Learning and retaining vocabulary is pertinent to reading comprehension and language skills in both English and Spanish. Bilingual children are exposed to double the amount of words than monolingual children. Therefore, bilingual children are better equipped to understanding texts. By using a variety of teaching methods to teach words in Spanish and English, it will increase bilingual children’s ability to learn and retain said words.
Prior to starting any activity, reading a story, or teaching new content, it is a good idea to pre-teach vocabulary. By pre-teaching vocabulary, you are giving children a chance to identify words, as well as put them in context. By doing this, there is a greater possibility that children will remember the vocabulary and its context. Words can be pre-taught by using gestures, pointing to pictures, or using the equivalent in one language or another.
Cognates are words that are derived from the same original root word. Nearly 40% of all English and Spanish words have similar cognates, but it is important to understand that there are some false cognates as well. Using cognates to decipher text based on existing knowledge of a language is helpful. Teachers should familiarize themselves with Spanish, so that they can point out the similarities between English and Spanish.
Encourage Spoken Language
To help create a strong focus on words in Spanish and English, it is very important to encourage bilingual children to speak aloud in class. Teachers should ask questions, which evoke meaningful and interactive experiences. By encouraging bilingual students to speak aloud, it is reinforces what they know.
Read Bilingual Books
Reading bilingual books to and with children is another significant way to ensure that students are learning and comprehending words in Spanish and English. Bilingual books allow children to see and hear the same words in both languages. This should help them have a greater understanding of vocabulary in both languages. Lectura Books offers an array of bilingual books in English and Spanish that Spanish-speaking or children from Hispanic backgrounds can relate to.