I love using story sticks with kids learning Spanish. The pictures reinforce what they hear, and the movement helps them process the language. Children use the stick to order pictures of a story as they listen. These printable templates are free, the sticks are simple to make, and they are based on great books. Also, kids really like using them.
On the site Making Learning Fun, you will find printable templates to make story sticks for the Spanish versions of three books: Oso pardo, oso pardo ¿Qué ves ahí? (Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see?), La araña muy ocupada (The Very Busy Spider), and La oruga muy hambrienta (The Very Hungry Caterpillar). You can also use the Brown Bear story stick with a great song by 1-2-3 Spanish Together called ¿Qué ves ahí? from their Jump into Spanish CD.
For two of the stories, you use paint stirrers and Velcro to make the story sticks. They are very simple, and there are directions on Making Learning Fun. You put Velcro on the paint stick, and Velcro on the back of the picture squares. As children listen to the story in Spanish, they attach the pictures in order. The directions call for laminating the pictures. That would make them more durable, but I have had good luck with printing them on card stock. For La oruga muy hambrienta (The Very Hungry Caterpillar), the picture squares have a hole in them and the children thread them on a pipe cleaner as they hear the story.
Click here for a story stick to use with the Spanish version of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see?.
Click here for a story stick to use with the Spanish version of The Very Busy Spider.
Click here for a story stick to use with the Spanish version of The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
These story sticks make it easy to provide lots of support as a child is learning new Spanish vocabulary and then moves gradually to using more language. The first step is to just read the story to your child, letting her listen, but not using the story stick. Next, be sure that she can see the illustrations as you read to help her order the pictures on the story stick. As she gets more confident, you can tell parts of the story without showing the illustrations. Remember, the first few pictures are the hardest because she has more pictures to choose from, so it is important to give support with the illustrations from the book. Soon she will be able to order the story as she listens without seeing the illustrations at all.
A completed story stick is a great Spanish speaking prompt. All these stories have a pattern. Between the pattern and the support of the pictures, children can learn to tell the story in Spanish.
You can print the templates for these story sticks in black and white or in color. Coloring the pictures is a good Spanish language learning activity for children – just talk about the pictures as they color. You can also print the color version, attach the Velcro and the kids can get right to using the story sticks as you read to them.