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!


  1. Thank you so much Clare for adding this list of books!
    Kind regards, Ana

  2. Hi Clare, I have looked at your list of books and followed the links to buy them, really useful, thanks a lot. I have also been searching for songs and bought a few CDs (but the songs are not what I expected:( So I spent hours searching online. I love (you might like it too)
    I have been trying to find a good CD/DVD, all my students (from year 1-6) are beginners. Is there any particular nice CDS/DVDs that you could recommend (with songs, interactions etc). I've come across a few but I was given a limited budget and would like to use it in to get things that are really worth...all other materials, I'm creating myself and your ideas have helped me lots!

  3. Thanks Clare. This list is very useful and I love the books :-)

  4. I used "Hola Berta" and "La Semana de Berta" in a whole-school project for World book Week. After reading the stories to the class we did a quiz about the activities Berta the Witch does each day. Then the children enjoyed changing the activities to make their own stories. There is a crossword & wordsearch in the books as well as keyword lists. There are more books in the series in French.