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READING PLAN AT HOME: How to make a Spanish-English reading plan in 7 easy steps

Reading is an essential learning skill, and to master it, we need to practice it daily.

For all of us who face the double challenge of learning to read in a language other than our native language, daily practice at home is crucial.

In this publication, I leave you some simple steps so that you can establish a bilingual reading plan at home and support your child's reading development in a balanced way.

Step #1 - Identify your child's interests

You must know your child's likes and interests to determine later what type of reading would be attractive to him. This factor is key to motivating the child and guiding him little by little so that, soon, he will be an independent reader in both English and Spanish.

In addition, the fact that the topic is of interest to the child will enhance their understanding and facilitate the learning process.

Step #2 - Identify which language your child feels most comfortable reading with

TSome children enjoy reading in Spanish but not English, and vice versa. On the other hand, some children do not like to read in any language, and others always try even if they do not understand the words of the text well.

Every child is different and has their preferences and interests. To help your child develop his reading, observe which language he is most comfortable reading. That is the starting point and where you can include texts with slightly more challenging vocabulary.

Then gradually introduce phrases, short texts, and quick readings such as jokes, riddles, or tongue twisters in the other language. It is crucial to offer them reading materials in Spanish and English that suit their level, interests, and preferences.

Reading is an essential learning skill, and to master it, we need to practice it daily.

Step #3 - Make a list of books to read

Select preferably bilingual books according to the age and interests of your child. Once you know what your child likes, you can select books related to those interests.

Start with a short list and aim to read them in a specific period depending on your child's motivation and the time you dedicate to this activity daily.

Let's say that your child likes animals. Then the best option would be to look for stories with animals or informative books that explain the characteristics of a specific animal or a group of animals, such as aquatic animals and animals that can fly, among others.

That would be great if you could get the book in Spanish and English or a bilingual one. The reason behind this is that if you want to improve your child's skills in English, you have to reinforce her skills in Spanish as well. Remember that reading skills like fluency and comprehension are the same regardless of language, but phonetics and vocabulary are not. So if you only read books in one language, you limit your child's comprehension since his phonological awareness is in Spanish. It is easier to reinforce reading in his heritage language to create connections between what he already knows and the new learning in English.

You can look for bilingual books at your county public library or online bookstores. If you can't find bilingual books, you can use the Google Translate app on your mobile to translate the reading into the language you need. You can click on the following link that will take you to a video where I explain how to use this tool: Como ENSEÑAR A LEER EN INGLÉS a tu hijo 📚 | Google Translate App

Step #4 - Make a reading schedule

Once you have your book list, organize on a calendar which book you will read each week, each day, or how many pages of the book you will read per day. Set short goals that are easy for the child to achieve. As far as possible, try to involve the child in this process.

In the following link, you can download a free template for you to create your cronograma de lectura de la semana.

Step #5 - Establish a fixed time for reading

Once you've explored your child's interests, found the books, and organized them on a calendar, it's time to determine READING TIME.

If your children are young, you can read the stories with them before going to sleep. That is a great time not only to practice reading but to strengthen the bond between parents and children and give a meaningful context to reading.

If your child is older and isn't very motivated to read in one language or both, find a quieter time and start reading for one minute one week, then two minutes the next, and so on, until you reach a maximum of 20 minutes daily.

Going little by little will allow us to explore why our child rejects reading and enable him to practice and improve his reading skills slightly and without overwhelming him. Remember that whatever time of day you decide to practice reading, this time should be enjoyable, not an obligation.

In addition, if the child is learning to read in a second language, daily practice for short periods will increase determination and motivation. These skills allow him to continue doing some challenging activities for longer and longer.

Step #6 - Keep a reading log

You can keep this record in a notebook, computer, or any format that is convenient for you and your child.

It would help if you write down what book your child is reading, an exciting word they learned, their favorite part, or any relevant element that connects reading with another text, family, school, or recreational experiences in the real world.

In this link, you can download a free template to guide you and create your own registro de lectura.

Step #7 - Have fun with your child

The reading plan should aim to teach your child how exciting it is to read. Everything else, such as phonetics, vocabulary, and fluency, will gradually develop in both languages. So go little by little and enjoy the process.

You didn't learn to read from one day to the next. I am sure that even with everything you know about reading, today there are many aspects that you would like to continue developing. So it is with your son. He is not going to learn to read in Spanish and English overnight. This process takes time and patience.

If your child can't identify a word today, tomorrow he might, as long as reading is exciting and not stressful.

Let's read

Reading is a habit that, when well cultivated, opens the doors to an infinity of worlds. Help your child open those doors, in both English and Spanish, in a safe, fun, and meaningful way.

Share this information with other parents and consider leaving your comments to enrich this article with your valuable experience and feedback.


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