This is a compensated post in collaboration with ReadConmigo.com and Latina Bloggers Connect. All thoughts are my own.
When I first learned how to read, I was just turning four, and my Ita would take a chalkboard and teach me how to read and write words in Spanish, because she only knew Spanish at the time. Little did either of us know at the time, but this is how my true bilingual education began.
Through elementary school, I read mainly in English, because there was no chance at a bilingual education back then. However, in High School, I took Spanish for Native Speakers and my world changed. By the time I left high school, I had read classic books like Don Quixote, Cien Años De Soledad, and La Vida es Sueño in their original Spanish text. I re-discovered not just how beautiful the language was to read, but also, the joy of reading in both languages.
Now that I am a mom, I am taking small steps to try to teach my daughter that very same joy. She doesn’t speak much Spanish (yet), but she understands quite a bit, and this summer, we’ll be reading in Spanish as well, with the help of ReadConmigo.com.
Read Conmigo, sponsored by Infinity Auto Insurance, is a parent-focused bilingual literacy campaign that encourages Hispanic parents to read to their children at home through the distribution of free English-Spanish children’s books. The program has already distributed more than 750,000 free books to classrooms and Hispanic families, and receives support from more than 9,200 educators. The campaign creates opportunities for new Hispanic authors and illustrators. Infinity Auto Insurance employees, along with Read Conmigo authors and illustrators, engage their communities at special events, schools and libraries to foster bilingual literacy in young readers.
Last week, ReadConmigo.com held a celebration for Bilingual Literacy Month at Ford Blvd. Elementary School in Los Angeles. I attended the event and saw how excited the kids were not only to be part of it, but to be proud of their bilingual education.
The event was emcee’d by my dear friend Ana Flores of Spanglish Baby, who spoke to the kids about being a proud Latina mama who was bilingual and was raising a bilingual child who was just like them. The kids were so happy, and raised their hands high and proud when she asked “Who speaks both English and Spanish?”
Plus, the kids got a special treat. Renowned author & storyteller, Antonio Sacre read them a bilingual story. As he read, he gave us parents a few tips on how to engage and promote reading in Spanish with your kids. Here are a few of the tips he shared:
- Don’t just read to your kids, engage! Ask them what they see on the page, to tell you in Spanish, then read it to them.
- Make it fun! Act out the story, do voices, get moving… this will make sure your kids are interested and will have them asking for more.
- Talk about the story and how they are feeling. Is the character funny? Are they happy with what’s going on?
He definite kept the kids attention and they loved the story. I know I’ll be using his tips with my daughter.
The event was concluded by also stressing how important healthy eating and exercise is to a growing mind. All the kids got up and dribbled a basketball around the auditorium and then, were handed goodie bags full of school supplies and the very book that Antonio Sacre read to them. The kids were not only happy, but beaming with pride. I want my daughter to have that same look, so I am making a bilingual summer reading list for her (ps- scroll down, and enter to win a Bilingual Summer Set of Books (ARV $120).
Enter on the form below for a chance to win a set of Bilingual Summer Books. US only, ends 6/9 at 11:59pm EST, void where prohibited. Good Luck!