. You will love the Sonrisas Bookstore because of the quality of the selection. Each book has been chosen for its effectiveness in teaching Spanish to children. Our mantra has always been: If we can find a good book, we can teach a good lesson. The Sonrisas Bookstore is full of good books you can use to teach good lessons. You will love it!

Sonrisas Spanish School creates, publishes, and sells preschool and elementary Spanish curriculum and Spanish music for children. The Sonrisas Spanish School Curriculum can be used to teach Spanish to children at the preschool and elementary level, as well as home school Spanish. The Sonrisas Curriculum consists of fun, effective, standards-based lessons for the most effective language-learning experience for kids—one based on human-to-human interaction. Sonrisas is a proud member of both Nnell and ACTFL.