Because kids love stories so they’re naturally engaged and reading is fundamental to language acquisition! Today’s post includes free Spanish short stories and games to help your kids learn Spanish! One of the stories has a surprise twist to it that had my kids wondering what was going on with the character, Mateo. 🤨
This lesson is the fourth lesson for the first workbook that I’ve created. The vocabulary for the workbook includes immediate family, the house, and high-frequency verbs. Here are links to the first lesson with vocabulary for the bedroom and family, the second lesson with vocabulary for the kitchen, and the third lesson for vocabulary for dining room and living room.
Download the free lessons and printables here:
Here is a link to my YouTube video with listening examples for PQA.
Here is a link to my YouTube video with listening for the story about Mateo.
This is a really good article on stories and reading and how they help brain development and language acquisition. The article talks about reading at bedtime, but you can read anytime and still get the benefits.
How I Taught My Kids Using Spanish Short Stories
Before starting this unit, we finished the third chapter of the workbook. Both boys have been rolling their eyes when they completed the first two chapters of the workbook. But I piqued their interest with chapter 3. Aidan kept asking who has the chocolate and tried to jump ahead to chapter 4 to see the ending.
Alex predicted that Aidan is the one who took the chocolate but is going to blame Alex since Alex is known in our household for taking treats without asking. Alex also said Aidan coloring his mouth with the marker was to cover up the chocolate. It could be a cover-up, or it could just be Aidan drawing on himself like he does on a fairly regular basis. I love hearing their predictions!
TPR is really helping during the stories and PQA. When I’m asking questions, they sometimes still struggle with what it means especially with vocabulary introduced earlier like quiere. I have been doing our actions with the words, and they immediately remember what it means. I have been a slacker doing TPR with the flashcards, but we’ve been consistent with the verbs. It is paying off!
After using TPR for the verbs, we completed the PQA (conversation) activities over a couple of days. I asked questions using specific friends/family members instead of just saying amigo or hermano to make question more comprehensible and personalized and to increase the number of times they hear the vocabulary. I highly suggest doing this when using the PQA activities!
Another tip is to make sure to break up the longer statements and questions during PQA. Ask, “What did I just say in English?” especially when first introducing the vocabulary.
For example: When asking, “Cuando encuentras tu gato, ¿lo abrazas?” Say the first part (Cuando encuentras tu gato) slowly and then ask what it means in English. Then say the last part (lo abrazas) and ask what that part means in English. Then say it all together slowly and have kids answer.
I made a video with some listening practice using a few questions from the script for each verb. I then said the Yo forms model (from the script) and asked the questions. I paused after the questions so if your kids are watching it then they can think of answers.
Aidan’s answers cracked me up. When I asked him where he finds pizza when he’s looking for it, he said in Alex’s stomach.
Using the script for a story in the PQA printable, I made a story with each kid. I asked Aidan questions, and we continued using Kavik the wolf as the character. Alex was being lazy, so I just started telling a story about him and his friend who I’m going to call Fred. I just started making up answers to the script about him and his friend and then told him the story.
Me: Alex busca pizza en Pizza Hut.
Alex: Stop talking about me in the third person. I’m not Terry Crews! Terry loves yogurt! Terry needs nutrients!
If you watch Brooklyn Nine-Nine, you’ll get that. If you don’t watch Brooklyn Nine-Nine, you need to! So funny!
Turning your kids’ answers into a story is a great way to have short stories available for your kids to read. You can type/write the sentences from the script and just fill in the blanks with what your kids say. Then print the stories for reading. As an example, you can download the pdf with our stories here:
Using Spanish Short Stories Day 3
We completed the movie talk which was short clips from two different YouTube videos. The first was a clip from an Easter egg hunt with a 3-year-old and the second was of cute cats. The movie talk (and the workbook) will be available on my Teachers Pay Teachers store when I finally open it.
We then read the story Mateo y la Pascua about Mateo and his Easter egg hunt. It’s an embedded reading which is a story that starts small and becomes longer. It’s chunked so that kids aren’t overwhelmed and can feel confident about reading. Here is an explanation of it and the blogs of the teachers who developed it: Michele Whaley and Laurie Clarcq.
I made a video for the story about Mateo also. I read the first version of the story so kids can listen to it. You can have kids draw what they hear (pausing the video between sentences) or act it while they listen to it. You could also just have them listen to the story, but I would ask them to picture what they are listening to and then have them explain it to when they’re done listening.
I also asked questions about the story which is on page 1 of the printable. The last part of the recording has the first version of the story on the screen so kids can listen to the story while seeing the word. Each word changes color as I say it.
When I was writing the story, I searched for weird things found in Easter egg hunts and found this post on how to have an Easter egg hunt with pranks. Super funny! While reading the first version, Alex and Aidan were both asking me why Mateo was irritated and mad when he’s finding eggs. Then they read the second version which included some of the ideas from the blog post, and Aidan told me I better not do this to him!
Using Games to Teach Spanish Day 4
We played the game Odd One Out, and Aidan and I played Memoria. We combined all of the flashcards for the four chapters and had over 60 pairs of cards.
Aidan Someone was getting mad when we were playing. He’s used to beating me since I can’t remember anything, but I was actually doing pretty well this time. No joke about redheads having tempers! 😠
Using stories is a fantastic way to interest kids and help them learn Spanish without them even knowing it! Do you know anyone who wants to teach their kids Spanish using Spanish short stories? Please share with the buttons on the left!
Are your kids giving funny answers? Tell me about it in the comments below!