Taro Gomi’s book My Friends/Mis amigos is one of my favorites to read with kids. The book teaches Spanish animals and the infinitives of many common verbs. The bilingual edition of My Friends/Mis amigos (affiliate) has Spanish and English text.
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I love the concept of this book. A child tells how she has learned essential skills from her animal friends until she is off to school where new friends teach her new things. Mis amigos has one structure and substitutes a wonderful selection of Spanish animals and verbs. For example:
De mi amigo el gato, aprendí a caminar. / I learned to walk from my friend the cat.
De mi amigo el caballo, aprendí a correr. / I learned to run from my friend the horse.
De mi amigo la hormiga, aprendí a explorar la tierra. / I learned to explore the earth from my friend the ant.
The structure of the book lends itself to many activities with kids learning Spanish.
Activities to Teach Spanish Animals and More
– Use the pattern in the book to practice listening with young learners. Each time they hear the words mi amigo have them clasp their hands, put a hand over their heart or do another action.
– Kids can repeat the phrase De mi amigo/amiga with you as you read.
– The structure of this book lets children complete each sentence with Spanish animals using the illustration. After you read de mi amigo, pause and let your child point to the animal on the page. Then complete the phrase de mi amigo el gallo, de mi amigo el caballo, etc. This is a wonderful learning experience because the child is completely focused on the meaning and actually prompts the language she will hear.
– Act the book out, doing the different actions as you read the story.
– Use paper cut-outs, stick puppets, or toys of the animals to make them do the actions as you read.
– Do the yoga sequence for this story on Kids Yoga Stories. Say the Spanish animals as you do the poses.
cat – el gato
dog – el perro
horse – el caballo
butterfly – la mariposa
rabbit – el conejo
– Help kids personalize the story as you read by asking ¿De quién? questions: ¿Dé quien aprendiste a explorar la tierra?
– Play charades. Act out an animal in the story for others to guess.
– Kids can make their own version as the story thinking of things they have learned to do. They can make a book and draw illustrations, or use photos of their family members and friends.
My Friends/ Mis amigos is captivating. It appeals to a child’s awareness of time, her surroundings, and all she has learned. In addition, the book is an excellent choice for Spanish language learners. The strong correlation of the text to the illustrations and the repetition of one grammatical structure let children experience and absorb the Spanish animals and common verbs.
Visit Kids Yoga Stories for yoga sequences for other themes.
Join us next month for more kids yoga, Spanish, and stories. Check out our schedule for the year:
2013-2014 Spanish and Kids Yoga Monthly Book Themes
August: Bill Martin Jr.
September: Latin America
April: Animal Friends