Reading in Spanish, how can I teach my child? Tips and resources

Reading in Spanish, how can I help my child? Tips and resources. Children are curious about reading, if you are learning Spanish together or you speak Spanish at home, here is what you can do to start the process of reading in Spanish.

When should I start?

The very first step begins as soon as possible as you are showing books with images to your baby and reading short stories to your toddler.

Research shows that reading encourages a child’s cognitive development, improves language skills and academic performance, and aids emotional attachment.

Even older children profit from continued parental involvement in reading.

By reading to your child you are encouraging the feelings of empathy and ability to listen. Through reading your little ones are putting themselves in the story characters’ shoes, they discover how they feel and what they do.

By seeing the written words, your child will learn that words are made up of different letters, syllables and sounds, and that words usually link to the pictures on the page.

There are various theories and schools of thought on when and how initiate the journey of learning how to read.

I like the idea of the Global method which aids visual memory and does not require the knowledge of letters, sounds or phonemes.

 This methods consists in showing the children a set of cards that contain an image and the written word. Sometimes called sight words.

How to use sight words

Choose groups of five cards of words they already know in Spanish and show each one to your child in a fast pace. It is important to do this in a fast pace; it is proven that short stimuli are more efficient with children.

You can find this cards or make them yourself but always choose familiar words that the children already know and are part of their daily environment, like mamá, papá, their name, animals they know in Spanish .

Try to have the cards handy and do this activity often, this method is trialing their visual memory and they will be able to recognise the word elefante , for example, without previous knowledge of the letters If they have seen this word with the image of an elephant before.

I found this set of cards useful.

Once your children are confident with a set of cards you can cut out the pictures and the words and play a game to match them.  

Great books to start reading in Spanish

Languages are best learnt when they have a communicative purpose therefore isolating words is useful to learn vocabulary (and in this case to start recognising the written word) but needs to be supported by real language structures.

If you are not a confident Spanish speaker, or you need a bit of support bilingual books will help a lot.

Why not start with this much loved children’s book:

La oruga muy hambrienta. The very hungry caterpillar by Eric Carle.

This book is great since it has a lot of repetition and will allow the child not only to anticipate the use of language and be rewarded when it happens it also serves well the purpose of seeing written familiar words and the repetition of patterns.

This another of my favourites:

¿Ha visto a mi gata? Have you seen my cat? Also By Eric Carl

Let me know how you get on with the activities, books and cards suggested.

For other good books out there check out other blog posts like: 3 great books for summer reading and learning Spanish with your little ones.

For more some fun tips and challenges to keep up your Spanish, join our FB group.

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