Mi Libro Grande De Las Palabras

This is a really colorful, child-friendly book. It is completely in Spanish but still easy for a non-speaker to understand. No plot, just a label for each simple photo.

First Thousand Words in Spanish
This is a good curl-up-on-the-couch together and peruse book. Also, it is good to send a kid to, such as "go look at the first thousand words book, and choose a good word to learn this week." In this way, your child is in charge of his lesson, and he'll be more likely to remember the word if it is one he's chosen. If you choose a word each time he does, you double the number of words being learned (but still only two a week), and the chances of your child learning some verbs increases! Comes in a huge variety of languages.

This CD is really upbeat and the songs DO stick in your head. I think with a few of the songs the music is a little overwhelming to the lyrics, but as a whole they are excellent. In a song about helping verbs, the lyrics say: "Use ser for being/ and not for doing/ use it for the cow is fat/ not the cow is mooing." I thought this set was a good value for the money, and that was when I had only listened to the CD. Then later I investigated the book and thought it was a really! good deal. We listened to "The Question Song" and then used the question words we learned to practice our vocab in the 1st 100 words picture dictionary. My younger children dance to the beat while my older children and I refer to the written-out lyrics (written out in Spanish, with the English translation a shade lighter underneath). There is a (inspirational?) poem for the student discouraged by pronunciation and a list of "English" words that are actually Spanish. The author gives permission to reproduce and even edit the workbook pages and has a website to further assist you. For those in a co-op, he sells additional CDs in a 15-pack for $5 each and no shipping.

Although I have studied 5 languages and know 2 fluently, when I began to plan actually teaching my own children a foreign language, I was a little intimidated. However, Adventures With Nicholasby Berlitz Kids made beginning a foreign language extremely easy and fun, for my kids and myself. My kindergartener and second grader went through these books together so they could practice speaking with each other. It was really easy to use it with both of the kids, and it was really helpful that they were learning the same material.

All the experts say that when learning a new language, it should be for at least “15 minutes a day” and this series gave us an easy way to accomplish that. The book begins with an encouraging note to parents. It’s easy enough to read it cuddled together on the couch, because of the translation at the bottom of each page. But this series also comes with a CD on which the story is read in engaging, yet comfortably slow voices. There is intonation and excitement in the voices of the actors, with male and female voices. There is plenty of time during the reading for the kids to inspect the color pictures and get clues about the story line. The story is repetitive but not boring.

When I drew their attention to it, my kids were able to see that the “boy and girl nouns” have different sounds at the end, and that they have to match the endings of the “boy and girl adjectives.” It was like any other matching game to them! We would listen to one chapter one or two times in a row (usually while I made sandwiches), and then I would read them the translation. Then we’d listen to it another time or two. If the kids didn’t want to sit still that day, instead of trying to get them to pay attention to the chapter, I would let them dance around to the songs at the end of the CD. We’d try to pick out words we recognized from the story.

For our homeschool, I made a bingo game that was based on the Nicholas storybook. It was a lot easier than you may suspect, because one benefit of that series is a picture dictionary at the end, in addition to a regular, alphabetized word list. I drew a bingo chart with a Sharpie and a ruler. Then, I made black and white copies of the picture dictionary, colored them with my kids, cut them apart, and glued the pictures in the boxes. Voila! It’s your own bingo. The pictures give a visual memory from the book, and now you have a game that builds on the vocab they learned in the story. We laminated the game for durability and just use pennies or counting chips for pieces. (You have to make an extra copy of the pictures to make one set of flashcards to draw from, instead of the rolling number ball) I think they are an excellent value, and I think if the time comes to resell them, my Bingo games will be a great bonus!

I've added some new activities to our Spanish lessons. Don't get excited- our lessons aren't very structured. I know Spanish well and like languages so I'm not sticking to some sort of curriculum. You can see my other post on basic instruction.

I really like the First Thousand Words in Spanish series. They have a lot of languages available to choose from. The pictures are friendly, detailed and clear. The book is big enough to share comfortably and I figured out a new way to use it.

We play "I spy" with it. I say "Yo veo..." and I point to the picture around the perimeter. Then the kids look for that picture in the drawing and when they find it, they say "Yo veo___." Sometimes I pantomime clues (I stood up today and did the pee-pee dance, saying "Donde esta el bano?!" very dramatically. That's what kind of mom I am; might not work for you!) Another time I said "El gato dice "Meow" to give them a clue when I didn't have the picture in the perimeter to point to.

Another way you could stretch this book is by studying the colors and then doing a color search on any given page. Or counting (in Spanish) how many girls are on a page, etc.

I'm so pleased you are utilizing Classical Curriculum!
Teresa (Tracy) Dear

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