With Christmas coming, I know that lots of us are looking for gifts for Spanish language learners. Parents of my preschool students often ask me to recommend Spanish books to read to their children at home. I always mention this series of board books published by Macmillan Infantil y Juvenil. All of them are available to purchase on Amazon.
These are a few reasons I recommend these books to parents and preschool teachers:
- The books teach basic Spanish vocabulary.
- The bright photographs correspond exactly to the text, to make the meaning of the Spanish words clear.
- The books use natural structures and full sentences. The exception is ¿De qué color soy? which does not have complete sentences. The book does, however, teach lots of useful vocabulary.
- There is great repetition of question structures and verbs.
- The questions engage children and keep them actively participating with the text and language as they answer. For example, in ¿Qué ruido hago? the child makes the sound. The book then gives examples of other sounds found in that setting. In ¿Quién es mi mamá? the child chooses the correct animal.
- Both ¿Qué ruido hago? and ¿Quién es mi mamá? establish a setting before they ask the question. Simple phrases like en casa, en la carretera, en el zoo, en la granja (¿Que ruido hago), and en la nieve, en la jungla, en el bosque (¿Quién es mi mamá) establish a context and teach vocabulary.
- There is lots of Spanish in these books. Each question in ¿Qué ruido hago? and ¿Quién es mi mamá? is followed by four full sentences and supported by photographs.
- The books are short. I remind parents that a child’s attention span in a second language is shorter than in their native language. I suggest short books like these so that reading in Spanish stays fun.
- The books are completely in Spanish. Although bilingual books can be useful for children learning Spanish, reading a Spanish language book is easier and more natural for most parents and children. The photographs in these books make the language completely clear.
- These books are reasonably priced, available and durable. Many Spanish language products are expensive, so I look for books that will last. Although children may be beyond board books in English, they have fun with these sturdy books and learn lots of Spanish.
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