Best Books and TV Shows to Help Your Child Learn Spanish

Written by on January 7, 2013 in Family - No comments | Print this page

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dora-the-explorerMy daughter has heard Spanish since before she was born.  I was living in Guatemala while I was pregnant, so she heard me speaking Spanish every day.

We moved back to the USA about a month before she was born, and while I no longer need to speak Spanish on a daily basis, I do try to keep exposing her to the language.

We watch dvd’s in Spanish, and read stories too.  Starting this at a really young age made it easy, because the books are familiar now, and even if she doesn’t understand every word, she asks me to read them all the time.

Responding To Dora

Love her or hate her, Dora is effective.  I hear other moms joke about how Dora stares at you until you comply and repeat after her.  It’s true though, I answer Dora all the time, and not just to set an example.  Dora’s joy is contagious.

My daughter watches Dora episodes in English with Spanish words thrown in, and is just as happy watching episodes in Spanish where she teaches a few English words.  I read an interview recently with Gwyneth Paltrow where she said that she only lets her kids watch cartoons in a foreign language, and it made me wish that I had established that early on too.

Dora taught my one year old to count to eleven in Spanish and the first time I heard it, I was blown away.  Another thing I appreciate about Dora is that she encourages politeness.  Now when my little one puts up an invisible gate in front of me, she insists that I say, “Abre por favor.” before she will let me pass.

I know Dora hasn’t prepared her to carry on a conversation in Spanish, or even order a meal in a restaurant, but she does have a fundamental understanding, a big vocabulary, and a love for the language.

At The Library

We love story time at the local library.  The teacher there speaks English and the program is in English but there is a terrific selection of books in Spanish so we usually get a few to take home.  On our own bookshelf we have 2 books in a series called, “Cucu Te Veo” which is like peekaboo in Spanish, and these have been favorites in our reading rotation for over a year.

The illustrations are cute, and the Spanish is simple and straightforward.  My daughter is two and a half now, and she is aware that there are English words for things as well as Spanish words, so often she will ask me what we call something in Spanish.  She is also aware that she has an Abuela, like Dora, who speaks Spanish as well as English.

Don’t Forget The Dance Party

Another terrific way to introduce more Spanish is with music.  I have a playlist on the ipod that is kids music in Spanish.  Some classic tunes, Disney favorites, and some that I had never heard before.  We play music, sing and dance a lot, and not just to kids music, we listen to a salsa station on Pandora.

This is a guest post.  L Evans is one of many Spanish teachers currently supporting Glovico’s online program.

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