One of the first things kids learn in Spanish class is me gusta. Logically, they equate the structure with I like, but that logic trips them up for years! It takes lots of exposure and practice to internalize the correct structure of the verb. Even when kids conjugate the verb to match the correct subject, you will hear them say yo instead of a mí. The structure of gustar needs to sink into their brains over time. Music is great for this kind of exposure.
Songs have tremendous power to expose learners to correct grammar structures. Best of all, kids repeat them over and over as they sing. With preschool and elementary students, I choose songs based on thematic units, but I am also aware of the grammar points they are learning. I try to include songs with gustar on a regular basis. Fortunately, there are lots of songs that include me gusta or me gustan.
Kids especially need exposure to gustar accompanied by the phrase emphasizing the pronoun – a mí me gusta. At some point they start to hear the subject and relate the subject and verb. When they do, they naturally stop saying yo. Here are 9 songs that you can sing with kids to reinforce gustar.
A mí me gusta la fruta by Lonnie Dai Zovi
This song is more of a chant. It is excellent for teaching a mí también. Even kids who usually use me gusta correctly will say yo también to agree with someone saying me gusta. This song teaches the correct, very common, response.
Traigan sus pies by Calico Spanish. I like this song because it uses A todos los niños les gusta (bailar, cantar, aplaudir, etc.). Songs tend to use a mí me gusta and it is helpful to reinforce the other pronouns.
Jugo de naranja by Patti Lozano uses me gusta in the negative and has lots of food vocabulary.
A mí me gusta leer is another Rockalingua song that reinfoces the verb gustar and teaches vocabulary for fun characters.
Me gusta leer by Spanish Together is also about reading. It has much simpler lyrics and works well with younger students. You can listen to a clip of Me gusta leer on iTunes.
Preschoolers and kindergartens like the traditional song A mi mono le gusta la lechuga. The words are silly, about a monkey that likes his lettuce ironed flat, without any wrinkles. Like many traditional songs, there are several tunes. This is the version I know, but you can find other videos on YouTube with slightly different melodies.
Victor Hugo Santos has a couple of songs that reinforce gustar. You can hear clips on iTunes. One, Me gustan los colores uses gustar with lots of basic vocabulary. Another, Me gustan mis amigos , teaches physical descriptions.
For younger kids, you can also make up your own songs using gustar to familiar tunes. Older kids can sing along with popular songs, such as Lo que me gusta hacer by El Palacio de Linares. You can listen to the song and read the lyrics here.
CC Image by Gareth Williams