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5 steps to organize a school book report

organize school book report

For many students, whether bilingual or not, book report writing often seems like a dreaded task. The unforeseen homework that has to be done in a limited amount of time is a daunting thought. The deadline alone can be a stressful reminder of the book report yet undone. Although it may seem like a never-ending assignment to write book reports, an organization is key to a great book report. When writing the next project, try to follow these 5 steps to an excellent composition:

1. Brainstorming

When you brainstorm, ideas are formed when you spend time just writing about your topic. For instance, writing down several ideas randomly can help to figure out the topic of interest or subject. It can also help to show the type of book report to write. To help start some creative ideas, use the local or school library to browse the books, periodicals, or Internet.

Ideas may be produced best if they are organized in different sections.

Graphic Organizers

Using graphic organizers can help you brainstorm. By making different diagrams or grids on a sheet of paper or electronic device, many different ideas can be categorized according to the type of information being shown.

For instance, dates and locations can be categorized in events while quotes, articles or books published, or photographs can be categorized in works.

2. Introduction

Whether the book report is about a biography or a description about an event, the introduction should be as descriptive as possible. In this part of the book report, 3 to 5 sentences should be able to show the type of book report, the name of the person or place, and the tone of the paper.

Some examples of the type of book reports are biographies, historical events, chronological order of science events, or anecdote of a personal event.

Examples of tone of writing could be compare and contrast, list of sequential events, or simply a factual narration of a personal experience. This section of the book report should be kept short, concise, and precise. Good choices of words are action verbs and specific nouns. Be aware not to shift verb tenses from past to present tenses.

organize school book report
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3. Main Idea

The main idea of any paragraph should specifically state the topic of interest and its purpose. The subject matter should clearly be stated with specific nouns and action verbs. The main idea of the book report should be a short complete sentence.

In rare cases, it is possible the main idea can be in a couple of sentences. Try to keep the focus of the topic in one sentence. Make sure to address the purpose of the writing about the topic at beginning of the introduction. This should lead to the next section of the book report.

4. Key Points

The supporting points in any book report should range between 3 to 5 key points, if possible. If it is necessary, expand the supporting points in more detail. This section should be the body of the book report.

Key points should be relevant and concise. A good way to organize supporting details could be using an outline form. Many word processing programs can now help to organize book reports.

But book report writing and outline writing should be kept as different documents to avoid any confusion. The supporting points should come from the research on the subject.

It is possible to include photographs, diagrams, or sketches within this section. However, these illustrations should be relevant to the subject. Other good examples of supporting evidence could be quotes from the subject or about the topic of interest.

Proper reference technique should always be followed according to official academic citation formats like Modern Language Association (MLA) or American Psychological Association (APA). A reference list should be compiled at the end of the book report.

5. References

Many art works, photographs, historic dates and events, quotes, Internet sites, and articles are used within the book report as supporting evidence. They should be cited clearly. There are many ways to cite a reference. The best format to follow for a book report is the MLA or APA.

These guidelines have very simple steps to follow to cite specific works. References are also very widely used in the academic arena. Many of these guidelines now have specific rules to better reference Internet and social media sites.

Even though students are solely responsible for writing book reports, parents and caregivers should encourage students to complete the assignments on time. Adults should motivate the students to finish and help with any questions or concerns they may have when writing book reports or homework.

To help parents and caregivers in the quest of book writing or homework, visit Kids Health and their homework tips, which are accessible in English and Spanish.

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10 reading tips for bilingual struggling readers

struggling readers

Every reader wants to improve his or her reading skills. Every parent or caregiver wants their children to improve their language skills. And every educator is concerned that not enough is done.

However, bilingual readers seem to struggle the most. By not fully knowing one particular language (whether native or not), the struggling reader has challenges assimilating the necessary reading skills to succeed.

But children that are struggling to learn to read do not have to suffer. They do not have to end as part of yet another statistic, where more than 8% of high school students decided not to continue school and drop out.

Although struggling reading skills play a small part in their decision, this area can be improved. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reported in 2009 that about 17% of the population was Hispanic high school dropouts.

The lowest rate it has been since 1980, emphasizing that no matter your ethnic background and economic situation, struggling reading skills can be improved.

Tips to Help Bilingual Struggling Readers

By working together, children with reading challenges can succeed in school. Here are 10 ways to improve the reading skills in children. Some of these tips can be done simultaneous or in conjunction with other useful tips. In the end, it should benefit the struggling reader.

1. Get a good dictionary:

Getting a dictionary should be a basic improvement in any struggling reader. A dictionary is the foundation of learning, defining, and understanding the phonics of words.

Furthermore, with a bilingual dictionary, meaningless words should become clearer. It should also increase the reader’s vocabulary content.

2. Read more challenging books:

Select books that can challenge the understanding or comprehension level of the bilingual struggling reader. For early readers, select books with simple words and sentences.

Once they have mastered this level, add more complex books. And eventually move onto other levels. Parents can find some of these books color-coded or by number level.

3. Practice syllable formation:

As reading become more comfortable for struggling readers, start to sound out syllables. This can be a very fun activity for beginner readers.

Some fun ways to introduce syllable formation are clapping, playing some maracas, bells, or tambourines. Early readers should recognize one-syllable words and move onto more complex syllables.

4. Comprehension is key:

Select materials that can enhance the comprehension level of the struggling reader. For beginners, it is sometimes useful to read together and point the basic words in sentences.

It’s always great to ask questions and interact with the reader on the story. Always encourage questions and more questions about the story.

5. Build to more complex sentences:

In essence, the bilingual struggling reader should build up to more complex sentences. From basic sentences to complicated ones, the struggling reader should be able to move on at his or her pace.

6. Listen to educational music:

This is sometimes the most fun way for struggling readers to learn to read. Select lyrics that are fun to rhyme or just fun to sing along with.

Many of the classic nursery rhymes are now bilingual and easy to sing along with.

7. Watch videos suggesting pronunciation:

Viewing another person spell out or speak the words is another basic step for struggling readers. In this way, readers are able to pronounce and say the syllables out loud as another person is saying it.

Bilingual readers may have a difficult time to pronounce certain words. But with the help of suggested videos, they might be able to tune in to particular vowel or consonant formation.

8. Read bilingual magazines:

There are a variety of magazines for all reading levels. Select the ones that is the most appealing to the struggling reader. Magazines are great tools to read for their short articles and factual content.

9. Visit bilingual web sites:

Select web sites that are safe and are geared towards the readers reading level.

There are many great web sites that can help struggling readers improve their skills. Look for sample exercises, interactive programs, and easy printouts, if possible.

10. Cope with learning disabilities:

Many struggling readers are sometimes misdiagnosed with a learning disability like dyslexia, ADHD, and autism. There are many more learning disabilities that can be misrepresented, which can deter the learning ability to read.

But parents and caregivers should address any concerns with their medical and educational professionals.

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3 methods in learning Spanish: Translation, interpretation and transcription

methods in learning spanish

When looking up for that word that has endless meaning or you just don’t know what it means, what do you do? Do you run to your electronic dictionary tucked away in your pocket or cellular phone? Or, better yet, do you have an electronic device that translates words for you? But let’s consider that using translators has to be the last resort to use when trying to figure out the meaning of a word.


Translate derives from the Latin L. translatus and trans- means across. Hence, translate signifies to move across to another place or to write or speak words into another language. Some translators may not even translate the word properly and others may not be in tune with the cultural aspect of the foreign language.

For example, if you’re trying to translate the Spanish word taco, it can be translated into several ways: Mexican dish, shoe heel, a wad of papers, book, cue, cube, and many more. Imagine if you’re trying to write a paper or essay and need to use the word taco. Which one would you use?

Which one would you know to use? You have to use a different source such as an encyclopedia or an educational Internet website. As a matter of fact, translators should be used very rarely in conversations, meetings, or speeches. In these cases, interpreters should be used to translate with accuracy from one language to another.



Interpretation derives from the Latin L. interpres to negotiate and inter- means between or among. Hence, interpretation is to explain or provide one’s interpretation of something. In this case, interpreters are an excellent source to provide proper information about a word or phrase based on the cultural experience.

Interpreters can provide the necessary tools to translate that unknown word, phrase, or article and give it the right meaning. But you don’t have to solely rely on a person interpreter to obtain a translation of a word.

Sometimes, to gather information about certain words and phrases can come from attending Spanish classes or immersion classes. To grasp a better understanding about the language, it is even better to live it – in foreign exchange classes. Sometimes you might need a transcription of certain words or phrases.


Transcription derives from the Latin trans, which means over and scribere, which means to write. In other words, transcription is the ability to make a written recording or copy of words. Transcripts are more commonly used in court hearings or medical professionals.

Court reporters or stenographers use a special device called stenography to record all court events. Medical transcriptionist converts medical recordings to text. Transcripts are also used for transcribing Spanish textbooks or workbooks.

Authors may transcribe recording notes. But Spanish learners would rarely use this type of language learning method.

Translation, interpretation, and transcription denote different meaning in many cases. Which one would you use to better represent that unknowingly word or phrase? It all depends on how you want to use it in context.

What method have you used recently to learn Spanish?