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Teaching Foreign Language Through Song

By Luisa LaFleur, The Children’s Book Review
Published: July 26, 2010

I’ve recently read a few new books that aim to teach our children Spanish the old-fashioned way: with songs and nursery rhymes. There are a plethora of computer programs that can be used to learn foreign languages but many language teachers will tell you that vocabulary and practice are the only real ways to learn a foreign language. What better way to learn new words and practice them over and over again, but by learning catchy songs and nursery rhymes?

Following are some recently published books that caught my eye:

Buenas Noches, AmigosBuenas Noches, Amigos

by Heide “Pina” Madera (Author), Christina Spangler (Illustrator)

Reading level: Ages 0-3

Paperback: 14 pages

Publisher: Sing-A-Lingo (2009)

Source of book: Publisher

Buenas Noches, Amigos by Heide “Pina” Madera is a “singable” book that can be incorporated into a child’s bedtime routine easily since it follows a little boy, his cat, and a mouse on their journey from bath to bed to sleep. The book comes with printed music and words for two songs and–in a more modern twist–these can be downloaded from the publisher’s website to accompany the bedtime routine.

Muu, Moo!: Rimas de animales/Animal Nursery Rhymes (Spanish Edition)Muu, Moo!: Rimas de animales/Animal Nursery Rhymes

by Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy (Authors), Rosalma Zubizarreta (English versions) and Vivi Escriva (Illustrator)

Reading level: Ages 2-7

Hardcover: 48 pages

Publisher: HarperCollins (2010)

Source of book: Publisher

Muu, Muu! Animal Nursery Rhymes by Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy is a collection of traditional Spanish nursery rhymes and their English translations. The book is full of beautiful Latin American-inspired illustrations with lots of colorful images.

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Luisa LaFleur reviews bilingual books for The Children’s Book Review to help parents choose the best books for their budding linguists. She was born in Argentina, attended school in NYC and speaks three foreign languages–Spanish, Italian and Portuguese. Formerly an editor in NYC, Luisa is currently a stay-at-home mom to two little ones.

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