Learning Spanish can be easy for young children who get the appropriate practice and support from parents at home. Many parents of young children see the benefits in teaching Spanish to babies and toddlers who are just beginning to grasp early literacy skills. If you are wondering how to teach your child Spanish at home, consider using fun, colorful props or pictures that make learning a new language a fun game. In Pam Schiller's Preschool Photo Activity Library, parents can teach emerging receptive and expressive literacy skills through the use of large photo cards.
Using photo cards with the English and Spanish names of objects pictured on the back is a great way to teach a second language at home. Some of Dr. Schiller's tips for using this method include:
- Use the cards with daily routines or events that occur spontaneously. For example, if you see a ladybug, get out the ladybug card and use it to expand children's knowledge.
- Cut a 2" square in a sheet of black construction paper and place it over the photo so only part of the photo shows. Ask children to predict what the photo is using only what they see in the exposed area of the photo.
- Add to the songs and fingerplays on the backs of the cards by printing your own fingerplays and songs on sticky notes. Stick them to the backs of the cards to reinforce the vocabulary or concept on the card.
In The Preschool Photo Activity Library, a durable carrying case holds 11"x8.5" cards with an image designed to stimulate discussion, such as a child playing on a playground, or a zebra, or a child reading a book. The back of the card has many elements related to the image, including:
- Spanish word for each card
- An American Sign Language sign
- Questions or comments to spark conversations and discussions with children
- Songs or poems to sing and say with children
- Related activities
- Children's book suggestions
The 450 cards are great for dual language learners and children with special needs as well. Using the suggestions in "Things to Talk About" will expand children's language. The ideas in "Things to Do" will bring the new vocabulary and new concepts into meaningful context for the children.