Are you looking for an excellent collection of Spanish tongue twisters for children? In his picture book El torneo de trabalenguas / The Tongue Twister Tournament, author Nicolás Kanellos offers a wonderful selection. He also makes the rhymes accessible to language learners by creating a context for reading and practicing Spanish tongue twisters. Thanks to Piñata Books, an imprint of Arte Público Press, for providing this book as a part of Multicultural Children’s Book Day.
Find the entire marvelous collection of 2017 multicultural children’s book resources in this link-up of reviews and activities.
El torneo de trabalenguas / The Tongue Twister Tournament
The characters in El torneo de trabalenguas / The Tongue Twister Tournament participate in a tongue twister contest where “el mejor torturador de nuestras lenguas” wins. In other words, the story incorporates the idea that readers will say the trabalenguas and decide which is the most difficult.
I love this premise because it establishes that the more we stumble over the words, the better the tongue twister! It gives children license to try to say the rhymes, and to evaluate each tricky set of sounds.
In addition to the context of the contest, the participants are fun, memorable characters that fit the tongue twisters they present. In fact, after hearing the story, children can identify them on the cover and recall the tongue twister the character shared. The illustrations of the presenters also include visual clues to key words in the rhymes.
El torneo de trabalenguas / The Tongue Twister Tournament is a dual language book, with text in both Spanish and English. The tongue twisters are well-done in both languages, but I love the Spanish in particular. Many of the Spanish tongue twisters are versions of traditional rhymes and loaded with culture. At the back of the book, there is also a collection of traditional tongue twisters in both languages. Pakapaka also has a fun collection of Spanish tongue twisters online, complete with video. You can purchase the book from Arte Público Press or from Amazon.
Activities with Spanish Tongue Twisters
Whether you are reading this book at home with your family or with a class, try activities that expand on the fun and learning.
Illustrate and Present – Children choose a tongue twister to illustrate and share. Their drawings will help them understand, learn and present the Spanish tongue twisters.
Incorporate Actions – Choose actions for children to do with sounds or words that are repeated in the Spanish tongue twisters. Choose actions that represent the meaning of a word, or stand up and sit down for a certain sound or word. For example, with the tongue twister Beto rebota la bola from the story, kids can stand up/sit down each time they say rebota.
You can also touch your head for one sound and your shoulders for another. Once students know the actions, they can do them faster and faster as they say the tongue twister.
Line by Line – This activity is fun and gives kids a chance to learn Spanish tongue twisters with a friend. In pairs, student say the tongue twister alternating lines. They must listen carefully to try to keep the rhythm going and say the tongue twister as quickly as possible.