Friday, 16 August 2013

Reading in Spanish

Yesterday I wrote about the French books that I have on my shelves and which I use in the primary languages classroom.  I also have a significant pile of Spanish books, and here they are.

I use ¡Mamá! to practise animals, numbers and plurals.  It only has one word (¡Mamá!) on each page.  A little boy runs from room to room in the house looking for his mother, not noticing that in each room there are a different number of animals.

All children will be familiar with La oruga muy hambrienta, and so it's great for introducing days of the week and finding out food words in Spanish.  The "eating" pages are repetitive and so easy for children to join in with and put actions to.  There is another version called La pequeña oruga glotona.

Another Eric Carle book that I use is De la cabeza a los pies.  Year 2 and I read the English version first (From head to toe) and then the Spanish version. Plenty of actions and joining in!

El bicho de la fruta introduces fruits and parts of the body. It's ideal if you are going to be creating and describing monsters in class.

I found Los colores in Barcelona a few years ago.  It's a very simple book which introduces animals and colours.  On each page a different baby animal says what colour and animal its dad is. The language is repetitive and very accessible, and the formula can easily be adapted for independent writing.  There are five other books in the series which will be worth looking into.

Villancicos y zambomba is a series of Christmas poems and rhymes by Gloria Fuertes.

In Diez semillas, ten seeds are planted but not all of them become flowers.  This book practises the numbers 1 to 10, as well as encouraging children to think about the life cycle and parts of a plant.  I have this book to read with Year 1.

If you're looking for a way of practising colours and also incorporating PSHE, try ¡Hombre de color! An African boy points out that he has always been black, while a white person changes colour depending on the weather and their mood.  Who is really 'coloured'?

Animal noises are a great way of practising phonics, and I use Muu Bee ¡Así fue! to introduce them.  I also have the original English version (Moo Baa La La La) and we read the two side by side, comparing and contrasting the words used and the noises that the animals make.

Pinta ratones is about some little mice who dance in puddles of different coloured paint and mix new colours.  It would lend itself to actions and focussed listening, where children hold up colours as they are mentioned.

¡Fuera de aquí, horrible monstruo verde! is visually a very appealing book, as it builds up the monster's face through a series of overlaid pages.  It's a really good example of describing nouns (parts of the head) with colours, sizes and shapes.  I have this one in French as well.

Children will all be familiar with Michael Rosen's Vamos a cazar un oso, and it's fantastic for getting them out of their seat and doing lots of actions.  Unfortunately it's a hard book to get hold of in this country.  I got mine online from Spain.

I bought Diez Deditos in the USA last year, and am pleased to see that it's also available here.  It is a collection of songs and finger rhymes, ideal for the new programme of study.  I see that there is also a version available with a CD.

I've written before about the Guatemala project that I do with Year 2.  I've recently bought a couple of books that will enhance the project next time round.  Abuela's Weave is the story of Esperanza and her grandmother and the traditional weaving that they do.  There is also a teacher's guide available.

Year 2 always have a lot of questions about Guatemala, quite a few of which I can't answer.  I've bought Guatemala ABCs to help me to learn more!

¿Dónde vive Maisy? is a lift-the-flap book ideal for younger learners.  It's all about where animals live and where Maisy Mouse lives.  The language is simple and repetitive.

There are two parts to the Recopilatorio de canciones infantiles.  It's a gold mine of Spanish songs and rhymes, which are often hard to find.  Ideal for making your scheme of work new-curriculum-compatible.

It's always useful to have something up your sleeve to fill in any unexpected empty moments in the classroom.  The Spanish-speaking cultures colouring book has been a godsend, and a recent purchase, Decorative Tile Designs coloring book, is proving equally so, particularly when you're looking at Moorish Mosaics.

So that's all my Spanish books.  I'd love to hear your recommendations!

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Reading in French

The new Programme of Study for KS2 Languages requires children to "appreciate stories, songs, poems and rhymes in the language".  I'm always on the lookout for books in French and Spanish that will enrich the children's learning experience and that will introduce language points and inspire some independent writing.  Plus I am what you might call a book addict.

There are lots of things you can do with stories and books. Here are some of the French books that I have.

The old favourite Hungry Caterpillar is ideal for introducing days of the week and food.  The "eating" pages contain repetitive language that's easy for children to join in with.

In Je m'habille et je te croque a wolf puts on his clothes before coming to eat you.  Children would be able to create their own version with perhaps a different animal and different clothes. 

Maman! by Mario Ramos only has one word (Maman) on each page.  A little boy runs from room to room in the house looking for his maman, not noticing that in each room there are a different number of animals.  This book is great for numbers, animals and plural forms.

The rabbit in Bon appétit! Monsieur Lapin decides that he doesn't like carrots anymore, and goes to ask some other animals what they eat.  The language is nice and repetitive, and introduces you to things like "Pouah!" and "Beurk!"  A good example of how direct speech works in French, and introduces some new food words, which children will be able to work out using their general knowledge.

The parents of the little crocodile in Je mangerais bien un enfant try to tempt him with bananas, sausages and chocolate cake, but all he wants to eat is a child.  The language is more complex than in the previous titles, but it could be simplified.

Toutes les couleurs introduces colours as a little white rabbit gets stained with different colours while playing outside, before being bathed in blue water by his mother.

The little dinosaur in Pop mange de toutes les couleurs takes on the colours of everything he eats until he is a rainbow dinosaur.  The language is a little more complex than in the previous title, but it also introduces similes and colloquialisms.

Petit poisson blanc is looking for his mother and comes across lots of other sea creatures who are different colours in the process.  Children could create their own version of this story, using different animals and a different main character.

The La petite boule blanche series shows how pictures can be built up using a series of shapes, and each of the books has a different language focus.  My favourite is La petite boule blanche au pays des contes, which focuses on nasal sounds.

Mots rimés pour lire sans trébucher has a series of poems and rhymes which focus on specific phonemes.  Excellent for phonics.

And finally for intercultural understanding there is the La Terre vue d'Alban series, produced by the team that brought us Earth from the Air.  Comment vivent les enfants dans le monde? has photos of children in the places where they live, with information about each one and a commentary by Alban the fish.

So these are the French books that I have.  I'd love to hear about yours!