Oso en el trabajo is a Spanish language picture book that follows Oso, un cartero, as he delivers mail to the community. The rhyming text and beautiful illustrations lead children through a town populated by adorable bears. As Oso visits la florista, el panadero, el maestro and other workers, kids learn words for different professions. This Spanish story for kids is an excellent choice for children learning the language. Oso en el trabajo was written by Stella Blackstone and illustrated by Debbie Harter. It is published by Barefoot Books and available for purchase on their website.
Although the text of this story does not follow a strict pattern, the verb llevar is repeated on most of the pages, with a direct and indirect object: Le lleva (cartas, paquetes, postales, etc) al (panadero, granjero, maestro). The meaning of this key phrase is always clarified and reinforced in the illustrations as you see Oso delivering the mail to each worker. All of the bears are shown at work, so parents and teachers have the opportunity to talk about the different places and what happens in each one.
Activities for Spanish Story: Oso en el Trabajo
The text and illustrations of this Spanish story for kids lend themselves to a variety of language activities. Here are a few suggestions for reinforcing and expanding on the language in the book with children learning Spanish.
Identify words from the text in the illustrations.
Use the illustrations to clarify the meaning of the words in the text. Point to the pictures as you say the words. If the items are in several illustrations, use the words again as you talk to your child about the pictures. This vocabulary from the text is supported by the illustrations.
el saco – sack
la postal (la tarjeta postal) – postcard
la carta – letter
la caja – box
el diario – newspaper
la casa – house
el libro – book
el mercado – market
la taza – cup
la escuela – school
el paquete – package
el niño – child
el regalo – present
Use the illustrations to reinforce and expand vocabulary by pointing out items not mentioned in the story.
You can point to illustrations in Spanish stories for kids to help them learn vocabulary even if the words are not in the text. Point to items in the pictures using complete sentences with verbs like veo and hay: Veo una abeja. Hay muchas flores. If the vocabulary is new, just point to the words as you say the sentences. When your child knows the words, you can ask ¿Dónde está..?, ¿Ves…? and ¿Puedes encontrar…?
el gato – cat
la abeja -bee
la flor – flower
el pan – bread
el pastel (la torta) – cake
el sol – sun
el buzón – mailbox
la arena – sand
el perro – dog
las frutas – fruit
la cuchara – spoon
la mesa – table
la silla – chair
la bolsa – purse
las formas – shapes
el triángulo – triangle
el círculo – circle
el cuadrado – square
el lápiz – pencil
la regla – ruler
el pájaro – bird
la vaca – cow
la oveja – sheep
el conejo – rabbit
el tractor – tractor
la gallina – chicken
la tarjeta – card
la cama – bed
el globo – balloon
el reloj – clock
la lámpara – lamp
Use word families to help kids see the relationships between words and expand their vocabulary.
Most of the words for professions in the story have root words that are common vocabulary. Those items appear in the pictures, so you can point to them and relate them to the words for the professions: Hay muchas flores. La florista vende flores. Veo pan. El panadero vende pan. La mesera lleva la comida a la mesa.
la florista – flor
el panadero – pan
el cartero – carta
la mesera – mesa
el granjero – granja
la tendera – tienda
At the end of book, there is an picture of all the professions with the question ¿Ves a estos osos en el cuento? This activity provides the opportunity to repeat the profession vocabulary and also mention the related words again as children look for the different bears in the story.
Create an opportunity to use the language in the story through imaginative play.
With a scene or model of the city in the story, children can use the words in the text as they play. There are different ways to create a city, including building a simple one with blocks. One of my favorite options is using paper bags as buildings. You can see a great photo of that craft here. I also love the printable paper city from Made by Joel. However you make your city, you will need to make paper bears to be your residents.
Move your bears around the city and as you play use the words from the story. Your sentences can be simple:
– Hola, Florista. Las flores son bonitas.
– Hola, Cartero. Gracias. ¿Hay cartas para mí?
– Sí, tengo dos cartas para ti.
Help children hear the rhyme in the story.
The rhyming text of Oso en el trabajo develops children’s ability to hear the vowel sounds in Spanish. Based on the rhythm and rhyme, they begin to predict what sounds they will hear next. You can help children hear the rhyme by reading the story in a fluid, rhythmic manner. These are the rhyming pairs in the story:
ocupado – pesado
panadero – mañanero
ocupado – mercado
té – tres (assonant rhyme)
casar – despertar
día – alegría
Once kids are familiar with the vocabulary, they will be able to complete sentences with these rhymes. If your students or children can read and write, they can do a simple sentence completion like the one on this printable – Rhyming words in Oso en el trabajo.
Act out the story to reinforce and extend language learning.
This Spanish story for kids lends itself to all kinds of play-acting. Children can play the parts of different workers, and the mail carrier can deliver letters. With preschoolers, this is a great game for practicing greetings. It is also good for name recognition if kids match names on letters to names on mailboxes. With older language learners, you can brainstorm common phrases for the different professions using the words in the text and other simple vocabulary.
Playing charades is another fun way to act out worker vocabulary. Kids can choose a profession from the set at the back of the book and act it out. The others try to guess what profession it is. You can also have kids draw a word or phrase from a jar and act it out. In addition to the professions, you can include phrases using other vocabulary from the story: Lleva un saco muy pesado. Come pan. Le lleva flores a su mamá. Toma una taza de té.
Do related writing activities.
Postcards or letters make excellent writing projects for kids. They can draw postcards or use pre-made ones. I have a big collection of postcards from Mexico and Peru where they are given away as publicity for concerts and art exhibits. Kids can write simple messages in Spanish to family and friends.
Giveaway from Barefoot Books
This giveaway is now closed. Thank you to everyone who entered. I loved reading the future professions your kids are considering!
Barefoot Books is giving away a copy of Oso en el trabajo to a Spanish Playground reader. To enter, just tell us what your child, or a student, wants to be when she or he grows up. Put your answer in comments below. You can also enter on the Facebook post about this book. This giveaway ends on Wednesday, Oct. 16th at midnight (central).
Visit the Barefoot Books website to purchase Oso en casa and other wonderful books. You can find activities, crafts, podcasts and videos on their page For Kids.
You may also be interested in these posts: Spanish Story for Kids – Oso en Casa Activities and Spanish Stories for Kids – Nos Vamos a México Activities
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