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Reading Children’s Spanish Literature in Your Elementary Spanish Class

Reading children’s Spanish literature is a critical aspect of the Sonrisas Approach. We have taken a lot of time to find quality children’s books in Spanish to read in the Sonrisas lessons. One of our mantras at Sonrisas Spanish School is “If we can find a good book, then we can teach a great lesson.”

A prerequisite for an effective elementary Spanish lesson is the opportunity for students to connect with the content of the lesson. If they can’t connect with the content, there is no way for them to engage. And without engagement, they simply won’t learn. Children love books, and a great book creates an immediate connection for them. Many great children’s books are distinguished by the quality of their illustrations. Children are drawn into the story, theme, and mood of the book through pictures. And when the text is in Spanish, children have the opportunity to engage in an authentic Spanish experience.

According to ACTFL, (the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Language) an “authentic” text is defined as a text prepared by and for native speakers of the target language. According to this definition, children’s Spanish literature is an ideal authentic text for teaching elementary Spanish to children. Even children’s books that have been translated into Spanish can be authentic texts. The themes in quality children’s books are universal, and children of all cultures can appreciate them. As long as the translation is true to the story and well-written (which usually means that it has been translated by a native speaker), the book can engage children and transcend cultural barriers.

The definition of literature that we embrace is all writing considered to have permanent value, excellence of form, and great emotional effect. We scrutinize each book used in the Sonrisas lessons to ensure they stand up to these standards. Reading high-quality literature to your students offers them the opportunity to connect to the content of the lesson and offers several other benefits to the elementary Spanish language classroom as well. More on these benefits in the next post.

Sonrisas Spanish School creates, publishes, and sells preschool and elementary Spanish curriculum and Spanish music for children. The Sonrisas Spanish School Curriculum can be used to teach Spanish to children at the preschool and elementary level, as well as home school Spanish. The Sonrisas Curriculum consists of fun, effective, standards-based lessons for the most effective language-learning experience for kids—one based on human-to-human interaction.

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