El fandango de Lola is a story about individualism and family, about finding talents and sharing them with people you love. This enchanting story of a little girl who discovers flamenco is an excellent choice for Spanish language learners. The story uses vocabulary associated with home and daily routines. In addition, the spunky protagonist pulls readers into the culturally-rich world of the story – a warm, supportive family. El fandango de Lola can be puchased with an audio CD, an excellent resource for children learning Spanish, teachers and parents. El Fandango de Lola is written by Anna Witte and published by Barefoot Books.
Several features of El Fandango de Lola make it an especially effective book to use with children learning Spanish.
The setting of a story influences how accessible and effective it is for children learning Spanish. Exposure to relevant, natural language is essential. El fandango de Lola takes place in a household as a family goes about their daily routines. This setting is reflected in the text: cocina, cuarto, puerta, closet, pasillo, techo, mesa, reloj, pared, desayuno, vecinos, escoba, ropa, hacer la cama, lavarse los dientes, peinarse el cabello, vestido, zapatos.
The native-speaker audio on the CD is a boon for parents and teachers of children learning Spanish. We all love to read to kids, but there are times when a little help is wonderful! Also, if you are not a native speaker this is one of the best and easiest ways to provide more exposure to perfect pronunciation. Once children are familiar with the illustrations, they can listen to it anywhere, even if they don’t have the book. The audio is excellent, with different narrators for each character. The tempo, clarity and perfect pronunciation make it a wonderful resource.
The illustrations by Micha Archer use colors and patterns to create a rich backdrop to wonderfully expressive characters. Lola comes to life through her eyes and smile – just look closely at the cover and you will get an idea of what I mean! The illustrations will captivate young readers, and they also correspond closely to the storyline, helping children understand the text.
The cultural content of El fandango de Lola centers on flamenco, introducing the music, rhythm and steps of the traditional dance with the help of the audio. The illustrations also present the typical colors and patterns of flamenco dresses and fans. There is additional information about el flamenco and el fandango at the back of the book. Other elements, like the azotea and the description of the party, also contribute to the cultural richness of the story.
El fandango de Lola is an excellent choice to read with children learning Spanish. Consider these activities and printables.
Spanish Story Activities and Printables: El Fandango de Lola
1. Listen to the audio CD with the book and act out selected verbs. There is lots of movement and kids love taking part in the story. These are a few of the actions children can do as they listen: dar palmadas, alzar los brazos, chasquear, taconear.
2. This activity summarizes the main events in the story in short sentences. It is an excellent way of ensuring that children understand what happened and of giving them support to retell the story.
3. Printable activity – Match vocabulary to events. This activity is a good way of reviewing the story and some of the key vocabulary. As you review the activity, children can explain how the word is related to the sentence. You can also provide this information and support it with the illustrations to provide more comprehensible input.
4. Play with the sound effects in the book. There are lots of fun sound effects written out in the story. You can make a sound and have kids tell you which is it (¡piiii! ¡piiii! – coches , tictictictic – maquina de coser) or say the word and have them make the sound. You can make up sounds for other words in the text like el reloj and la lluvia.
5. Watch online videos of flamenco. There are many videos of flamenco dances available online. This one is kids performing at the Spanish Embassy in Washington, DC. There is also a cute Sesame Street counting video with flamenco dancers.
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