Disclosure: I was provided a digital copy of the new Lucky Diaz album for the purposes of this review and giveaway at the end of this post. All opinions are mine.
A huge thank you to MastersinTESOL.net, the underwriters for today’s post. Please take a moment to read their recent article, Why Children Should be Learning a Second Language.
A few weeks ago, while riding in an elevator with Delaney, a couple next to us had a conversation. I noticed Delaney giggling to herself as she eavesdropped. But I had no idea what was so funny. When we exited, I asked her about it. “They were talking about their silly dog,” she told me. The couple spoke only Spanish but, because Delaney’s attended a dual language (Spanish / English) class since Kindergarten, she understood every word the couple spoke. I, however, was totally clueless. Welcome to the benefits of a dual language education.
Delaney is finishing her fourth year attending a dual language class in a public school. This year, Waylon started a dual language Kindergarten class. 50% of the kids in his class are native English speakers and 50% of the kids are native Spanish speakers. 90% of his day is spent in Spanish. And, he’s writing and reading in Spanish. I’ve been finding little notes and stories he’s written and left around our house.
My heart soars when I hear my kids speak Spanish. I’m thrilled with the dual language program our children attend and I realize how lucky we are that it’s offered. I’m hopeful that more and more children will enroll in dual language programs as we see these offerings grow in San Antonio and throughout the country.
But one of our biggest challenges as a family of native English speakers is helping our kids retain and continue to be exposed to Spanish during school breaks. Each year I search for resources to help my kids keep up with their Spanish in fun ways all summer long. But I haven’t found much yet.
I’ve created this list of summer resources for dual language (Spanish / English) kids to help families like ours encourage their kids to continue to speak, read, write, and experience Spanish during their summer vacation. I’ll add to it all summer long as I find more wonderful resources both for those in San Antonio and beyond.
Spanish and English classes, camps, and tutoring in San Antonio:
Bilingual Child Academy provides Spanish classes and camps in San Antonio
Crossing Borders offers Spanish, English, and other language camps and classes all summer long in San Antonio as well as Houston, Katy, The Woodlands, and New York. Visit their site for a complete list of offerings at those locations.
San Antonio dual language teacher and tutor Cathy Suarez offers dual classes in the Boerne area from June – August for kids entering dual language Kindergarten in the fall through those going into fourth grade. She also offers tutoring by request.
Other San Antonio area teachers often offer summer classes, camps, and tutoring. In past years, we’ve hired teachers privately, finding them through word-of-mouth and through our school.
Music Masters in San Antonio offers Spanish music camps in June and August for kids ages 4-7 (scroll to the bottom of this page for details).
The San Antonio Library and its branches often host bilingual events and story times throughout the summer, just like this one at Parman Library in north San Antonio this June.
We also love the kids’ Spanish sections at Brookhollow Library and Landa Library, near Trinity. Most (maybe even all – I need to check) San Antonio branch libraries have kids’ Spanish sections. We’ve found books at the library that are even tough to find on Amazon. The great thing about the library? You can always search the San Antonio Library catalog online and place books on hold online to pick up at the branch location closest to you.
Childrenslibrary.org is a great place to search for Spanish book titles for kids.
A few of our family’s favorite books (please note: these may contain affiliate links):
Younger Kids (Kindergarten – 1st grade)
Mouse Count / Cuenta de ratón, by Ellen Stoll Walsh
What Can You Do With a Paleta? / ¿Qué puedes hacer con una paleta? by Carmen Tafolla, the first San Antonio Poet Laureate!
Junie B. Jones y el negocio del mono (Spanish Edition)
Older Kids (2nd grade – 4th or 5th grade)
Sonia Sotomayor: A Judge Grows in the Bronx / La juez que crecio en el Bronx (Spanish and English Edition)
The Babymouse graphic novel series in Spanish (San Antonio Library offers these and you can get them online)
Despereaux (Spanish version)
I’ll be adding more suggested books in the San Antonio Mom Blogs’ Amazon store.
Apps, websites, movies, and TV:
Peque Mates – online math games (Spanish)
Lee Paso a Paso – Learn to read Spanish step-by-step
Lee Paso a Paso 2 – Reading Spanish Exercises
iPad apps for bilingual classrooms (a Pinterest board)
OG Card Deck (for English learners)
El Perro y El Gato, a cute bilingual kids’ show on HBO (and YouTube)
Music and Audio:
Another great way to continue exposing kids to Spanish all summer long is through music. Our current drive-time favorite is the brand-new Lucky Diaz album, Aqui, Alla. The album was produced right here, in San Antonio! And, did you know, Lucky grew up in San Antonio too? His mom still lives here. I love the local connection to this cool, new kids’ album. Lucky Diaz and his wife, Alisha, won the Latin Grammy last year for best children’s music. Their latest album brings together Chicano rock, indie pop, and Tejano sounds with catchy Spanish lyrics. Your kids will be singing along in no time.
Look below to see how you can win a copy for your kids!
Music with Sara – Spanish music and videos
Mama Lisa, kid songs from Spain
don Quijote – Spanish language online games