reading – ¡Vámonos! The musings of Lisibo
 

Category: reading

Thanks to Russel Tarr for capturing me telling a  story!

My session at #PracPed18 was entitled Tell me a story! You can find the Slideshare below.

In it, I shared some ideas about the use of stories and books in the languages classroom. Beginning by discussing why you would use stories, we moved on to choosing books, and then some ideas of how you could use stories in the classroom to enhance language learning. Finally we talked about how to write your own stories; this part was a little shortened so I have added some notes below. You’ll also find links to some helpful posts and bookmarks below. I hope those that attended found the session helpful, and those that didn’t feel able to ask questions! Please feel free to leave a comment on the post if you have questions or comments!

Helpful links:

Pictocuentos website – stories told with widgets to support understanding.
The German Project – German stories online
 Talk for Writing – accompanying storytelling with actions and storymaps.
Link to resources for El artista que pintó un caballo azul as a text to discuss diversity.
The book I mentioned that was recommended and demonstrated by Nathalie Paris at Language World was called Poux by  Stephanie Blake– check out the sketchnote of her session here, and follow her book blog and podcast here for more great book ideas!
My primary language book collection, classified by language type and theme.

The Storybird wiki   has been shut down but you can access the links etc here. mostly Spanish with a couple of German ones.

My Storybirds mostly Spanish with a couple of German ones.

ALL Literature Wiki

Pinterest links to research on Storytelling and stories in language learning

Pinterest board of online stories

Blogposts on books on ¡Vámonos! – lots of posts including book reviews, ideas for using stories and how to write your own!

Thanks for your participation and questions.
Photo credit – Russel Tarr

Notes:

Slide 18 – I skipped this one in my presentation as time was flying. This week, Merriam Webster shared a “time machine’ dictionary that tells you the words that were put into the dictionary during the year of your birth. I wrote a story using just nouns from my birth year, shared via tweet. This gave me the idea of giving children a list of words and challenging them to write a story with those words. A good way for more advanced pupils to practice verbs. I will share further when I have developed that thought!

Rewriting a familiar story. Photo credit – Russel Tarr

Acronyms:

GPS – grammar punctuation and spelling

PSHE – Personal, Social and Health Education

ICU – Intercultural Understanding

Key Stage 1 – children aged 5-7

Key Stage 2 – children aged 7-11 (languages are a compulsory part of the curriculum in English state schools)

WBD – World Book Day (April 23rd)

A visit to Foyles

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Yesterday I was in London for the annual ALL Council meeting, this year held at the Institute of Education. I deliberately set out early so that I could visit Foyles on Charing Cross Road as it now houses Grant and Cutler on the 4th floor.  To be honest I could easily have spent far longer than the 40 minutes I had on 4th floor alone, and there are several other floors that were calling to me as well, including the cafe!
However, 40 minutes was all I had and I spent it browsing books with several purposes.

  1. Seeing if I could find anything to inspire my boys with their language learning
  2. Looking for things for my own language development.
  3. Looking for new and interesting materials to use in my teaching.

Given that Sohn#1 had just bought all his books for uni, and didn’t really know what he wanted as a gift, coupled with the extortionate price of Swedish and Norwegian books, I failed to find him anything. Hijo#2 has just purchased all the books on list for A level French and I couldn’t find any Spanish text books that a) we didn’t already have or b)I thought were worth buying for him to self study so I didn’t buy anything for him specifically either. However, that’s OK as it reminded me of my copy of Harry potter á l’école des sorciers as well as reminding me to look out some Spanish texts from my past to lend to #2, and #1 has just had some books for the history part of his course.

So on to purpose 2 – my language development.
I can speak 6 languages with varying success from fluency to basic conversation, but I only really use two on a regular basis at the moment, teaching Spanish and speaking English. I don’t like to neglect the others so I made some purchases, partly to motivate me and also to keep my brain in tune!

I studied Catalan at university (a loooong time ago) and, having not used it for many years, ten years ago I rediscovered my ability to speak it during a partnership between my school and a school in Barcelona. Since then I’ve not lost my love of speaking it once more, and over the summer I did a FutureLearn course on Getting to know Catalonia which reignited my need to read in Catalan.I’m eagerly awaiting for a promised FutureLearn course on Ramon Llull but in the meantime I purchased a dual language anthology of poems. I don’t read enough poetry and I find it particularly exciting to ‘hear’ the rhythm of the language as I read.  

Since living in Switzerland I’ve been learning German; I’ve (nearly) stopped beating myself up about not having learned more while I was there and can certainly understand and often say far more than I think I can. Duolingo keeps me ticking over, although phrases such as Mein Kopf ist nicht aus Beton and Dies ist eine heilige Eule aren’t that useful on a day to day basis, and I’ve fortunately not had to declare that Eine Wespe ist in meiner Hose. However, I think it’s time I did some reading too. I have a collection of children’s books (see here  here and here) including Mr Men books thanks to my MFL Besties Secret Santa, and Sohn#1 has left some of his books at home but I thought I’d try something a little less challenging before I embark on Kafka and Brecht! So I chose this dual text compilation of short stories to build my confidence as I can cross reference and check my understanding. I find that sort of exercise really helpful as I pick apart how sentences are constructed; I haven’t really been taught about sentence structure and word order so it’s quite interesting finding patterns for myself!

Then I decided that I’d like a couple more PixiBuch as I love them – they’re small and also only £1.50. These overlap with my purpose 3 – to find new and interesting materials for teaching as I will use them when I start the long awaited and long postponed German club. Schneeweißchen und Rosenrot is a traditional German fairy tale and Du bist bei mir: Gute-Nacht-Gebete contains some lovely goodnight rhymes that sound marvellous in my head (where my accent is beautiful and perfectly German!)

One of the SDP objectives for both schools at which I teach is reading. At both schools, staff are being asked to ensure that there are times in each day when children can read, and also a time for the teacher to read to the pupils.  Children need to be exposed to a variety of texts and their vocabulary grows the more they read and/or are read to. Therefore, I had a look for some suitable texts that I could share. I have a number of Mr Men books in Spanish and bought a couple more. The stories are familiar to the children so, in conjunction with the illustrations, they can follow. However, I’m a little concerned that they are quite wordy so was looking for something else too. 

First I found this lovely book of fairytales. Each is just two pages long and starts with a page of ‘pictogramas’ that are used to tell the story in rebus form i.e. words are replaced with a picture. I’m looking forward to sharing them with Y3 – and the younger children when I get the opportunity as I’m pretty sure that they’ll soon be joining in with the story, ‘reading’ the images. 

Then I found a couple of boxes of ‘100 Cuentos Cortos‘ that contain 50 cards, each with a short story on either side. The stories are very short – some only a paragraph long – so there’s little time for children to get discombobulated by not understanding every word, and there’ll be time to repeat them more slowly a second time to allow a greater chance of comprehension. The vocabulary is simple, and the illustrations are clear and give a good idea of the story. There are a variety of themes including weather, animals, different seasons and festivals, and some are based around traditional tales. I’ll probably use these with Y4 and possibly Y5.

 

Finally I bought another dual language book for Y6 – El Principito. After the first few chapters that set the scene which will take longer than one session, the chapters are very short meaning that one can be read each lesson. The beauty of the dual text is that I can read the Spanish version then leave the chapter in both Spanish and English for children to read before the next lesson to clarify doubts, ensure understanding and, for some, dissect the texts. 

 

Perhaps I’m being overly hopeful about how well this will go, but they do say to Aim for the moon; even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.

This summer we’ve spent part of our holiday in the Highlands of Scotland near Ullapool, a beautiful part of the world. For many years and even more so since we lived in Switzerland, the prerequisites for a holiday destination have been mountains, lakes or the sea and beautiful scenery, and we got that by the bucket load.

During our stay we visited The Ceilidh Place which is “a Hotel, Bunkhouse, Café / Bar, Restaurant, Bookshop & Music Venue based in Ullapool in the epic and beautiful surroundings of Wester Ross in the Scottish Highlands.” Not only was the food delicious but there was the added bonus of being able to pop into the bookshop for a read whilst your food was being prepared. And whilst browsing I came across a section of books that I couldn’t resist.

 

The bookshop boasts an eclectic mix of books with a Scottish bias, so I wasn’t surprised to see that there was a special children’s section of texts written in Scottish Gaelic, but also a selection of books in Scots, the other native language of Scotland. Find out more about Scots 

My Mum is Scottish, born in Glasgow. Sadly, you’d never hear the hint of a Scottish accent unless you either made her very angry or heard her say certain words like squirrel or if you happened to be called Luke. When I was little I thought it was because she moved to England when she was about 12 but she explained when I was older that it was because she was forced to lose her accent at school in Scotland, made to stand by the teacher’s desk repeating the word milk until she stopped saying ‘mulk.’ However, my grandparents never lost their accents and their speech was peppered with fantastic words like dreich and claggie and peelywally. My favourite was the playful threat to ‘skelp yer bahookie’ if we didn’t behave or telling me not to be such a ‘fearty’ when I objected to crossing a bridge! 

Therefore, I couldn’t resist buying We’re Gangin on a Bear Hunt as I could hear their voices as I leafed through the pages. for Mum to read with me. Even if you aren’t familiar with Scots, if you’re familiar with the story of Going on a Bear Hunt, it’s easy to understand. I loved rediscovering words that I heard as a child like bonnie and braw, and ‘we’re no feart,’ as well as learning some new ones like the parts of the face.My favourite line is below “A birlin skirlin snawstorm’ – my son can tell you all about a good Scottish snawstorm!

I’m very much looking forward to reading this with my Mum and seeing if my memory of how you pronounce the words is correct. If you want to hear it read, Susan Rennie (the translator) has made a Soundcloud recording. In fact, she has some resources and ideas including a glossary on her website. And there’s an activity sheet on this page. And Twinkl has some Scots resources too if you wanted to explore more, perhaps as part of European Day of Languages, or in conjunction with reading Katie Morag?

If you’re interested in more books in Scots, here’s a list of publishers and suggestions, both original Scots books and those in translation like We’re Gangin on a Bear Hunt.

ISBN 978-178250-316-3

Link to buy from Floris Books and Amazon

I’ve bought a few books over the summer that I wanted to share in short posts as I prepare to go back to school next week.

The first is called I LOVE YOU.

It’s a simple story in English about Little Badger and his teacher, Ms Giraffe who teaches him her favourite words. “They sound different all around the world but they mean the same thing” she says and proceeds to teach them how to say I love you in several languages.

Little Badger is so inspired by this that he spends all his free time that day telling inanimate objects, nature and his family that he loves them in Italian, French, Spanish, Chinese, German and English.

The thing I love most about this story is that Little Badger is excited about language learning and wants to use it. He might go over the top but he takes his learning away from school, practises it and shares it with others. Whilst I might be a little shocked if a child jumped out of their seat in my lesson, hugged me and declared that they loved me, I really want to inspire that sort of passion in the children I teach. So this year I’m going to try and be just like Ms Giraffe – very kind and very clever (as she is described) and very inspiring!

via GIPHY

I bought this book in The Works where it cost £2 but is also part of a 3 for £5 offer in store and 10 for £10 online.

You can also buy it from Little Linguist 

ISBN 978-1-912076-88-8

Here’s the story being read for you too!

 

 

This year at Language World I was invited to present some ideas for using technology for collaboration in language learning. I teach primary so the focus was on that age group but there are many ideas and tools that are equally applicable for young and old! In spite of some technical hitches and running out of time as there was so much to share, the ideas were well received and I hope that this will serve as a reminder/update for those who attended, and a snapshot for those who didn’t.

Below is my presentation. Whilst all the links work, the videos don’t I’m afraid but you’ll find some below to give you a taster.

Link to BetsyBelle’s webinar Out of this World on using apps in the Primary Language Classroom. Highly recommended viewing especially if you’re interested in the how as much as the why.

Presiona aquí

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via GIPHY

Today is International Children’s Book Day and I’ve got a new book!

It’s called Presiona aquí and it’s by Hervé Tullet. It’s the Spanish version of Press here and I bought it to share with FKS and KS1, although I’m sure some of Y3 would also enjoy it!

The book starts with a single yellow dot and asks the reader to ‘presiona aquí y da vuelta a la página.’ Magically, another yellow ‘círculo’ appears on the next page, and there follow lots more pages with lots more instructions and lots more ‘círculos’ – grandes y pequeños; amarillos, azules y rojos. I like the simplicity of the illustrations as well as the text, and I think it would be a fun book to share on the carpet with children coming up to press buttons, or in small groups as a special treat. You can children enjoying it in the trailer for the English version below. In our Y2 Spanish scheme (based on Little Languages) they look at sequencing and this would be a great addition to the activities that include counting and sequencing buttons, shapes and any little things we can find (dinosaurs, cars, fruit…)

I mentioned that I thought Y3 would enjoy it, and with that in mind I’ve been thinking about what we could do as a follow up activity. When we were working on colours before Easter and talking about colour mixing I (perhaps rashly) said that we could do some painting in Spanish towards the end of the summer term when we’ll be looking at shape and colour once more. This would be a lovely way to introduce or revisit some shape and colour vocabulary, and I can see us creating our own versions of the book as a story board, perhaps diversifying into other shapes depending on what action the ‘reader’ does. Or perhaps we could use the same approach, an action leading to the appearance of a new item to create Miró-esque art? Still a developing thought…

 

After I’d started writing this, I discovered that there are  a couple of videos of the book too – see below – so it would be possible for class teachers who are non specialists to borrow my book and share it with their class. This video actually uses the book but lasts more than ten minutes and the presenter doesn’t just read the story but offers comments too. I wonder if Nursery and Reception would manage to sit still for that long, and worry that the ‘extras’ might put off the non-specialist teacher presenting as they don’t know what’s being said? The video below would be my choice as, although it doesn’t feature the book and the instructions are worded slightly differently, it is much simpler and lasts just over 5 minutes.

Hervé Tullet has lots of other lovely books too – I think I may need to get ¡Mézclalo bien! is this one is a hit…

ISBN 978-1-4521-1287-9

Link to buy ¡Presiona aquí¡ from Book Depository

More Hervé Tullet books in Spanish

There’s a very simple free worksheet on TES resources to accompany the story and here are some ideas of how to use the book including a fun activity called Fizzy colours.

EDIT – I’ve now found a Pinterest board of ideas here.

And I’ll definitely be trying this activity out in the summer – Press Here movement game

as well as making the chatterbox from this post.

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With World Book Day (#WBD) approaching next week on March 1st, I’ve been having a think over the last few days about what I’ll be doing with the classes I teach on Thursday. Last year we explored the Mr Men and Little Miss characters in Spanish as our focus at school was on illustrators. The previous year we looked at La maravillosa medicine de Jorge – you can find out about it in this post.

I had a look through my bookcases (yes, I have more than one as I have so many books!) and realised that, amongst my collection, I have a number of books about books!

The first isn’t Spanish but as I’ll probably be dressed as Heidi I might just start with this German gem.


Das ist ein Buch

I’ve shared Das ist ein Buch before but it is one of my favourites! In English it’s called It’s a book, and in it, Esel (Donkey) has obviously not seen a book before and wonders if it texts, needs wifi or Tweets; Affe (Monkey) patiently replies Nein, das ist ein Buch until he decides that it would be best to let Esel read the book …

ISBN: 978-3-446-23937-1  Link to buy

 

Now to the Spanish ones:

A Rosa le gusta leer.

This is a short reader style book with short phrases on each page, containing 49 Spanish words that are listed at the end. It’s about a girl called Rosa who, as the title suggests, likes reading. However, her neighbourhood is very noisy and it’s hard to concentrate…

ISBN 0-516-24698-4  Link to buy

Book Fiesta

This is a bi-lingual book, a celebration of Children’s Day/Book Day that is held on April 30th in Mexico. It’s all about reading our favourite books, the languages in which we read,  with whom we might read and where we go to read, in reality and in our imaginations. It’s a colourfully illustrated book and can be read in Spanish or English, depending on your audience.

ISBN 978-0-06-128877-7   Link to buy 

¡Se busca! Lili la liebre, ladrona de libros

I love this book about a hare who loves books so much that she can’t stop reading. She starts visiting houses to read books, and one thing leads to another and she starts to steal them! When she starts stealing the books from a boy called Arturo, she runs into trouble as he is as big a fan of books as she is. What will happen? You’ll have to read the book and find out. I love the humorous illustrations, particularly of Lili’s favourite books.  

ISBN 978-84-9101-044-9   Link to buy

¿Para qué sirve un libro?

I bought this book in Spain last year and forgot I had it (I told you I’ve got a lot of books!) but when I rediscovered it, I remembered why I’d bought it! Each double page has a sentence about what a book is for or what it does, very simply phrased as ‘Un libro es…’ or ‘Un libro puede…’ or ‘ En un libro puedes…’ and I’m planning on using it as the basis for an activity where pupils match the English and Spanish phrases, then make up their own ideas.

ISBN – 978-84-16490-27-1   Link to buyQué leen los animales antes de dormir

My final book arrived this morning and I love it! It’s all about different animals and the types of books that they read. It’s humorous and has some very clever puns that I love. Some are accessible to beginners with a clue or two whilst some are a little more obscure. I’m looking forward to sharing this with my classes and seeing if they can guess which animal reads which type of book.

ISBN 978-8426138446   Link to buy   (Although I bought the last one – sorry!)

When I’ve finished my plans and finalised my resources, I’ll share them here (although I won’t be able to share my images of the stories unless you own the books)

I’ve made a Pinterest board of all the links I’ve gathered for #WBD and, whilst I was looking at a link to materials related to ¡Se busca! Lili la liebre, ladrona de libros, I came across a board called Libros que hablan de libros that has more ideas of books about books. And also reminded me that I have another book about books – Regalo Sorpresa (link to buy)

Perhaps you have some suggestions to add in the comments below? And please share your ideas for World Book Day too!

 

 

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With World Book Day coming up next week, I found this video that gives reasons for why reading is important. It’s in Spanish and has no commentary; all the reasons are written in the slides. Some slides contain too much to read before they change but did you know that you can change the speed of a Youtube video? If you click on the Settings cog, you can alter the speed (see below) I’d recommend 0.75 speed the audio doesn’t sound too distorted although 0.5 is OK as this has music rather than speech.

I’m still working on my plan for this year – two years ago I use a Roald Dahl book in Spanish as my inspiration and last year, we focused on the Mr Men and Little Misses as we were looking at illustrators. However, you can see the pins I’ve collected on my WBD Pinterest board, and I’ll post my idea as soon as it’s developed.

I’ll leave you with some quotations about reading; my favourites are 2 and 6.

 

On my trip to London on Tuesday I paid a flying visit to the fourth floor of Foyles where all the language books are found. Although I was limited in the time I could spend there – 25 minutes! – and I imposed a spending limit on myself too, I still managed to come away with a couple of books.

Mi dragón y yo is a very simple book about a boy who doesn’t want an ordinary pet and dreams of having a dragon. He sets out to explain what kind of dragon he would like. He talks about what it would not be like first before saying all the things it would be able to do, all the things he’d do with it and how he would train it. It’s written in the conditional
– me gustaría, tendría, le daría, le enseñaría – but I don’t see that as a problem as the illustrations make it clear, and in fact the conditional is sometimes easier to decode as the infinitive that you’d look up in the dictionary is easier to identify (usually!)

 


It’s a great book to read as part of a topic on pets and could lead to pupils rewriting the story

Algunos niños quieren un perro. A otros les gustaría un gato. Yo quiero….” inserting their own animal before going on to describe it:

Sería ………. – It would be ………. This could be colour and character.

Tendría……….. – It would have …………… Here they would describe the pet; a tail? a big head?

Le daría el nombre …..  – I’d call it……

Le enseñaría a …. – I’d teach it to….. Add some verb infinitives

Le compraría … – I’d buy it ….. Clothes? Food? Toys?

Comería… y bebería……. – It would eat…. and drink ………..

Viviría …………. – It would live….

and so on.

Very simple and easily done with some dictionary skills and a bit of imagination, and easy to extend with some conjunctions, negatives and so on.

For younger learners you might just read the story and invite them to draw or colour their own dragon then describe it orally using colours and size or in written form by labelling it or filling in a gapped sentence. Here are some dragon templates you might use:

There are lots of other dragon ideas and resources around.

In a quick search I found many other dragon stories including several on Youtube. I’ve pinned a lot of them onto a Pinterest board Dragons but a few highlights are below:

Ramón el Dragón is a lovely song about a dragon called Ramón (obviously). It rhymes and has a very simple chorus, telling the story of Ramón’s very simple life. You can see the lyrics on screen but can read it as a class poem using the lyric sheets here.

And I like this story about El cumpleaños del dragón as it is simple, is in Spanish with English subtitles and has a message about having tantrums!

And if you’re looking for a story to read that has a message, I liked El dragón que escupía chocolate. And Nattalingo recommends El dragón frío on her blog.

There are lots of ideas too; Janet Lloyd’s Primary Languages Network shared some excellent ideas based around How to train my dragon for world Book Day last year. Erzsi Culshaw shared some clothes peg dragons to celebrate San Jordi. And Ruth Kidd has shared some lovely French triaramas of her Y5s describing dragons on the Languages in Primary School group. In fact, if you search ‘dragon’ on LiPS you’ll find several more ideas!

Hope you found that helpful. It certainly kept me occupied during a rainstorm!

Oh, and I almost forgot! I saw another book that I was really tempted to buy. It’s a lift the flap book about dinosaur poo! Perhaps another time…

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.


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