If you are reading this post you probably have bought or read a bilingual book to your classroom or child. You probably put some thought on how to use the book. Should I read back and forth between the two languages? Should I read it twice? Should I cover one language with my hand so that my students don’t get confused? I asked colleagues and bilingual parents if they had a favorite way to read a bilingual book and it seems that there is some confusion about how to take advantage of these types of books.
So, are there advantages of buying and reading bilingual books? In my opinion the answer is: Yes! I think that it’s not as intuitive as one would expect, but with a few tips I’m sure you will find that they are a great classroom and home reading resource.
Here are a few tips on how to maximize your bilingual books:
1. Choose the right age group: It sounds obvious but many times we are so excited to find bilingual books that we overlook the age group, the story or the amount of text in each page.
2. Reader’s Theater: Is a way to practice and improve student’s fluency and speaking skills. Choose a bilingual book or make a script from a bilingual book that is easy to follow and has a few characters. The niños don’t have to memorize the script, but it is always better if they have an opportunity to read the story before the activity. Some children will read the text in English and some the text in Spanish. Switch the groups, so that everyone has a chance to read in both languages.
3. Story familiarity: This is one of my best tricks I used with my Spanish immersion students. During the first few weeks of class, I read Spanish or bilingual books that my students were already familiar with in English. It was always easier for them to follow the story and feel more comfortable with the new language (Spanish).
4. Easy to read: Even if your child or student is fluent on both languages they might appreciate reading bilingual books that are easy to read. They can see how each word is spelled in both languages.
Last but not least! Here are two bilingual mini books you can read and color. You can do a reader’s theater activity or simply have your students read each mini book by themselves. Each book has a questionary at the end.
Bilingual mini books
Let me know what you think!
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