I have recommended the Caballo alado clásico collection of Spanish stories with audio CDs to parents many times. Last week I used two of the stories in class again, and I was reminded of how much I like them for Spanish language learners.
Each of these books has four Spanish stories. The stories include fairy tales like La bella durmiente (Sleeping Beauty) and Cenicienta (Cinderella) and also well-known stories like Caperucita Roja (Little Red Riding Hood) and El pastor mentiroso (The Boy who Cried Wolf). The collection has three levels – Al Paso, Al Trote and Al Galope – and there are two books at each level.
These Spanish stories work really well with language learners. The books are not for very beginners, but advanced beginners can enjoy these stories with support. The tales are familiar, so children can draw on their knowledge of the plot and characters to help them understand new vocabulary. The versions of the stories in these books, at all levels, are short and focused on plot. There is enough detail to make them interesting and to create the tone of the story, but there is not so much descriptive language that the story is hard to follow. Also, the stories are short enough and there are enough illustrations that the most important characters, objects, settings and actions are clearly represented in the pictures.
The narration of the stories on the audio CD is excellent. The pacing is just right for children, and the expression and sound effects help listeners understand what is happening. This is an effective and fun way to expose children to native-speaker Spanish.
This collection is published in Spain, by Combel Editorial, so the vosotros form is used in some of the stories. I do not teach this form, but children have no trouble understanding it. I think it is good for them to be exposed to the variation in accent, vocabulary and grammar that naturally comes from using materials from different countries.
I have been really happy with the Spanish stories in this collection of books. The length and level of the familiar stories and the excellent audio make them a valuable resource for teachers and parents. My students like them and parents are happy to have an easy-to-use resource that exposes their kids to lots of native-speaker Spanish.
All of these books are available from Amazon.
Caperucita Roja, Ricitos de Oro, Pulgarcita, El patito feo (Caballo alado clásico + CD)
La vieja del bosque, El pequeño abeto, Blancanieves, Los cisnes salvajes (Caballo alado clásico + CD)
El pastor mentiroso, Como la sal, El soldadito de plomo, El león y el ratón (Caballo alado clásico + CD)
La ratita presumida, El ruisenor, Los tres cerditos, La lechera (Caballo alado clásico + CD)
El flautista de Hamelin, Los músicos de Bremen, El traje nuevo del emperador, El zapatero y los duendes (Caballo alado clásico + CD)
La bella durmiente, Cenicienta, La sirenita, La cigarra y la hormiga (Caballo alado clásico + CD)