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Home Learning

Spanish Outside of the Classroom

Here are some easy ways to encourage your student to be pursuing Spanish outside of the classroom:

  • Change the language of any DVD to Spanish
  • Arrange a play date with a Spanish-speaking classmate
  • Encourage your child to read in Spanish aloud to a younger student
  • Call a Spanish-speaker and have a conversation for 20 minutes
  • Attend Hispanic cultural events in the area
  • Whenever you see Spanish signs in the environment, read them! Ask your student what they say.
  • Check out books from the local library in Spanish
  • Hire a Spanish tutor to supplement for more language exposure
  • Host an exchange student

Helpful apps and websites to look into:

- Santillana has lots of wonderful apps for kids reading in Spanish. The stories in the series El baul encantado are a good fit for beginning readers and Spanish language learners. For example, Oto y el doctor and Lina juega al escondite use common vocabulary in complete, natural sentences. Search El baul encantado in the App Store for more in the series and search Santillana for all their stories and games.

- Blue Quoll has apps and ibooks of fun “re-invented” versions of familiar fairy tales. The language is more difficult than the El baul encantado series from Santillana, but the stories are familiar. Knowing the traditional fairy tales will help kids with comprehension and language acquisition. The stories are listed by their English titles, for example Puss in Boots – The Great Adventure, or Mr. Wolf and the Ginger Cupcakes – Red Riding Hood. Search Blue Quoll in the App Store to see all the apps and iBooks.

-  Kitu Kids has two apps that let children explore the rainforest in Spanish: Amazon Rainforest Discovery and Deep in the Rainforest. Both of these apps expose children to authentic Spanish language and native speaker audio. Reading in Spanish with these apps is more challenging than the ones mentioned above. However, the language is used in context and well supported by the graphics. These apps are an excellent way for native speakers and Spanish learners to practice reading in Spanish.

- Duolingo is an app and a website. The website is extremely well structured for a free language-learning program. It looks like a paid program. Duolingo has you drill through exercises, which are part of larger lessons, to learn basic words, phrases, and grammar. Then you practice what you've learned by working on translations of real-world content from blogs and websites. Other Duolingo users then rate these translations, a practice that has been shown in some studies to actually work (Duolingo was originally conceived at Carnegie Mellon University).

How do I help my child at home?

Use the language in which you are most comfortable. We encourage you to read to your child in his/her native language every night. Skills that your child learns in this/her first language will readily transfer to his/her second language.

What do I do when my child tells me he/she doesn’t understand the teacher?

This is more common with Kindergarten and new children in the program. The children might feel uncomfortable for the first month of school. The teacher makes instruction understandable through the use of a social studies and science program which challenges students to use the skills they have learned in math and language arts.