¡Es divertido hablar dos idiomas!

A place to share books, music, techniques, and all things related to bilingual storytime!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

February Class: Library Outreach and Marketing to Latino and Spanish-Speaking Families

Hi everyone! This is a quick post just to let you know that there is still time to register for my February class on library outreach to Latino communities being offered through Library Juice Academy. The details are below. One important point is that I strongly encourage taking this class if you are interested in later taking "Bilingual Storytime at Your Biblioteca" (next offered in March). Outreach is a key component of setting a bilingual or Spanish language storytime program up for success. Hope to see some blog readers in the group!

Building Relationships, Building Bridges: Library Outreach and Marketing to Latino and Spanish-Speaking Families

Instructor: Katie Scherrer
Dates: February 2-27, 2015
Credits: 1.5 CEUs
Price: $175
Public libraries across the country experiencing growth in their Latino and Spanish-speaking populations face similar challenges in connecting these communities with library service. Though libraries may offer Spanish-language materials and/or programming, these services may not attract the targeted community as desired. This class is designed to help libraries to bridge the gap and increase the use of their services by Latinos and Spanish-speakers, with particular emphasis on reaching first-generation immigrants and their families. Participants will increase their knowledge of Latino cultural values that impact library use, develop an understanding of common barriers that impede library use, and develop strategies for overcoming those barriers. Participants will also identify key people/organizations within their own communities for potential partnerships. This course is strongly recommended as a prerequisite for “Bilingual Storytime at Your Biblioteca.”

Register here - http://www.libraryjuiceacademy.com/032-spanish-speaking.php.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Latino Art! ¡Arte Latino!

Yuyi Morales' recent bilingual book Viva Frida has inspired me to share some ideas for programs that celebrate Latino art and artists. This programs can be done bilingually or monolingually, as needed to best meet the needs of the group and with the resources your library or school has to offer. Remember, you do not need to be bilingual to use bilingual materials or to be inclusive of Latino cultures in your programming! And you don't have to wait for Hispanic Heritage Month!

Toddler / Preschool Storytime

Song: Mister G: Colores - A simple, bilingual song that introduces the colors with a fun beat. 
Add color scarves or egg shakers to this song. Kids can even look for the various color items as they are introduced in this song, depending on the size of the group. 
Book: Green is a Chile Pepper by Roseanne Greenfield Thong
Flannelboard Activity: Practice the colors in English and Spanish and the Spanish vocabulary introduced in the book by adding the items one at a time to the flannelboard. This could also be done digitally for those using iPads and other technology tools in their storytime programs. 
Book: Viva Frida by Yuyi Morales
Final Activity/Craft Ideas:
  • Color Sort: Have parents/caregivers work together with children to sort objects of various colors into groups. This helps children not only to learn their colors, but also to develop the Kindergarten Readiness skill of recognizing similar attributes. 
  • Self-Portraits: Use paints, markers or any other art supplies suitable to your group and have children create their own-self portraits. You may want to first show them self-portraits done by artists such as Frida Kahlo for inspiration. 

Early Elementary School Age

Book: Diego Rivera: His World and Ours by Duncan Tonatiuh
Activities: There are several art activities you could do with children based on this book. 
  • Talk about murals and have them work together in small groups using butcher paper to create their own murals. 
  • Show students works of art by Diego Rivera and have them create their own individual art that explores similar themes or uses a similar style. 
  • Introduce students to the Mixtec Codices, which inspire Duncan Tonatiuh's stylized illustrations, and have them create their own symbol based language.

Mixed-Age Family Program

Book: De Colores = Bright with Colors by David Diaz
Board Books for Young Children: I always recommend having board books available for mixed-age programs. It's something that babies can have in their hands and parents can softly read one on one, while older children are engaged with other activities. Any of the books in the Arte Kids series, such as Colores Everywhere! would be great for this program.
Song: "De Colores" with color balls and a parachute. I like the version by José-Luis Orozco.
Book: Colors! ¡Colores! by Jorge Luján
Family Activities:
  • Painting!: Kids love to paint, whether its with brushes, sponges, or their fingers, but the materials may be too expensive and the cleanup to extensive for this to be a family-friendly activity to share at home. Help families share in the joy of creating a masterpiece with their child by doing it together at the library or program center. Cover tables with newspaper and have old t-shirts or smocks for the kids to put on to reduce the mess. Provide supplies and some fun music to set the tone and let the creativity flow!
  • Pattern Play: Using dot paint markers or something similar, have adults work with their children to practice identifying and extending pattern, an important school readiness skill. Parents can make patterns, beginning with very simple ones and then perhaps working up to something more challenging, and ask their children to predict what comes next. Then children can work on creating their own patterns for their parents to complete!
If you try out any of these ideas, leave us a comment and let us know how it goes! Happy programming!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Colorín Colorado - A Resource to Know!

Part of what I'd like to do with the re-launch of this blog is to introduce readers, particularly librarians and educators, to great resources that are available that can help you to better serve Latino and Spanish-speaking families in some capacity. The first resource that I would like to share is one that I have been using for years, ¡Colorín Colorado!.

¡Colorín Colorado! is a completely bilingual (Spanish/English) website, dedicated to providing support to anyone working with English Language Learners. There are special sections for educators, administrators, librarians and families. It is a project of WETA (based out of Washington, DC) and a sister site to Reading Rockets. The website is extensive--definitely one that I would recommend bookmarking in order to browse through during slow periods on the desk in order to better get to know what all it has to offer. Here are my highlights of some of the website's fantastic components and how I use them:

  • Reading Tip Sheets: These tip sheets for parents are available as PDF downloads in 11 languages. Tip sheets cover babies through grade three. I like to have these handouts distributed at storytime and with books in the children's area for parents to pick up. Would also make a great tool to send home with homework. 
  • Early Literacy Articles: Over 30 articles about early literacy skill development, many of which are excellent for parents and which include tips of activities to do at home to help reinforce early literacy skill development. Click the "En español" button on the left side to access the articles in Spanish. I like to print out articles relevant to what we are exploring in storytime in both English and Spanish to provide to parents as a take-home. 
  • Free Guides and Toolkits: A number of helpful resources. Particularly excellent is the Engaging ELL Families: 20 Strategies for School Leaders document. Library staff working to better serve diverse communities can also benefit from the information and strategies in this document. 
  • Multimedia: Videos and podcasts with authors, experts in ELL education and classroom teachers provide excellent professional development opportunities for anyone serving ELL's in their work. 
Take some time exploring this valuable site, sign up for relevant newsletters and check back often, as new content is always being added. FYI, I am not being compensated in any way for my recommendation--I genuinely use this site frequently and hope to share its spectacular content with others. Already using ¡Colorín Colorado!? What's your favorite resource on the site? How are you using the site with colleagues and/or families?

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Bringing it Back!

Hi everyone! It's been a long time since I've posted on here and I'm so glad to let you know that I have decided to make the effort to revive the blog. I really thank you all for your patience while I was away. Things got very busy for a while. I got a book deal with ALA, I partnered with my local mentor to take on my first library strategic planning job, and I spent a month and a half in South America with my husband. I simply could not keep pace with social media for a while. Blogging, Twitter, Pinterest, all of that stuff is important, but it's difficult for me to prioritize it when it feels as though there are so many other things to do. However, I have come to realize that this blog is truly a useful resource for those out there dipping their toes into the waters of bilingual storytime, and that means a lot to me. I believe this programming is important, and I want to share what I can to offer support, encouragement and fresh ideas to those of you out there doing it! So I am back to the blog, and am going to make a dedicated effort to stay on track with offering you updated content on a regular basis. My thoughts are to bring you book reviews when I can, program plans, great resources and possibly some videos. This is something I could use your opinion on...what would you thing of a ¡Es Divertido Hablar Dos Idiomas! YouTube channel where I demonstrate flannel stories, songs and rhymes? I'm sort of on the fence on this one because it makes me nervous, but if it's something that you want, let me know and I will get over my nerves and go for it.

One quick thing to share today as I relaunch this blog is a story that I heard yesterday morning on NPR about the role libraries have in encouraging parents to Sing, Talk, Read, Write and Play with their children. Not only did the story nail the importance of empowering parents to engage in early literacy practices with their children, they also touched on the reasons why library outreach to some communities, such as Spanish-speakers, is so vital. It's definitely worth a listen if you missed it!

So, gracias otra vez por su paciencia. ¡Espero traer a ustedes muchas ideas útiles aquí en este blog en los días y meses que vienen! Happy New Year everyone! I am truly looking forward to interacting with you in this space once again!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Retiring the Blog

Hola friends. The time has come for me to retire ¡Es Divertido Hablar Dos Idiomas! Maintaining this blog over the past seven years has been an absolute joy. However, my career is moving along a new path these days, and I no longer am able to invest my time in properly updating it, so I have decided to put it to rest. I will be leaving the content up to hopefully continue to be of value to visitors interested in learning more about bilingual storytime and Latino children's literature. From time to time as I am able, I hope to still add new content, but I know such posts will be less frequent. Rather than leave you all wondering, I wanted to place this post at the top to let you know my decision. I also want to thank all of you who stopped by the blog, whether it was frequently or just once, and shared your thoughts and ideas with me and with other readers. Please keep finding creative and fun ways to grow your bilingual storytime programs and to make sure that all kids in your communities have access to great books!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Connecting Cultures and Celebrating Cuentos

It's the day after the Youth Media Award announcements, I'm back home in Lexington, and diversity issues are fresh on my mind. There are the observations and conversations from ALA Midwinter that I am processing, the important critique of this year's Caldecott winner Locomotive taking place at the American Indians in Children's Literature blog and on the ALSC listserv (though I fear may be largely ignored by those who don't already care about diversity issues), and yesterday's incredibly timely launch of Multicultural Children's Book Day - a grassroots event launched by bloggers with the support of publishers with no library/librarian participation that I could find. To succinctly sum up what I am thinking...however far we have come in terms of diversity and inclusion in the world of libraries and children's literature, there is still so very far to go.

But, there are some excellent opportunities out there to start on this work, and I'd like to highlight one of those opportunities in this post. March 13-14, 2014, you can do yourself a huge favor and attend the National Latino Children's Literature Conference in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. This year the event will feature 2014 Pura Belpré winning author Meg Medina, 2014 Pura Bepré honor author Margarita Engle, and Latina literary agent Adriana Dominguez among many others.

I have attended this conference twice in past years, and I can tell you, it is a not-to-be-missed event. What makes this small conference so special is that it succeeds at immediately establishing a sense of familia among the participants. The people who are presenting and attending understand the incredible need for increasing the access to and visibility of high-quality children's literature by and about Latinos. As someone who cares about this topic deeply, but who is not Latina myself, I can share that what I have learned by attending this conference has had a direct impact on me, both professionally and personally. I can only know so much about the world from my direct experiences within in it, and by listening to varied authors and illustrators, as well as practitioners and advocates who share their experiences at this conference, I know that my worldview and understanding are broadened, which helps me learn how to analyze what is occurring in the world around me more critically and to make choices that are more inclusive of diverse voices. I leave this conference with my passion renewed, and I always make connections with new colleagues and old friends who are doing important work in various parts of the country to increase access to this literature. Some of the personalities are bold and loud, nationally recognized diversity advocates and authors. Others are quietly working to do what they can in parts of the country where in many cases there is no institutional support and even direct opposition to their efforts from restrictive, anti-immigrant based legislation. Anyone who considers him or herself an advocate of diversity and inclusion in children's literature should be at this conference.

If you have found this blog post, it's most likely that you are already a convert to the need for more inclusion in children's literature. Perhaps you already even attend the National Latino Children's Literature event. My challenge to you is this - share it with someone else who doesn't have these issues on his/her radar. If I have any professional take-away from 2013, it's that those of us who already care about these issues are bubbling over with frustration that the lack of multicultural inclusion in children's literature is still so real. But we have to find a way to reach out and bring the folks who don't even see it into the discussion. We can do that a number of ways, but my recommendation would be to get them so excited and passionate about these books that they too become converts, that they too have their worldview broadened, that they too begin to see the world around them more critically and start asking some important questions to their colleagues about who has a voice in children's literature and who does not. This conference can do that in a way few others can.

For more information, visit the National Latino Children's Literature Conference website, or contact conference Chair, Dr. Jamie Campbell-Naidoo, jcnaidoo@slis.ua.edu.

Friday, November 29, 2013

¡Miau! Los Gatos / Cats Bilingual Storytime

One of my favorite parts of teaching my online class Bilingual Storytime at Your Biblioteca, is that I learn so much from my students.  This week a student shared a super cute and simple little rhyme, "Los Gatitos" (shared below), and it inspired me to post an outline for a cat-themed bilingual storytime this week.  Enjoy!

Books / Libros

Ven, gatita, ven / Here, Kitty, Kitty is a cute bilingual story from the My Family / Mi Familia series by Pat Mora.  Join in the fun as the family searches everywhere to find the hiding kitty!  A good read for toddlers.

La primera luna llena de Gatita, the Spanish translation of Keven Henkes' Caldecott-winning Kitten's First Full Moon, is a contemporary classic and an absolutely precious story of a little kitten's attempt to get closer to the great saucer of milk in the sky.  Provides lots of opportunities to engage children in the story by predicting what might happen next.  Excellent for preschool.

Un gato y un perro / A Cat and a Dog by Claire Masurel is another bilingual book, and one of my favorites to share with the preschool crowd.  Dog and Cat naturally do not get along.  However, they come to realize that they each have something special to offer the other and find themselves becoming buddies.

I have successfully used and would recommend all of these titles with mixed-age audiences.

Storytelling with Flannelboard / Un cuento para contar

Cookie's Week by Cindy Ward is a story many librarians are familiar with about a mischievous cat who finds creative ways to wreak havoc all week long...hopefully she will take a rest on Sunday!  It's a great story to tell bilingually, in Spanish, or incorporating some Spanish words (such as the names of the days of the week).  I really enjoy telling this story with the aid of the flannelboard, so I am sharing my flannel pattern of Cookie's Week as this week's Flannel Friday contribution.  If you are not familiar with the story, click the link in the title to locate a copy near you in WorldCat.  The Spanish version of the story is La semana de Cookie.  This is another flannel that I first discovered when working at the Columbus Metropolitan Library, so I can't take credit for the adorable design.  My version is modeled off of what staff in the Center for Discover there had already made.

Below you find the PDF of these flannel pieces shared via my SlideShare profile, which you can use as a pattern for creating your own version of this flannelboard.

Songs / Canciones 

The song that my student shared this week piggybacks on the tune of "Ten Little Fingers / Diez deditos" and is called "Los gatitos / Little Kittens."  It's very simple, can be sung in English and Spanish, and practices counting skills.
Uno, dos, tres gatitos (One, two, three little kittens)
cuatro, cinco, seis gatitos (four, five, six little kittens)
siete, ocho, nueve gatitos (seven, eight, nine little kittens)
diez gatitos son...¡miau! (ten little kittens meow!)

Another piggyback song that I thought of would be to sing GATOS instead of BINGO, replacing each letter one at a time with a "miau."  You could easily do this with the assistance of a flannelboard, having each of the letters and replacing the letters one at a time with a cat.

And there is a fun traditional song you could use as well, "El Señor Don Gato."  The video below has a fun, upbeat version of the song that shows kids dancing along with everyone standing in a circle, one child walking around the circle to find a friend to dance with, the friends dancing together in the circle, and then a new child walking around to find a friend.  This is a great way to get parents participating in the fun.  Many will probably know the song as well.

You can find the lyrics and an additional audio file of the song via Mama Lisa's World.

School Readiness Activity / Actividad para prepararse para la escuela

If you follow this blog, then you know that I like to include some sort of an early literacy or school readiness skill building activity at the end of storytime, especially for family programs.  An idea that I thought of for this program is to have several sets of cats of different sizes cut out of different colors of paper.  Then, at individual stations or together in small groups, parents and children can use these cat cutouts of varying sizes and colors to conduct a variety of activities.  They can count the cats, pair the cats by 2's or 3's, sort the cats by color, organize the cats by size, create or complete patterns with the cats and even make up their own cat story, using the cutouts as props.  Simple yet powerful practice.

That's all for this program.  Did I miss a book or song that you love for a gatos program?  Have another idea that has worked with your families?  Let us know in the comments, and thanks for reading!