May 31, 2017 – ¡Vámonos! The musings of Lisibo
 

Day: May 31, 2017

Continuing my posts on non-fiction texts, here are some suggestions of texts that you might use to engage those hard to please learners who need something a bit different to capture their attention.

Firstly, some DK Readers that I bought a long while ago on Amazon. They come in several levels as you can see below, ranging from one sentence per page plus reinforcing illustrated vocabulary through simple sentences using repetitive language to the inclusion of information boxes and fact files and beyond.

 

The three I have come from the lower levels as they were bought to be accessed pretty independently by learners, and are on topics that I don’t specifically teach so the vocabulary is mostly unknown.

This is taken from El Mundo Marino which belongs in the lowest level ‘prenivel 1 para principiantes’ and I used this with Y1 last year when they were looking at the seaside. I read it to the class, focusing on the names of the things found in the sea rather than the meaning of the phrases. It was then left for reading during the week by anyone that fancied and also as an activity for those who finished quickly. Perhaps you could encourage learners to label a picture of a sea creature using the book as a reference?

The second book is called Gigantes de Hierro and was bought when I had a pupil who was obsessed with vehicles. I now know a little boy who would very much appreciate this book! It contains some great pictures and I found it fun expanding my heavy machinery vocabulary to include un camión de volteo, una aplanadora  and una carretilla elevadora. Of course, it’s good for a bit of role reversal with learner teaching the teacher new words; just proves nobody knows everything! It’s a good book to read with a child or to a group of children, particularly with the onomatopoeia!

And then there’s ¡Insectos! which comes from ‘nivel 2 Lectura asistida’ and has some wonderful photographs of insects as well as interesting information. It’s quite complex as it’s a direct translation of the English version, but not impenetrable. For the page above left I might ask questions such as:

  • What is the name of that insect in English? Use the text to help you if you don’t know.
  • We call it a praying mantis – do you think the Spanish name is similar? Why?
  • What do you think ‘inmóvil’ means? Why?
  • Can you find a word for ‘huge eyes’ in the text? (relying on them knowing ‘ojo’)
  • How do you say ‘Its front legs trap the fly’?
  • Find the words from jump, trap, disappear

I like the fact file at the end too which,if anything, is the most accessible as the facts are so short. I’d have translations of each fact and ask learners to match them up with the Spanish as an extension activity perhaps, or as a little challenge!

If you search DK Readers Spanish on Amazon there are several including El Mundo Marino and Insectos although most come from the USA so beware the postage!


Deportes de riesgo – El vestuario de pegatinasI bought this book at El Prat in Barcelona last year as I was about to embark on sports with a particularly feisty Y6 cohort and needed all the ammunition I could get to keep them with me for the last half term! Every time we learn the vocabulary of sports there are children, usually boys it has to be said, who want to say that they do activities and play games other than the ‘stock’ ones like football, rugby, basketball, swimming and horse riding. And why not? I’m forever encouraging learners to be imaginative and ‘make it up’ in Spanish lessons so I can’t really object when they want to say that they go scuba diving or skateboarding. And this book covers, as the title suggests, some marvellously dangerous and unusual sports. It not only gives the name for the sport, but also talks about the equipment required which fits perfectly with the Light Bulb Languages unit that looks at sporting clothing and equipment to explore the definite and indefinite article. Again I wouldn’t let them use the stickers on the pages but I’d use the stickers on card and cut out to ‘dress’ the sports people, or indeed use the central pages as a picture dictionary which is what I did last time I used it.

There are sports mentioned that I’d never heard of, and it’s always good to find out the technical words in Spanish associated with sports. For example, someone who does el parkour is called un traceur or una trace use (all taken from French which is where it originated), un piolet is an ice axe and climbing chalk is polvo de magnesio

If I can bear it, I might even separate the pages of the book and use the pages as ‘laminas’ with questions associated with each, as well as reading activities to dress the people in the images according to written instructions.

One complaint about this book – there are four female sports people and over thirty male. Girls like dangerous sports too, Usborne!

ISBN – 978-1-4095-7265-7

Buy from Amazon and Ediciones Usborne 


My last collection of books in this post are from Mini Larousse 

I love these books for a variety of reasons:

  • They’re attractive with amusing illustrations that draw you in so can be enjoyed even if you don’t understand a word!
  • The text is in Spanish handwriting which is again novel, adds something to the reading challenge and is a good way to add a bit of culture and ‘authenticity’ as well.
  • The texts are presented in short chunks using bold to pick out key words.

Being a football fan, El fútbol was the first one that I purchased, attracted by the cover that features La Selección winning La Copa Mundial with recognisable drawings of players (although Iker Casillas has strangely got very dark hair and a huge chin!) In fact there are players throughout the book that learners will recognise including Frank Lampard, Bufon, Gerrard and even Gary Lineker.

I like the combination of prose and labeled images, and the balance of images to text is about right to not put off reluctant readers in  UKS2. As with previous books, I’d be happy for learners to access them individually and use the pictures and their knowledge of football in conjunction with language learning skills to read as they wish. To offer some guidance you could produce a list of key words and phrases in English and challenge learners to find the equivalent in spanish, perhaps giving them the page number as a clue.



Caballeros y castillos is a book that Y3 would find interesting  as one of their topics is all about castles and involves organising an imaginary jousting competition, complete with stalls and ‘betting’ on the jousts (from Youtube!) The page able would be useful for finding the names of people involved in the joust, and the one below could be used as the stimulus to design and describe ‘escudos’ (a twist on the Y3 Spanish topic on shape and colour)

And then there’s Los Piratas which is a bit advanced for the KS1 topic on treasure but great for reading for pleasure. Good to see some famous female pirates featured in this book!

You can purchase El fútbol and Los Dinosaurios in this series from Little Linguist.

ISBN – 978-84-15411-16-1 El Fútbol

ISBN – 978-84-15411-14-7 Los Piratas

ISBN – 978-84-15411-18-5 Caballeros y castillos

Other books include El Universo, La Prehistoria, Los 5 sentidos and El Cuerpo Humano.


Any ideas you’d like to share? Leave a comment below!

Following on from my post on Arts themed non-fiction books, here are some books I have collected that have a scientific theme.

1001 bichitos para buscar con pegatinas

I bought this book in Barcelona last year for our Y1s who study mini beasts. I bought it not as a sticker book – imagine one book of stickers between 61 children! – but as a reference book for them to look for and name mini beasts, and for them to be able to label their science bilingually. I also like the variety of habitats shown including the desert, a cave and a rainforest, places that Y1 may well have not visited. As you can see via the link below, there are other books in the series including one about animals and another about pirates (another Y1 theme!)

Link to purchase

ISBN – 9781474909303


Larousse – Las estaciones


I can’t recall when I bought this book, or from where, but it is one of my favourites for its simplicity and range of information.

The above pages are brilliant for comprehension with learners given a grid with the four seasons and asked to fill it with the weather phrases from the text. It also has some phrases that more able learners like to ‘magpie’ such as no hace ni mucho calor ni mucho frío, estalla una tormenta,  and ráfagas de viento (which I admit was a new one for me too!) as well as using más and menos 

This double page spread covers what happens in spring and could be used for finding the word for… sap, roots, branches, buds, leaves, to sew seeds; and also for looking at the relationship between fruits – manzanas y cerezas (with which learners are familiar) and the trees on which they grow – manzanos y cerezos. And aren’t the illustrations wonderful?

One last double page which would be useful to Y2 who look at life in Antarctica. There’s a similar page for life near the equator where it’s always hot.

It’s listed on Amazon.co.uk at the ridiculous price of £173 but if you go to Amazon.com, the same series are more reasonably priced at $3.95

ISBN – 978-970-22-1445-8


¿Por qué  el Planeta Tierra es tan especial?

Planets is a Y5 theme that I’ve used many times as a cross curricular link with Spanish (see this post for my solar system plate books!), and this book was purchased several years ago, along with others, in Barcelona on a Comenius Regio trip. It was chosen by a non Spanish speaking colleague who felt that she could understand it, could use it and that her class would enjoy looking at it. And so it proved. This book, and another which is at school and that I’ll share another time, sit in the class library for the duration of the topic and are referred to regularly. Learners don’t understand every word but they like the graphics and enjoy the thrill of ‘reading’ in Spanish.

Again, the information is easy to decode as the learners are familiar with information about the planets such as their order, and can work out key vocabulary such as atmósfera, oxígeno, fricción, meteoritos, rayos, gira, respirar and so on. Great practice for huge numbers too!


The book isn’t just about the planets though; it’s about why Earth is so brilliant, and it concludes with several pages about climate change and how we can prevent our planet from becoming less conducive to life.

Buy from Little Linguist

ISBN978-84-261-3805-7


Pregunta al Dr Edi Lupa sobre el Clima

I bought this book from eBay and it’s one of my favourites. The texts are more challenging, and learners need more support to access them but the whole concept is worth the effort. It forms part of a series of books in which Dr Edi Lupa answers the letters of concerned animals on a  number of topics, in this case, the climate. The letter from the animal appears on the left and then the response of Dr Edi Lupa on the facing page. These are often followed by double page spreads that expand on and further clarify explanations.

I particularly like the Glosario at the end which explains some key words simply in Spanish. You could make a great matching up game with this that could be kept as an extension activity for Science lessons. In fact, you could make an activity out of the water cycle explanation above by removing the speech bubble words and asking learners to put them back in the right places so that the process works.

To buy from Amazon

ISBN – 978-84-96609-45-7


So that’s my ‘scientific’ themed books – or the ones I have at home at least! Do you have any favourites that you’d like to share? Leave a comment below if you do!

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