Bilingual Children's Books Reading Activities
Let’s face it: As parents, we’d love to be able to just hand our children bilingual books for kids and have them explore and learn on their own for hours, but that isn’t quite how it works! When it comes to reading with the purpose of introducing and practicing a second language, it’s important to consider that parent-child interaction and engaging children in the reading experience are just as important as reaching for the book. But, rest easy, because we’re here to guide you with simple activities you can do as you read your Binibi sound books, or other bilingual books, to entertain your child and facilitate the language learning process for him or her.
We previously discussed the benefits of dialogic reading (Encouraging Bilingualism Through Dialogic Reading - Part 1 & Encouraging Bilingualism Through Dialogic Reading - Part 2) for expanding your child’s vocabulary in their second language. Incorporating dialogic reading throughout all reading activities is key to get the most out of them! That said, below are more ideas on how to make your reading experience a truly interactive one, all of which can be practiced with our children's sound books! Remember, that depending on your child’s age, the way they interact will vary, but no matter what, rest assured they are learning, and you are expanding their learning by going beyond the words on the page.
1. Play songs
Binibi’s musical books are a great way to play and sing along to catchy Spanish kids songs, recorded by hispanic artists, that provide rhyme and repetition which are crucial for language learning. Our interactive musical books for toddlers, such as Los Pollitos Dicen & Other Nursery Rhymes, are great tools for practicing popular nursery rhymes in Spanish as well as Spanish lullabies that foster Spanish learning for kids.
2. Elaborate upon images
You can also discuss the images that complement the songs. Here are some of the things you can say to make associations between the song and the images:
- “Look at the monkey’s boo-boo, that’s what happened when he jumped on the bed!” or “Mira la herida del mono, eso le pasó por saltar en la cama!” (Cinco monitos song in the Estrellita ¿Dónde estás? book)
- “What other animals do you see in the farm besides the duck?” or “¿Qué otros animales ves en la granja aparte del pato?” or “What other animals do you see in the farm besides the duck?” (En la granja de mi tío song in the Sol Solecito & Other Nursery Rhymes book)
- “¿Puedes encontrar la leche de los lobitos? ¿Donde esta?” or “Can you find the wolves’ milk? Where is it?” (Cinco Lobitos song in the Sol Solecito book)
3. Pair with hand gestures and expression
Using hand gestures, facial expressions and different voice tones as you read and sing along is a great way to not only engage and stimulate your child, but also to make the meaning of new words clearer.
- For example, as you sing “Si tu tienes muchas ganas de aplaudir” in our Sol Solecito book, clap your hands so that your child associates the clapping with the word “aplaudir or “clap”.
- Another example is, as you listen to the "Cinco monitos" song in our Estrellita ¿Dónde Estás? book and discuss it, you can make a surprised or sad face, bang your hand against your head, and say something like, "Look at the monkey's boo-boo on his forehead. He shouldn't have jumped on the bed! Remember when you got a boo-boo at the park? Did mommy also put a bandaid on your boo-boo?"
4. Alternate between languages
Reading and singing in both English and Spanish can help your child find correlations between words in both languages. Dual language books (Spanish/English) are great tools for practicing this! Remember, each parent can read and sing in the language they’re most comfortable with.
5. Play games as you go through the book
- Play a game of “I Spy” or “Yo veo” or simply ask your child “Can you find the bee? ” or “¿Puedes encontrar la abeja”
- All Binibi books have a bee that can be found in different parts of every page. Challenge your little one to locate it as you read to keep them on their toes! You can also do this for different elements on the page. Ask your little one to find specific animals and items as you continue to introduce new words in Spanish!
- As your child gets older, use the elaborate images to introduce colors, numbers, and shapes! Challenge them with questions that will feel like a game. For example, “¿De qué color es el elefante?” or “What color is the elephant?” You can also say something like, “¿Cuántos monos hay en el árbol?” or “How many monkeys are on the tree?"
- Give the children's sound books to your child and have them play with them; let them flip through the pages and land on the page they are most interested in.
- Take your books on adventures outside the house so your child can relate the content to real life. For example, try taking the Visiting- Visitando La Playa book to the beach or the Visiting- Visitando La Granja book to the farm and point out similarities to each other. For example, if you see little chicks, you can say "Mira los pollitos! Como los pollitos del libro de La Granja!" or "Look at the chicks! Like the chicks in the farm book!"
- As you see items that relate to the books at home or elsewhere, point them out in similar language, so the next time you open up the book, you could discuss what your child saw. For example, you can point out the stars outside the window at night and say, “Estrellita ¿Dónde estás? Mira, ahi esta!” or “Little star, where are you? Look, there it is!” as you point to the stars above. The next time you read Binibi’s Estrellita ¿Dónde Estás? book, you can say, “Te acuerdas cuando vimos las estrellitas en el cielo? Miralas aca tambien!” or “Remember when we saw the stars in the sky? Look at them here also!” as you point to the image.
That’s right, making the reading experience interactive and engaging, is that simple! All it takes is using your voice, hands, facial expressions and imagination (beautifully-made bilingual baby books don't hurt, either) to take your reading experience to the next level, help your child grasp new vocabulary in the target language and be a really fun parent while you're at it!