reading – ¡Vámonos! The musings of Lisibo
 

Tag: reading

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.

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!

 

I was asked to present an idea at the Primary Spanish Show and Tell at Language World in Hinckley last week.

The idea of the Show and Tell is that there are a variety of ideas presented, and on this occasion my fellow presenters were Anne Poole, who presented some fun games that can be played in any language, and Jesús Hernández from the Consejería de Educación who, accompanied by his trusty guitar, presented a few songs as well as activities to accompany a couple of posters that we were all gifted. Jesús also shared news of a new ‘revista’  for Primary Spanish that will be published by the Consejería with ideas like the ones that Jesús shared.

My part of the session focused on how we celebrated World Book Day this year at Whitehouse Common. You can see my part of the presentation below – the whole presentation will be available soon on the ALL website.

I’m happy to share the materials to use with the book, but I can’t share the scanned book as that would break copyright.
Para qué sirve un libro matching

Para qué sirve un libro matching answers

Para qué sirve un libro ideas
Here’s the Sketchnote of the whole session too!

Primary Spanish Show and Tell
It’s hard to sketch note whilst presenting, singing and playing games but I did it!

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.

*This is a book review as part of Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2018 #MCBD2018*

The Marvellous Mexican Misunderstanding is a delightful book about a little boy called Adri who  overhears his Mum and Aunt Chiquita talking about the Day of the Dead and gets completely the wrong end of the stick. He asks his sister Tani lots of questions about the Aztecs, the Day of the Dead but she mischievously decides to use his ignorance of the festival as a way of teasing him, and confirms his fears.  Over the seven days leading up to Day of the Dead, every visitor and every event seems to confirm his fear that he is going to die; the Dad brings him a skeleton costume for Halloween, the neighbour brings ‘pan de muerto’, his Mum makes his favourite food. On the eve of Day of the Dead, Adri writes letters to his family and prepares himself. Will the misunderstanding be unravelled or will Adri’s fear come true? You’ll have to read and find out!

The illustrations by Nefeli Malie are wonderful – bright and childlike, and coupled with the lovely prose by Evi Triantafyllides, they tell the story of Adri in a clear and appealing way, at the same time exposing readers to aspects of the Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) festival. And the book is not just a story. There’s a dictionary of Spanish and English terms related to the story as well as questions posed as ‘Mexican mysteries’ about the text that highlight facts about Mexico.  The book itself forms part of the first ‘parcel’ offered by Worldwide Buddies.

Worldwide Buddies is a series of fictional, educational stories with characters from different countries around the globe that allow children to imagine a more beautifully complex world. Stories are designed to promote cultural awareness and introduce little ones to the diverse realities and wonders of the world, early on.

“A Marvelous Mexican Misunderstanding” is the first story of the series and will become available for purchase through their website in a couple of weeks: www.worldwidebuddies.com

Alongside the story, readers can also purchase a story box with additional games, toys and activities that accompany the book. You can find out more on their website or via Facebook or Instagram.

As Worldwide Buddies will start accepting orders for the books ($18) and story box ($35) soon. As they are based in the USA, I asked Evi if the book and story box will be available in the UK, and she confirmed that yes, delivery will be possible to the UK too.

As a teacher of Spanish to young children, I love this book as it is amusing and gently makes fun of Adri’s misunderstanding to reveal the wonder of the Day of the Dead festival, explaining how it is a happy festival and a time to remember those who have passed away. I’ll certainly be sharing it with my learners next year in the run up to November 1st. It also leads into a pertinent discussion about our fears often that fit well with the  SMSC (Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural) agenda here. I look forward to reading more Worldwide Buddies books!

Details about #MCBD2018:
Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017 (1/27/18) is in its 5th year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in home and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators.
MCBD 2018 is honored to have some amazing Sponsors on board. View our 2018 MCBD Medallion Sponsors here: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/2106-sponsors/mcbd2018-medallion-level-sponsors/
View our 2018 MCBD Author Sponsors here: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/2106-sponsors/2018-author-sponsors/
We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/about/co-hosts/
TWITTER PARTY Sponsored by Scholastic Book Clubs: MCBD’s super-popular (and crazy-fun) annual Twitter Party will be held 1/27/18 at 9:00pm EST.
You can join the conversation and win one of 12-5 book bundles and one Grand Prize Book Bundle (12 books) that will be given away at the party! http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/twitter-party-great-conversations-fun-prizes-chance-readyourworld-1-27-18/
Free Multicultural Books for Teachers: http://bit.ly/1kGZrta
Free Empathy Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/teacher-classroom-empathy-kit/

Did you know that Saturday 27th January is Multicultural Children’s Book Day? Nor did I until I saw a tweet asking for reviewers who were interested in books and multicultural/ intercultural awareness. As a fan of both, I jumped at the chance, and my book review will follow in the next post. 

Below are details of the event. Please note that it is based in the United States so timings are not GMT, and some offers may not be available to those in the United Kingdom. However, all the online resources are available irrespective of where you live – the beauty of the Net!

Come back tomorrow for a review of The Marvellous Mexican Misunderstanding by Evi Triantafyllides of WorldwideBuddies.com

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017 (1/27/18) is in its 5th year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in home and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators.

Current Sponsors:  MCBD 2018 is honoured to have some amazing Sponsors on board.

2018 MCBD Medallion Sponsors

HONORARY: Children’s Book Council, Junior Library Guild

PLATINUM:Scholastic Book Clubs

GOLD:Audrey Press, Candlewick Press, Loving Lion Books, Second Story Press, Star Bright Books, Worldwide Buddies

SILVER:Capstone Publishing, Author Charlotte Riggle, Child’s Play USA, KidLit TV, Pack-n-Go Girls, Plum Street Press

BRONZE: Barefoot Books, Carole P. Roman, Charlesbridge Publishing, Dr. Crystal BoweGokul! World, Green Kids Club, Gwen Jackson, Jacqueline Woodson, Juan J. Guerra, Language Lizard, Lee & Low Books, RhymeTime Storybooks, Sanya Whittaker Gragg, TimTimTom Books, WaterBrook & Multnomah, Wisdom Tales Press

2018 Author Sponsors

Honorary Author Sponsors: Author/Illustrator Aram Kim and Author/Illustrator Juana Medina

Author Janet Balletta, Author Susan BernardoAuthor Carmen Bernier-Grand, Author Tasheba Berry-McLaren and Space2Launch, Bollywood Groove Books, Author Anne BroylesAuthor Kathleen Burkinshaw, Author Eugenia Chu, Author Lesa Cline-Ransome, Author Medeia Cohan and Shade 7 Publishing, Desi Babies, Author Dani Dixon and Tumble Creek Press, Author Judy Dodge Cummings, Author D.G. Driver, Author Nicole Fenner and Sister Girl Publishing, Debbi Michiko Florence, Author Josh Funk, Author Maria Gianferrari, Author Daphnie Glenn, Globe Smart Kids, Author Kimberly Gordon Biddle, Author Quentin Holmes, Author Esther Iverem, Jennifer Joseph: Alphabet Oddities, Author Kizzie Jones, Author Faith L Justice , Author P.J. LaRue and MysticPrincesses.com, Author Karen Leggett Abouraya, Author Sylvia Liu, Author Sherri Maret, Author Melissa Martin Ph.D., Author Lesli Mitchell, Pinky Mukhi and We Are One, Author Miranda Paul, Author Carlotta Penn, Real Dads Read, Greg Ransom, Author Sandra L. Richards, RealMVPKids Author Andrea Scott, Alva Sachs and Three Wishes Publishing, Shelly Bean the Sports QueenAuthor Sarah Stevenson, Author Gayle H. Swift Author Elsa Takaoka, Author Christine Taylor-Butler, Nicholette Thomas and  MFL Publishing  Author Andrea Y. Wang, Author Jane Whittingham  Author Natasha Yim

We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.

TWITTER PARTY Sponsored by Scholastic Book Clubs: MCBD’s super-popular (and crazy-fun) annual Twitter Party will be held 1/27/18 at 9:00pm. (EST which is 2am GMT)

Join the conversation and win one of twelve 5 book bundles and one Grand Prize Book Bundle (12 books) that will be given away at the party! http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/twitter-party-great-conversations-fun-prizes-chance-readyourworld-1-27-18/

Free Multicultural Books for Teachers: http://bit.ly/1kGZrta 

Free Empathy Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/teacher-classroom-empathy-kit/

Hashtag: Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use our official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.

My husband often has to travel abroad with his work and, knowing my love of books, has been trained to look put for things I might like to use in the classroom. This last week, as usual, he texted me from the airport to ask about books I might like. Only he wasn’t in Spain or Germany, Switzerland or Austria, countries that speak languages I teach (or love!); he was in Lithuania.However, I am always up for a challenge and when he sent a picture of the front of the book, I decided I liked his choice and said ‘why not?’ I think he fell in love with the covers too as he bought me two.

And so I met Kakė Makė! I couldn’t understand a word of the books, but I immediately loved the bright pictures and quirky character of Kakė Makė that comes through the illustrations.

From the pictures I decided that Kakė Makė ir Netvarkos Nykštukas was about Kakė Makė getting up to mischief, and making an incredible mess, and an elf taking her toys away. Kakė Makė then follows the elf and tries to get the toys back by completing some tasks including a maze and fighting a monster. I also worked out that Kakė Makė is a nickname and the girl’s real name is Kornelija

I’ve since found this video that tells the story in English – and I wasn’t far off! It seems that Kakė Makė translates as GooGoo MooGoo!

And then I looked at Kakė Makė ir didelė Tamsa and concluded that it’s about a shadowy monster that scares Kakė Makė and her friends, and Kakė Makė sets off to find it, capture it in a bag and dispose of it. * What do you think? Here’s a video of the story with no narration!

I think that, as a language teacher, it’s good sometimes to put yourself into the place of a learner who has very limited or no understanding (as was my case) of the language being presented. Not only does it help you to understand the level of panic that can arise when faced with a page of unfamiliar and apparently unintelligible  words, but it also clarifies how you have to rely on all the clues you can find to help you.

  • Pictures – very helpful here
  • Cognates – virtually non existent; I found laberintas and bibliotekininke
  • Punctuation like capital letters for names  – I worked out that Tamsa is the name of the monster and Pipiru is the dog. So some help but not a great deal!
  • Knowledge about stories – there’s usually an opening before a build up to a problem, the problem gets fixed and there’s a conclusion.

I also looked at the text and noticed a couple of things:

  1. Kakė Makė is written Kakėi Makėi a couple of times, both times at the start of a sentence, and once Kakės Makės; what do those suffixes mean? I wonder if it’s to do with subject/object of the sentence? Or possession?
  2. Speech is denoted by – – as in Spanish, and quotations by ,,    ” which I found interesting.
  3. I’m fascinated by the diacritical marks and accents. I want to know how they work! Does it alter the sound of the letters as in French, or the stress pattern as in Spanish? And is Lithuanian like Swedish (which I’m trying to learn on Duolingo)

I’m still not sure how, if at all, I’ll use them in my classroom but I’ve certainly enjoyed ‘reading’ them and exploring the world of Kakė Makė which, judging by my online searches, is quite extensive in Lithuania with product endorsements, themed parties, toys and much more! There’s an app you can download or you can play online (although cleaning her teeth isn’t the most exciting activity ever..) You can even be her friend on Facebook! I’m holding out to meet a Lithuanian speaker to help me read it properly!

*(After working this out, I did resort to GoogleTranslate to find out that the title means Kake Make and Big Darkness so I think I’m on the right lines!)

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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!

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