My Friends, Mis Amigos


Written By: Taro Gomi


Before Reading

Explore Illustrations

Take a moment to look over the cover and illustrations throughout the book. Talk to your child about how you are going to read a story about a girl who likes to learn things with her friends. With both English and Spanish text, you can choose to read in one language individually or both side by side. Depending on what language your child understands and/or speaks, you may choose to first read the text in the language that s/he is most comfortable with and then read the other side by side on subsequent readings. For older children, this will allow your child to become familiar with the story and use this prior knowledge to help with the new words in either Spanish or English. Ask questions like:

What is the little girl doing?

What do you think she likes to do with her friends?

{Flip to the illustration with the crocodile} What is the little girl doing with the crocodile in this picture?

If your child is not yet verbal, give your own answers to these questions and then continue on. The more you talk to your child and engage him/her in the story, the better. You can discuss these questions in Spanish or English, whichever language is most comfortable.


As You Read

Allow your child to explore the illustrations as you read the story and discuss what you see. If your child is very young, simply point to different parts of the illustrations and describe what you see. For older children, ask questions like, “Can you find the ant in the picture? He is really, really tiny.” or “Wow, the dog and the girl had to jump really high to get over that fence. How high can you jump? Can you show me?” You can also use the story to practice counting by saying, “Let’s count how many teachers the little girl has.” or “How many birds are in this picture?

 

Vocabulary Building

If your child is verbal but isn’t fluent in one of the two languages, take this opportunity to encourage your child to discover the meaning of certain words using the text and illustrations surrounding it. You can also ask if the word sounds like one that s/he already knows in the language that s/he speaks. For example, the Spanish word “explorar” sounds similar to its English translation, “to explore”.

 

Making Connections

Discuss how your child learned some of these different skills and who taught them to him/her. Ask, “Do you like to play games like the little girl? What games do you like to play? Who taught you how to play these games? Who do you like to play with?” For little ones, say “You can nap just like the little girl. And you can kick like her too. Let’s kick these legs! Good work!”


After Reading

Summarize and Interpret

Asking questions is a helpful way to encourage your child to think about what s/he has just experienced. Regardless of whether or not your child is verbal, ask about the story and answer the questions yourself for really little ones. Questions might include:

Did you like that story?

Who taught the little girl how to run?

What some things that you have learned how to do? Who taught you how to do those things?


Activities: Learn Something New

For Younger Children

Inspired by Parents and Peaceful Parenting

Supplies: Cushions, pillows, blankets, etc

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A fun activity to do with your little one is building an obstacle course (#17) made out of cushions and pillows and crawling/climbing/walking through it with your child. You can use the image above as a guide for making an obstacle course or you can create one of your own! This is a fun way for your child to learn how to maneuver around obstacles while also boosting motor skills. You can also use this opportunity to count things with your child, in English and/or Spanish, from the number of pillows and sheets around you to the number of movements it takes for you to get from one part of the course to another. For example, count how many movements it takes to get over a big cushion. Also be sure to give everything a name in both languages by saying, “This is ‘la almohada’ or ‘a pillow’. Let’s climb over la almohada.”

 

For Older Children

Supplies: Paper, scissors, and a pencil/pen

You can help your child learn interesting vocabulary words by practicing some of the words used in the story! Use this list of words and others that you want to teach your child in the story:

TO LOVE  -  AMAR

SCHOOL  -  LA ESCUELA

BOOKS  -  LOS LIBROS

HORSE  -  CABALLO

DOG -  EL PERRO

Print out symbols of each of these terms that you find on the internet. For example, for “to love” you can print out a big heart. Below each picture, write down the Spanish and English translations for that image. Now show your child the images and ask what each of them is. If s/he doesn’t know the translation for the word, say it and ask him/her to repeat it. Be sure to use these vocabulary words and others on a daily basis to reinforce learning, whether it’s pointing out a dog on the street or telling your child that you love him/her.

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