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

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Bilingual Storytime Flannel Idea - ¡Música!

Recently I observed a colleague use Raffi's "Ha Ha Thisaway" song in storytime and I was inspired.  I came up with a Spanish version of the song in which the singer learns to play different musical instruments as we place them on the flannelboard.  The rhythm of the song is the same, but the words are totally different, making it a movement song that build vocabulary specific to a theme, in this case music.

Keeping the tune, in place of the English chorus we sing:

"Muévete así, muévete acá
Muévete así, ¡Muévete!"
You can move from side to side or back and forth while singing, and clap out the final three syllables as you sing "¡Mué-ve-te!"

We put the flannel pieces up on the board before each verse to learn the name of the instrument, and pretend to play it and make its music.
"Cuando era niño(a), niño(a), niño(a)
Cuando era niño(a), aprendí mucho.
Aprendí a tocar piano, piano, piano,
Aprendí  a tocar piano, PI-A-NO.
Aprendí a tocar trompeta…
Aprendí a tocar guitarra…
Aprendí a tocar tambor…"

Again, you can clap out the syllables of the final word, reinforcing phonological awareness.

El piano y la trompeta
Here are pictures of the flannel pieces that I made to go with our version of this song.
La guitarra y el tambor

Monday, November 21, 2011

Bilingual Storytime Idea - Thanksgiving

¡Feliz Día de Acción de Gracias - Gobble, gobble!  This week the Village Branch will close early on Wednesday night, so we celebrated Thanksgiving early at Bilingual Family Storytime.

A colleague, Lowena Latiff, shared a song called "Mr. Turkey" with me which I translated into a rhyme to use with our beautiful Folkmanis turkey puppet.  I know that all children's librarians already know this, but Folkmanis puppets are truly the best.  We used our turkey friend for a fun fingerplay too.  Thanks to Raul Garces for helping me edit my translations.

Mr. Turkey                                   
I heard Mr. Turkey say                    
"Gobble, gobble, gobble.              
Soon will be Thanksgiving Day,    
gobble, gobble, gobble.                  
You may think that it is fun                
But I think, I will run                        
And hide until the day is done      
Gobble, gobble, gobble."              

Señor Pavo                                                                                     
Oí a Señor Pavo                                                                               
Dice “Gobble, gobble, gobble,                                                  
El día de gracias viene pronto                                                    
El día que me asusta tonto                                                          
Para tí es divertido                                                                         
Pero me da mucho miedo                                                           
Entonces voy a esconderme                                                      
Hasta que este día termine                                                        
Gobble, gobble, gobble.”
Y se fue el Señor Pavo.

I found this cute turkey glove pic at
Learningand Teaching with Preschoolers.
Five Little Turkeys                                           
Five little turkeys standing at the door,                  
one waddled off, and then there were four.      
Four little turkeys sitting near a tree,                      
one waddled off, and then there were three.          
Three little turkeys with nothing to do,                    
one waddled off, and then there were two.            
Two little turkeys in the morning sun,                    
one waddled off, and then there was one.              
One little turkey better run away,                            
For soon it will be Thanksgiving Day.

Cinco pavos                                                               
Acerca de la puerta son cinco pavos                                       
Uno se salió, y ahora son cuatro.                                              
Cuatro pavos gordos huelen a los postres                            
Uno se salió y ahora son tres.                                                    
Tres pequeños pavos saltan unos saltos                                               
Uno se salió y ahora son dos.                                                     
Dos pavos nerviosos esperan su oportuno                          
Uno se salió y ahora solo hay uno.                                           
Un pavo queda este día importuno                                        
Cuando el se sale, ¡no hay ninguno!                        

We merged the theme of Thansgiving with family, as there are not a lot of good bilingual read alouds on the theme of Thanksgiving.  The book that works the best, of course, is Pat Mora's Gracias = Thanks, which is what we read first.  We then read We Are Cousins = Somos primos by Diane Gonzales Bertrand.  After all, for close-knit families, your cousins are your default best friends, and for other families, Thanksgiving may be one of the few times of year when you visit with your cousins.  Then we had a lot of fun singing and dancing to José-Luis Orozco's version of "La tía Mónica."  I was hesitant to use this book at first (even though it is very interactive and builds body part vocabulary) because it is so long (about 5 minutes).  However, I am so glad that I did.  The families had a blast!  This is definitely one to work into your regular bilingual storytime music rotation!  We closed with Juanito Counts to Ten = Johnny cuenta hasta diez by Lee Merrill Byrd.  In this cute story, Juanito counts out kisses to the various people in his family and daily life, and we practice our counting in English and Spanish, helping to develop important Kindergarten Readiness skills.

So even though I will be enjoying my Thanksgiving with a Tofurkey instead of a turkey, I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday spent relaxing with the ones you love in however many languages you live.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Para los Niños - A resource to know for bilingual storytime!

As part of the "Growing Up Bilingual" workshop at the Reforma National Conference IV, I was introduced to the "Para los Niños" program.  This is too great a resource to keep to myself!  The program was developed by the Children's Museum of Houston.  Tiffany Fontenot of CMH and Freda Mosquera, who has implemented the program at Broward County Library in Florida, gave us an in depth demonstration.  The great thing about this program is that all of the materials are available to download and use in English and Spanish.  Also, all of the materials needed for the learning activities are very cheap, making the activities easy for families to replicate at home.

So what is "Para los Niños"?  It is a family learning program developed for Spanish-speaking families, though available in English as well.  There are 8 workshop themes, such as "Math at Home," "Raise a Reader" and "Self-Esteem."  Each theme has at least 5 activities that accompany it, and most of the activities tie back to picture book that the families can share together.  There are multiple ways that this program could be implemented.  For example, Freda Mosquera shared how her library offered these workshops at a community center that served many Spanish-speaking families.  The course of the program was 8 weeks, one theme each week.  The programs would start with a storytime for the families, and then the families could work together on each of activity stations.  I plan to implement parts of this program into my Bilingual Family Storytime program, setting up two to three activity stations each month for families to explore together following our stories and songs.

So go check this program out!  Do you know of other great ready-to-use resources for bilingual storytimes?  Share them with us here!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Bilingual Storytime Ideas - Halloween!

I love Halloween!  It's always been my favorite holiday, and I love celebrating it with my storytime families.  Every year we do a program of "Slightly Spooky Stories / Cuentos algo escalofriantes" with just enough fright for little ones.  Here's the presentation of what we will be doing this year.

We will open the program up with On Halloween Night / La noche de Halloween by Judith Zocchi, which provides a nice overview of the holiday.  The bilingual edition is good, though unfortunately the rhyme is lost in the Spanish translation.  Next it's time to sing!  We'll use the tune of "Did You Ever See a Lassie" to sing our Halloween version - ¿Has visto a una calabaza?  Mil gracias to my colega Jackie for proofing my translation of this song.  Then it's time for my favorite Halloween story, the 2008 Pura Belpré medal winner for illustration and honor recipient for narrative, Los Gatos Black on Halloween by the late Marisa Montes.  Introducing this book is a great moment for sharing with parents the power of playing with rhyme and sound in developing phonological awareness.  Speaking of the power of rhyme, we'll next move to an English version of "Five Little Pumpkins" shared by a colleague and a Spanish version of "Cinco calabazas" from Jorge Anaya's Cha, Cha, Cha CD.  Monsters come out to play next as we share Go Away Big Green Monster / Fuera de aquí, horrible monstruo verde and a bilingual version of "If You're a Monster and You Know It / Si eres un monstruo y lo sabes."  We'll end the storytime with another Halloween classic - The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything / La viejecita que no le tenía miedo a nada by Linda Williams.  I love to make the telling of this tale more interactive by using flannel pieces and musical instruments.  I give all of the kids an instrument to play to make the sounds of the different clothes: a drum for the zapatos, maracas for the pantalones, bells for the camisa, rhythm sticks for the guantes, and egg shakers for the sombrero - and of course, we are all our own instruments for the "Boo, Buu, Boo" of the cabeza!

What a great week for programs - we have another celebration next week for Día de los Muertos!  How are you celebrating either or both of these beautiful holidays with your families or communities?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Juntos in the Mile High City!

The Reforma National Conference IV: Elevating Latino Services to a Higher Level is this weekend in Denver, CO, and I can't wait!  I will be serving on a panel of librarians presenting the pre-conference "Growing Up with Bilingual Programming: A Tribute to Rose Treviño."  My area will cover bilingual storytimes for preschool and early elementary age children, as well as families.  All of the resources that I will be sharing are available here for you.

This presentation covers the basics of designing a bilingual storytime.
Bilingual Storytime: Preschool, School Age and Families

This document includes recommended Spanish and bilingual movement music and a sample plan for a fiesta-theme bilingual storytime.
Fiesta Plan and Recommended Music

This document is a list of online and print resources for those planning and presenting Bilingual Storytime programs.

This document is a copy of the flannel pieces that I use to tell The Bossy Gallito / El gallo de bodas on a flannelboard.  The copies can be used as a pattern for creating your own flannel version of this delightful cumulative story.
Bossy Gallito

This document is a copy of the flannel pieces that I use to extend the "Eight Animals" stories by Susan Middleton Elya.
8 Animals

The final piece that I have to share are the files that I used in creating the Piñata Math activity.  In this activity, parents help their children identify shapes and colors, practice counting, compare sizes and identify/extend simple patterns.  The components to this activity are the Bilingual Piñata Math Instructions and the Piñata Math Shape Patterns.

As always, please feel free to send me an email or leave a comment if you have any questions about the resources I've shared here or bilingual storytime in general.  I hope to see lots of you this weekend in Denver!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A BIG Idea for Building Early Literacy - ¡Elefantes!

Tonight in Bilingual Family Storytime we are sharing animal stories, songs and activities, including Petr Horacek's Elefante, also available in English as Elephant.  This is a great story about using our imaginations to have fun, and it uses text in some cool ways.  Here's an example of how to communicate the value of unusual text for building early literacy to parents while introducing the book:

"Our first book, Elephant by Petr Horacek, uses various shapes and directions in the text, which helps children learn that when we use books, we read from left to right.  This is an important skill called print utilization that helps prepare young children to learn to read.

El primer libro, Elefante por Petr Horacke, cambia mucho las formas y direcciones en el texto.  Esto ayuda a los niños a aprender que cuando usamos libros, leemos desde la izquierda a la derecha.  Esta es una habilidad importante que se llama el reconocimiento de la palabra escrita que prepara a los niños a aprender a leer."

I found an awesome song on YouTube by Habla Blah Blah called "Los elefantes" that we are going to use too.  We will count and stomp along with the song, which would be super easy to sing again in English.  We may even get out some rhythm sticks!  This will be a great chance to bring out my very favorite Folkmanis elephant puppet to come out and play too!

Can't wait to share these ideas and more with all of our amigos tonight at 6 PM at the Village Branch library!

One of my co-presenters (the amazing Freda Mosquera) at the "Growing Up Bilingual Programming: A Tribute to Rose Treviño" session at the Reforma IV conference last Septmber, shared a very cool way in which she uses the traditional "Elefantes" song in her program.  I have since done this in my programs and it is so much fun!  Take a piece of string or yarn as your telaraña and have paper elefantes for each child.  I have numbered each of my elefantes 1-10.  Then have the children come up one at a time to add their elefante to the telaraña with a clothespin.  Number one comes up first and adds her elephant and then takes the end of the yarn to sing the first verse of the song and call over elefante dos.  This is interactive and engaging, so it works for mixed ages.  It uses a traditional rhyme, familiar to both Spanish-speaking and English-speaking communities, which makes it very powerful for reinforcing the development of phonological awareness.  Finally, it also helps to practice counting skills and number identification, two essential school readiness skills.  Have fun adding this to your programs!
The super librarians of Flannel Friday have a flannel, the words in both languages and a video of the song in Spanish all available here.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

P is for Piñata: A Mexican Alphabet - How did I miss this?!

Walking through the library yesterday I came across what I was sure was a brand new book - P is for Piñata: A Mexican Alphabet by Tony Johnston (who also wrote My Abuelita) and illustrated by John Parra.  I was shocked to find this book has actually been around since 2008!  As disappointed as I am that I haven't been using this spectacular alphabet book in my storytimes up to this point, I am so excited to start using it now!

This book presents each letter of the alphabet and a corresponding object or concept from Mexico in a short rhyming poem, written in English with some Spanish words.  Because of the rhyming text, the beautiful, full-page illustrations and the simplicity of the concepts presented, this is a great alphabet book to share with preschool groups.  Additionally, a sidebar shares more sophisticated information about the history or use of each letter's object, which makes this a great book for a classroom lesson on Mexico or for older readers to explore on their own.  I will be using this book in September when our Bilingual Family Storytime group celebrates the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month.

My favorite letter in the book is "S" for, of course, Skeleton!

     "S is for Skeleton
      Skeleton, skeleton, why do you dance?
      I love to move.  I love to prance -
      sometimes with partners; sometimes alone -
      to show off my rackety, clackety bones."

So if you are like me, and somehow have missed this amazing book, go find it and add it to your collection ASAP!  Know of another great book for bilingual programming that I may have missed?  Share it here!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

¡Listos para Kindergarten! Ready for Kindergarten!

We are all about working closely with the Fayette County Schools at the Lexington Public Library to promote Kindergarten readiness - sharing with families the skills their kids need to be successful when they start school, and modeling fun, interactive ways in which they can practice this at home.  Last year, a colleague of mine, Susan Price at the Central Location, took this mission and used it to develop a brilliant program called "When I'm in Kindergarten."  This is a discovery center style program, much like "Little Hands, Big Ideas / Manos pequeñas / Ideas grandes."  In every station, parent and child explore important Kindergarten readiness and pre-literacy skills, such as their personal information, parts of the body, practicing numbers, sorting objects by color and size and alphabet letters.  Last year I translated this program, and we have offered it twice so far at the Villlage Branch.  With Susan's permission, in this post I will share all of the materials you need to put this program on bilingually at your library too!  The instructions for the walls are available in English and in Spanish.  However, both were originally created in Microsoft Publisher, so to access via Google Docs, you will need to download and open with Publisher.  If this is a problem for any reason, please feel free to contact me via the blog and I can email to you as an attachment.
  1. Patterns / Sequencias
 In this station, foam shapes are set out on a mat.  We use the Mother Goose Foam Shape and Pattern Blocks, but this could also be done on the cheap with paper cutouts.  Parents work with the child to identify the various shapes and their colors.  The caregiver then helps the child construct the patterns depicted in the instructions, and the child predicts which shapes will come next to continue the pattern.  Children who master this can then be challenged to create and extend their own patterns.  This stations helps develop Letter Knowledge by practicing shapes, as well as the Kindergarten readiness skills of identifying shapes and colors and extending simple patterns.

2.  Telephone / Teléfono

This is probably my favorite station!  Large numbers are laminated and glued to a mat in the shape of a phone pad.  The caregiver helps the child practice important phone numbers (such as home, cell and 911) by hopping from number to number!

3.  Laundary / Lavando la ropa
This station practices sorting objects by various attributes, such as color and shape.  A small clothesline is hung to the wall to which children can clip laminated paper cutouts of articles of clothing in assorted colors.  For example, they can group all of the shirts, or all of the red clothes.

4.  Body Parts / Partes del cuerpo
Another important station!  Susan made and laminated a large cutout of a child.  The names of various body parts are laminated and attached to magnets which correspond to magnets on the body parts too.  Children match the name to the appropriate area of the body.  This activity would be fun to include in a body or movement themed storytime.  You could follow up with a movement song that practices body parts, such as "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" or "Juanito."

5.  Personal Information / Información personal
Through this activity, children and caregivers go over important personal information children need to know, particularly in the event of an emergency, such as family members' names, address and birthday.  Parents review this information with their child in the form of a mad lib (available in English and Spanish).  They also use dry erase markers to complete the missing information from the drawn and laminated house.

6.  Alphabet Soup / La sopa de letras
At this station, children find a big bowl of letter soup, made from paper letters, cut and laminated.  Caregivers help children find the letters in their names and dip out the whole alphabet in order.

In order to continue the fun and learning outside of the library, Susan also made two take-home activities: an obstacle course and a grocery hunt.  We are sure to also share with parents the information from FCPS regarding what children are expected to know as they enter Kindergarten

Let me know if you use any or all of these stations to supplement storytimes or create new programs.  Do you have other Kindergarten readiness programming ideas?  Share them here / compártanlos aquí!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Storyblocks by Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy

Colorado, way to go!  First of all, "Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy" is a brilliant statewide initiative.  Second, I love Storyblocks!  Storyblocks is a website for parents, caregivers, etc. with lots of age-appropriate videos in English and Spanish of librarians demonstrating rhymes and songs to share with little ones, helping them develop vocabulary and phonological awarenes.  This website is awesome.

I will be in Denver, CO in September for the REFORMA 4th National Conference, presenting a preconference workshop on bilingual programming for various ages with a panel of librarians from across the country.  I will love to meet with other librarians in or near Denver, or attending the conference, who are serving Latino families, offering bilingual programs, or promoting early literacy to Spanish-speaking parents.  It is always so invigorating to hear the creative ways in which others are making an impact!

What are other libraries and librarians doing in a visible way to promote early literacy and empower parents?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

NPR Story on Benefits of Bilingualism

For anyone out there raising bilingual babies, this story from Science Friday is definitely worth a listen!  This really hits home the importance of reassuring parents who may be wary of confusing or harming their child's development by speaking "too much" in their native language, that sharing language with your child is a gift and a key to culture - not too mention an extremely valuable skill to have at one's disposal later in life.


Monday, February 28, 2011

McConnell 2011!

What a great McConnell Conference the UK School of Library and Information Science put together this year!  Sharon Draper lifted our spirits with her amazing energy, Rafael López shared his dazzling colors and artistic process, and Matt de la Peña illuminated and inspired with his own personal story.  It was truly an honor and a joy to present at this conference.

I was thrilled by the questions and ideas shared during both of my sessions.  Here are some of the ideas that participants shared that they were planning to take back to their libraries.  I have added some of my own comments to these in asterisks:

  • Start planning a Día celebration for the first time.  *LOTS of folks said this, which is wonderful!  Don't forget that Reforma Southeast is accepting applications for two mini-grants for folks planning Día programs.*
  • Access websites for Survival Spanish and translations of library policies.
  • Contact services in my county that serve Latinos to ask about the materials they need, the programs they would participate in, and ways to reach Latinos in my community.  *This is great!*
  • I am an elementary school librarian.  I can contact the local public library to collaborate with them to build a stronger Latino program in my school.
  • Staff training about using folktales as part of programming to Latino communities.  *Conejito by Margaret Read MacDonald and Martina, the Beautiful Cockroach by Carmen Agra Deedy are two great books to start with.  The Bossy Gallito by Lucia Gonzalez also makes a great flannel story!*
  • Check out Webjunction resources and share them with others at my library.  *Consider their Spanish Language Outreach training, which is available online.*
  • Welcome Latino families into our school with warmth and a smile.  *I LOVE this one!*
  • Start homework help if possible - helps total constituency.  *Great point!*
  • Add more multicultural / bilingual books to storytime.
  • Contact with Spanish liaison at school to schedule a library tour for local Latino families.  *Fantastic idea!*
  • Start a Noche de Cuentos evening program.
  • Purchase more bilingual books.
  • Have high school students taking Spanish do bilingual storytelling, giving them volunteer hours and giving the children role models.  *Love this idea!  There are lots of great books and stories out there that incorporate little bits of Spanish into English text.  This might be a great place to start, so that it is not too overwhelming for the high schoolers.  I recommend Susan Middleton Elya and Ann Whitford Paul to get you started.*
Mil gracias to everyone who attended my sessions at the McConnell for sharing these ideas.  Keep us posted with how things are going for you by leaving a comment or sending me an email.  Also, if you have any questions along the way, please know that I am always happy to help.  You aren't alone!  Reforma Southeast is here for you too!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Serving Latino Children and Families in Kentucky Libraries

On February 25 and 26, 2011, I will be sharing this presentation at the McConnell Conference in Lexington, KY.  By clicking below, you can access the entire PowerPoint.  The two accompaning handouts are also available at http://www.slideshare.net/KatieCunningham, as well as past presentations.