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Tips for effortless bilingual early literacy centers

bilingual early literacy

Literacy is an essential component for preschoolers to learn to read. Primarily, it fosters the reading abilities to develop a love for reading and to explore new subjects.

When you build literacy centers, you create an opportunity for preschoolers to begin their journey in reading. While there are many ways to create a comfortable place for literacy centers, you might want to develop other areas for bilingual learners, too.

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Poetry for kids: 3 literary Spanish poems to learn rhyming

literary Spanish poems

When it comes to learning new vocabulary, there’s no better way or more fun than a rhyming poem. In these literary genres, not only do children get to appreciate a rhyme and a story, but they also get lyrics to a song.

When reading poems, children might either clap their hands to the syllable formation in the poem or they can use an instrument to follow along. Good sources of instruments are tambourines, xylophones, and a piano.

Here are some excellent examples of literary Spanish poems for children:

1.  El Chivito Marinero by Margarita Montalvo

“El chivito marinero
… fue a la mar
pero no … contento
sin … pastar

Allí no había nada verde
ni … saltar;
agua a … costados, 
agua … inmensidad.

Un día allí …
tomando un baño de sol
vio … cocinero
con … una col.

Da salto en salto
… al cocinero siguió
y en un rincón …
muchas …descubrió” 

Aquel hombre allí tenía, 
sembradas …, 
… todas clases
para … buen sabor. 

Ahora el chivo es cocinero, 
… chef …vapor
y cuida …
sonriente y …amor. 

The poem beautifully tells the story of a little goat trying to find his way in a lost sea. Notice in the second verse that he is so lost that he sees water all around him but no food or land in sight.

But then, he sees a cook (cocinero) with some food and herbs (hierbas). Can you identify the rhyming pattern with the clues that are presented?

For example, the words mar rhyme with pastar and saltar. Other words are sol-col, siguio-descubrio, and sabor-vapor-amor.

literary Spanish poems

Another excellent example of rhyming and learning new words is nursery rhymes and sayings. Here is a great example of other literary Spanish poems:

2.  Doña Araña by Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy

“Doña Araña … a pasear
hizo … y se … trepar, 
vino … y la hizo bailar, 
… la tormenta y … bajar.”

Take a moment to examine the last words in each line and try to see if you can find words that can rhyme in the poem. Again think of words that end in -ar.

3.  “Para curar el dolor de un golpe” by Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy

“Cura, sana,
… rana, 
dame … besito 
y vete … cama.”

In this very traditional poem, keep in mind the green amphibian rana rhymes with sana.

Poems for children can be a delightful way to learn rhyming and syllables. It can help children to identify particular Spanish vowel blending, pronunciation, and phoneme awareness. These skills are essential for learning any language.

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Poetry for children is a great reading alternative

poetry for children Iguazu falls

Poetry for children is one of the most rewarding experiences educators show. Besides the literacy aspect of poems, it also shows rhyming, metaphors, and boosts their imaginations.

Not only is it fun to learn another language by reading different types of literature, but also it is interesting to see how other authors interpret the world around us.

Poems can turn into songs and they turn into poems. But the beauty of it all is that in a short or long poem, you appreciate the rhyming in Spanish. Children enjoy using various Spanish words to interpret the content.

But what are some great sources in poetry for children to start this literary endeavor?

In “Animal Poems of the Iguazú, Animalario del Iguazú” by Francisco X. Alarcón, you read about the many wonderful creatures that live at the rainforest of the Iguazú in South America in prose form. Alarcón makes a wonderful reference to this wonder of nature for children to know about with metaphors, rhyming, and alliteration.


What are the Iguazu Falls in poetry for children?

The Iguazu Falls (Cataratas del Iguazú) are located between the borders of Brazil and Argentina. These immense waterfalls are about 80 meters high (approx. 269 ft.), 2.7 kilometers wide (1.7 miles), and there are 275 drops. The name Iguazú is derived from the primitive language guaraní: ‘agua y grande’, which the literal translation means big water.

In this vast area of now protected rainforest, you find many different species from monkeys to panthers to exotic birds. Alarcón makes a wonderful mention to the Iguazu’s beauty in his books and poems.

poetry for children Iguazu Falls

Here are examples from his works that describes the earth at the Iguazu Falls:

“Tierra colorada”

“Tierra, tienes
tanto hierro
… suelo

… color
es … colorado

como el ají
y el pimiento…
…la canela y el chocolate…”

poetry for children

“Red Earth”
“Earth, you have
so much iron
… soil

… color
is … rusty

… ground
dried chiles
and peppers…

…cinnamon and chocolate powder”

The author makes a wonderful description and compares the earth (tierra) on Iguazu Falls as red as peppers and chiles and magnifies our senses that red implies hot (caliente). It also implies that the texture (textura) of the earth is like cinnamon or chocolate, powdery and gritty. In a beautiful way, the poem wants you to use all of your senses to explore the beauty of the Iguazu Falls.

Poetry for children is a great way to introduce other genres of literature. Reading can be fun with books. But it can also be more engaging when educators show poetry as an alternative to books.

Have you tried poetry for children, recently? Did you like it or not?