If my students can already read in English, I delay reading in Spanish until they have a good sense of the sound of the language and a range of vocabulary and structures. This is because children who already read in English automatically associate the letters they see with the English sounds and then mispronounce words, even if they know them really well.
When I do introduce the letter sounds, I do it the same way you teach children to read in Spanish as a first language – with syllables formed by the vowels and one consonant at a time.
Children learn, for example, ma, me, mi, mo, mu. Then they read sentences like Mi mamá me mima. Mi mamá me ama. (My mother spoils me. My mother loves me.)
Starting this way, kids cement the vowel sounds and have time to make the same associations between the letters and the Spanish sounds that they made when they were learning to read in English.
The activities that OnlineFreeSpanish has just added to their website are exactly what I described above: combining the vowel sounds with a consonant and then using those syllables in words.
The activities available now use Spanish syllables with B. First, the syllables are pronounced with great native-speaker audio. Then, each syllable is used in words and there is a picture of each word. Then, each of the words is used in sentences which also have pictures to clarify the meaning. There is audio for everything. Use the right-left arrows to move through the vowel sounds: ba, be, bi, bo, bu. Use the up-down arrows to see and hear the words for each syllable used in sentences.
To get the most out of this activity, I will use it for listening first and then encourage kids to repeat, modeling the pronunciation.
The pages can be printed, which gives you lots of options for activities away from the computer.
Try things like this:
- Cut the words apart in syllables. Use only two-syllable words to start. Put the syllables out face up. Cut out the pictures too and mix them up face down. Choose a picture, say it, find the syllables and put the word together.
- Separate the image from the word (or sentence) and let kids match them up. Encourage kids to read the word aloud being careful with the vowel sounds.
- Remove the word with the key syllable from the sentences (There are two sentences for each word. Choose one.) Kids complete the sentences with the correct word. Be sure to keep the pictures with the sentences to reinforce the meaning of the word.
Thanks, OnlineFreeSpanish. We are looking forward to more syllables!