Bilingual is Better

This week’s Ask an Expert question was sent in by Leticia and I am so happy she did because I just recently started wondering the same thing. Vanessa is totally into the alphabet and wanting to know “¿qué dice aquí?” all the time.

“I would like to teach my kids to read in Spanish. Any suggestions on materials to use? Thanks.”

Hi Leticia! I love your name! Leticia is one of my favorite cities in Colombia – it’s in the Amazon region and it’s a very beautiful place!

With regard to your question, there are tons of great sites online that can help kids read in Spanish. Here is a collection of some of my favorites. You can also check out my Delicious bookmarks (http://www.delicious.com/miscositas) and my website for updated links that seem to pop up every day! ¡Buena suerte!

America Reads Spanish: this is a great place to start looking for reading materials. On this site you can download a book called: Essential Guide to Spanish Reading for Children and Young Adults, which is an annotated bibliographic list of great reading in Spanish sorted by age level and recommended by librarians and educators from around the country!  http://www.americareadsspanish.org/

World Digital Library: this site makes available on the Internet, free of charge and in multilingual format, significant primary materials from countries and cultures around the world; materials are available in Spanish and several other languages.  http://www.wdl.org/en/#

International Children’s Digital Library (ICDL): A digital library of outstanding children’s books from all over the world; read full texts with accompanying images; search archive by country to find books in Spanish – and many other languages.  http://en.childrenslibrary.org/

StoryPlace: A digital online library for kids with stories, games and activities; kids can read along with the story as the audio portion plays. http://www.storyplace.org/sp/

BookBox: A neat site with interesting stories in different languages, with subtitles or without them; you can access a sample of the story for free, but the full story is $2.99 to download and keep; free games and other materials as well; materials available in English, Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, Hindi and 21 other languages. http://www.bookbox.com/

MisCositas: My site! I have over 20 “virtual picturebooks” that students can read, with challenging vocabulary words linked to a pop-up picture dictionary; after reading the “book,” kids can view the accompanying video on our YouTube channel. http://www.miscositas.com

Lori Langer de Ramirez – Bilingual educator who began her career as a teacher of Spanish, French and ESL. She holds a Master’s Degree in Applied Linguistics and a Doctorate in Curriculum and Teaching from Teachers College, Columbia University. She is currently the Chairperson of the ESL and World Language Department for Herricks Public Schools, New York. Lori is the author of Take Action: Lesson Plans for the Multicultural Classroom and Voices of Diversity: Stories, Activities and Resources for the Multicultural Classroom, as well as several Spanish-language books and texts (Cuéntame – Folklore y Fábulas and Mi abuela ya no está). Her interactive website (miscositas.com) offers teachers over 40 virtual picture books and other curricular materials for teaching Chinese, English, French, Indonesian, Italian, Spanish and Thai. Her areas of research and curriculum development are multicultural and diversity education, folktales in the language classroom and technology in language teaching. You can read her answers here.

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