Stories from BookBox are a wonderful resource for building reading and listening skills in Spanish. BookBox creates animated books with Same Language Subtitling (SLS) to support reading and literacy development around the world. They have a great website with dozens of stories that can be viewed in different languages at no cost. The not-for-profit enterprise PlanetRead is the parent organization of BookBox. Through PlanetRead, BookBox gifts one hour of reading to a beginning reader for every story watched. So, as your kids are learning Spanish, they are helping another child learn to read.
At present, BookBox has 13 animated stories in Spanish with Spanish subtitles that children can watch free online on their site or on the BookBox channel on YouTube. For all the stories, you can download a free PDF of the text and audio mp3 of the story. Ten of the Spanish stories also have games to play online or download and coloring pages to download and print.
The narration of these stories is excellent. It is done by native speakers with natural expression, but at a pace that allows children to take in the illustrations and the text. The animated images are designed to support the narration. They will help Spanish language learners understand the words they hear and read on the screen. Also, text-sound association is an excellent way for beginning readers to develop literacy skills. The difficulty of the stories varies, but if you are looking for a place to begin, El pequeño pianista is one of the simpler stories for Spanish language learners.
The games are an excellent way to follow-up the stories and reinforce the language. They are based on illustrations and provide an opportunity to talk about the characters and the storyline. Teachers and parents can use these activities to focus on important Spanish vocabulary and structures. The games include a puzzle, a game where players clear bricks to uncover a picture, and a memory game where players find matching pairs of pictures.
Under Activities you will find coloring pages for ten of the stories in Spanish. Again, these are based on illustrations and talking about them is an excellent way to give children repeated exposure to language from the story.
The games and coloring pages are not language-specific and so all of the stories are all listed together. For now, these are the ten stories available in Spanish that have games and coloring pages:
Santa’s Christmas / La navidad de Santa
Elephant Goes to the City / Un elefante va a la ciudad
The First Well / El primer pozo
The Whispering Palms / Las palmeras susurrantes
The Four Friends / Los cuatro amigos
Zippy the Zebra / Zippi
The Boo in the Shoe / El kato en el zapato
Tucket the Bucket / Hugo el cubo
The Elves and the Shoemaker / Los elfos y el zapatero
Turtle’s Flute / Tortuga y su flauta
BookBox is an wonderful resource for parents and teachers introducing children to Spanish. These stories provide exposure to native-speaker Spanish in a context that supports comprehension. In addition, research supports Same Language Subtitling in the development of literacy skills. In any language, these entertaining, positive stories are a wonderful addition to a child’s world.
You may also be interested in this post: 7 Fun Free Websites to Kids Reading in Spanish This Summer