Thursday, February 28, 2008

Another great reason to learn Spanish - More Money!

More Money! Another great reason to learn Spanish

To all you parents who wonder where learning Spanish fits into the grand scheme of things, I'm here to remind you of one simple fact...being bilingual means more money! Imagine your child looking for work in a few years (or more) and having double the opportunities and a higher salary to boot.

That's what awaits the bilingual candidates for jobs in the United States." (Read more)

Monday, February 25, 2008

Spanish Praise and Encouragement Words

When praising and encouraging our girls in Spanish, my husband and I found that we were always saying, "Muy bien." Surely there are other ways to let the children know that they're doing great in Spanish.

So I made a list of 2-pages worth of praise and encouragement words that we commonly use in English and found the Spanish translations for them.

Here's a sampling:

¡Buen trabajo! Good job! Good work!

¡Bien hecho! Well done!

¡Lo hiciste! You did it!

¡Buenísimo! Super!

¡Eso es! That’s it!

¡Puedes hacerlo! You can do it!

¡Fantástico! Fantastic!

¡Fenomenal! Phenomenal!

Have fun encouraging your child in Spanish and let me know how the list is going for you.


Friday, February 22, 2008

Jaida's Spanish Learning Method

The other day my daughter asked me to play one of her "Hello, Kitty"** dvd's. I asked her if she wanted to hear it in Spanish or English (it has a French audio track too.)

This is what she said,

"Well, since I haven't watched "Hello, Kitty" in a long time, play it in English first so that I can learn the words again. Then play it in Spanish. That's how I learn Spanish."

I was very impressed with her answer.

From what I remember of my research, some language learning experts say that mere translation is not an effective way to teach/learn the second language. They say that immediately translating one language after the other causes the children to be lazy, and they're not motivated to learn the second language because it's being translated anyway.

I could see that as a valid point. But at the same time, I disagree because--look at my daughter, translation in one way that she learns Spanish. I think the teaching and learning methods used should vary and most of all be FUN. My daughter loves her "Hello, Kitty"** dvd's and it takes no time for her to have those lines memorized. When it's our Spanish Time and we play the dvd in Spanish, she already has prior knowledge of the story and what's being said. She enjoys making the connections in both languages.

So, here's my suggestion. When you purchase your favorite kid shows and movies on dvd's, make sure it has the Spanish audio track as well (Spanish subtitles are a great help too). Watch it in English a few times, then watch it in Spanish. After watching it in Spanish a couple of times, make a game out of it by listening out for the Spanish words and phrases you all recognize.

Buenas noches,

(**As an aside, I don't like to play the "Hello, Kitty" shows too much because the character Catnip is so mean and does too much name-calling. I was disappointed with the purchase because of that.)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

More Spanish Teaching Resources

I'm always on the lookout for more Spanish resources to use. Even though I have my stack of Baby 1st Disney bilingual books, there are some topics that I want to do that none of the books cover, like the 5 senses, family and the parts of the body.

While I was doing some research, I came across these books that I think I'll purchase in the near future:
My Family/Mi famila and My Body/Mi cuerpo by Gladys Rosa-Mendoza. I like these books because the language is simple. There's vocabulary, and more importantly for me, they're written in simple sentences.

If you have other recommendations for me to look into, please write me. I'd love to hear for you.

Come back soon and look for my Spanish lesson plans on Family/La familia and the Parts of the Body/El cuerpo.

¡Nos vemos!

Monday, February 18, 2008

My Twins Are Learning Spanish Too!

¡Mis gemelas aprendemos español tambien!

Yesterday as I watched my 3 year-old twin girls, Janai (pronounced ja-nay) and Jessica play, I couldn't help but be amazed at how much Spanish they know. I didn’t work with my twins with the Spanish as much as I worked with Jaida, but they know a lot.

While they were playing with their Dora castle, I put on Las tres mellizas bebés. It was an episode about thunder and lightning. The girls came to watch some of it. I heard Jessie say, "Let's play the tres mellizas bebés." They wrapped themselves in a sheet, and then Janai said, "Let's pretend that we're scared. Tengo miedo."

Other times I’ll hear one say, "Ayúdame, ayúdame!." And the other respond, "Ok, I’ll save you." And ever since we did the Spanish lesson about colors, they both go around the house naming the colors they see in Spanish. What's funny too is, in the lesson we didn't go over the colors black and white, but they remembered those colors from Boca Beth's song, "Veo colores."

Interaction with children in Spanish is very important. But don't dismiss just playing Spanish music or a Spanish kid show in the background while they're playing or eating. It may seem like they're not paying attention, but their little brains are absorbing the language. Their little brains are absorbing the "feel" of Spanish, the sound of Spanish, the beauty of Spanish.

Another for instance: I had been playing the cd we got from Juguemos a Cantar every day or so. Then one day I heard Jaida singing the Spanish alphabet all the way through! That caught me off guard because I didn't even know the Spanish alphabet song all the way through. So I had to buckle down and learn it so that we could sing it together. And now she's able to identify individual letters in Spanish as well.

I’m trying to document everything that we are doing or have done, so that you too will be encouraged to teach your children a second language even if you don’t speak the language. The fun part is learning the language together. The awesome part is hearing your child speak the language.

¡Hasta luego!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

¡Feliz día de los enamorados! ¡Feliz día de San Valentín!

Thanks to an e-newsletter I received today, I finally understand the difference between saying "Te quiero" and "Te amo" for "I love you." Read the following excerpt to find out what the difference is and how to say other love words in Spanish.

El Amor - Palabras y Dichos (Love - Words and Sayings)

First things first, how do you say "to fall in love"? To fall in love is "enamorarse". Therefore, el "día de los enamorados" literally means the day of those who are in love. The verb is also used with the helper verb estar to say that you are in love. So depending on whether you are a man or a woman, you would say you are in love like this:

estoy enamorada I am in love (feminine)
estoy enamorado I am in love (masculine)

2 expressions you may have heard are "te amo" and "te quiero". You may wonder - do they mean the exact same thing? Essentially, yes. The verb "to love" is properly translated as "amar" but people throughout Spain and Latin American often prefer to use the verb "querer" ("to want"), to express feelings of love towards the loved one.

"Te amo" it is considered by many to be a bit too flowery; more to be used other than in romantic songs, poems and old movies or plays. So instead, you often hear "te quiero" instead.

How do lovers tell each other that they are in love? One way is "con una carta de amor" - a "love letter". May sound old fashioned but this is still practiced in some parts of Spain and Latin America! But for most, their amor is more often expressed with a bunch of roses and a box of chocolates, "con un ramo de rosas y una caja de bombones".

Is there a verb for fallng out of love? Actually there is: "desenamorarse".

Vocabulary for Types of Love in Spanish

amor a la antigua: old-fashioned love, old-fashioned affair

amor al prójimo: love toward your fellow man

amor a primera vista: love at first sight

amor ciego: blind love

amor de madre: mother´s love

amor eterno: everlasting love

amor libre: free love

amor no correspondido: unrequited love

amor platónico: platonic love

amor prohibido: forbidden love

amor propio: self love, self esteem

amor secreto: hidden love

(excerpt from Musical Spanish)

Even though these love words and sayings are geared towards adults, still, enjoy telling your little one "I love you" in Spanish. And "Te quiero a tí" means "I love you, too."

Monday, February 4, 2008

Is It Possible To Teach My Child Spanish When I Just Speak English?

Yes! Yes! Yes!

This article is at the heart of what I'm doing with my children. As you already know, I'm not a fluent speaker of Spanish. But I'm not going to let my limits/insecurities stop me from laying the best possible foundation I can for my children to be bilingual.

Read on and be encouraged!

What If I Don't Speak a Language, But I Hope My Child Will?

More and more parents are eager to raise their children to be bilingual. They know what an important asset this ability will be for their children down the road—opening doors in higher education, the business world, politics, law, science, the arts and many other fields. In a world that is only getting 'smaller' or 'flatter' as technology bridges nations, learning another language will give the children of today the preparation and the broader outlook they will need tomorrow.

Fortunately, a growing number of parents now recognize that their children are ready to learn a new language. They know that children are uniquely situated to be quick and exuberant learners, 'locking in' cognitive benefits—sharper reading skills, greater creativity and problem-solving skills, and greater overall awareness of language—while having a blast exploring the fun new sounds and words they're playfully encountering.

Children are naturally open to language in a way that often amazes their parents. Less self-conscious and less anxious, they see a new language as a wide open field to do the things they already love to do—rhyme, make up words, create imaginary friends, try out funny sounds. We all could take a page from a child's ready sense of wonder and adventurouness." (
Read more)

Friday, February 1, 2008

Improve Your Spanish with Telenovelas!

While it's great that you can go ahead and get started teaching your child Spanish, you do need to think about ways to invest in your own Spanish-language development. When I decided to teach my daughter Spanish, I researched and eventually purchased Visual Link Spanish. Try out Visual Link's free lessons. You could learn a good deal just from those.

I'm posting following article because the author makes a claim that has always intrigued me--using telenovelas to learn/improve Spanish. Over the years I've spoken to many people who said they learned English from watching the soap operas. They always suggest that I try watching telenovelas to learn Spanish.

What do you think? Do you know anyone who learned Spanish from watching telenovelas?

I think I might want to try watching them again. Do you have any to recommendations?

Anyway, check out the article for more ways to improve your Spanish.

Bueña Suerte
5 Easy Tips for Improving Your Spanish
Without Ever Entering a Classroom
by Ruth Kunstadter

Yes, it's true. One hour a night with a Spanish soap opera can improve your Spanish!

So you studied Spanish in high school, but you can't speak a word of it. Or maybe you spoke Spanish at home with your family, your vocabulary is limited and you're not sure of your grammar. Now you want to improve your Spanish, but the thought of heading into a Spanish classroom makes you cringe. And besides, who has the time?

Don't worry, the solution is right at your fingertips - literally - as you take hold of your TV remote control, your radio dial, your computer keyboard, and a host of books and magazines that you never even dreamed you could read. With just a little background in the language, a Spanish-English dictionary, and the tips below, you can increase your fluency without ever setting foot in a Spanish class. And all at no cost to you!" (Read more.)