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Friday, September 22

Cambiale Las Pilas (Menudo)

Long before Ricky Martin became the solo act that most of you know, he was a member of 80s Puerto Rican group, Menudo.  This post title's catchy little ditty, about changing your life will have you bopping!

In our house, Spanish words were often used in substitution for English ones -- they call that Spanglish -- and it wasn't until adulthood that I realized how blessed we were to have grown up with that exposure.

Did you know that less than 25% of elementary schools offer foreign language?  And yet, studies repeatedly show us that the earlier children are exposed to another language, the faster they'll pick up on it and retain it.

In our home, we teach both Latin and Spanish (see our Latin posts here).  We teach them in school, but also go out of the way to use the vocabulary and phrases in everyday life, for better retention.  We also find that reading stories helps with better retention.

One of the Spanish stories we recently struck upon is ¡HOLA! Let’s Learn Spanish!  It's designed for younger children (under 10) and at once both a living story and a base curriculum rolled up into one.

¡HOLA! Let’s Learn Spanish is a great introduction to the language. This is part of a series of books that teach basic foreign language skills and cultural awareness.  In this episode, Pete the Pilot takes us to Mexico and we follow a jumping bean, Panchito, from field to fiesta!  Spanish phrases, vocabulary, and culture is introduced throughout the text.
Things we really like:
  • There are several color illustrations, and the text is larger print than a typical book.  These things make it easy to follow along, visually, as you go through the book.  Also, all of the Spanish words are in bold print – making it easy to pick them out – and typically either just before or just after an English translation (though not always).
  • You can download the audio version of the book for free to read along.  The author narrates, which helps with learning pronunciation, while you can follow along in your book.
  • As a parent, if you know no Spanish, don’t feel intimidated.   You won’t need Google translate…everything you want to know is in the glossary at the back!  You and your child will learn greetings, basic phrases, numbers, days of the week, short phrases to express emotions, and a handful of other words. 
  • There are printable worksheets to accompany the sections for added practice.

Sections of the book include :
  • The story itself : Pete the Pilot and Panchito (the jumping bean) take you on an adventure through Mexico
  • It’s Your Turn :  activities for practicing Spanish words & phrases
  • Culture Corner : learning about Mexican culture and more in-depth explanations of parts of the story (eg, all about the piƱata)
  • Hands-On Projects : three projects, including a craft project, complete with templates, for making masks to be used with the second project – a skit to act out, and a song (complete with sheet music) to go along with it
  • Glossary : Spanish words organized alphabetically by section and translated into English
Check out the book!!

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"Give your child the world: an early start for world languages."
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NABE Pinnacle Book Achievement Award Winner Winter 2017
Readers' Favorite Bronze Award Children's Educational 2017
Honorable Mention Educational Purple Dragonfly Book Award 2017

We received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are our own.

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