This storytime is designed to introduce English-speaking students to the names of various Spanish animals while reinforcing both the English and Spanish names for English learners. A storytime like this is ideal for groups which include ELL's because it gives them a chance to shine and assist their peers in their learning.
Before you begin picking books and activities for a bilingual storytime, consider the age and language abilities of your group. If you are working with a young group or a group that is new to Spanish, I highly recommend finding books that have both English and Spanish editions or using books that are primarily English but introduce Spanish words.
Below, I have provided three book suggestions with adaption/interaction ideas and word lists plus a list of fun activities to help reinforce the Spanish vocabulary.
Animal Books With Bilingual/Spanish Texts
Good Night, Dora! (Christine Ricci)
Level: Beginner (mostly English)
This lift-the-flap book provides a fun interactive component as it invites readers to say “buenas noches” to six different animals. Since each animal is covered, students get to practice using context clues (illustrations and animal sounds) to guess each animal before the reveal. Note: Many Dora books are great resources for teaching Spanish to young children! I was hoping Diego's books would do the same, but this is apparently not the case.
1. Buenas Noches – Goodnight
2. Pájaro – Bird (stuffed animal)
3. Abeja – Bee (stuffed animal)
4. Pollo – Chicken
5. Culebra – Snake
6. Rana – Frog (finger puppet)
7. Lechuza – Owl
¿Tu Mamá es una Llama? (Deborah Guarino)
(This is the Spanish edition of Is Your Mama a Llama? by Deborah Guarino.)
Level: Intermediate (all Spanish), but adapted for beginners
Lloyd the Llama asks six of his animal friends “Is your mama a llama?” Each animal gives hints about who their mother is (besides that they are the baby versions of the animal, they also give some facts and speak in rhyme), which gives readers a chance to guess the animal before turning the page.
If you are working with primarily English-only speakers, I recommend reading from the English version and using the Spanish edition only for the animal names. To minimize confusion, have an assistant hold the Spanish book to show the pictures and flip along as you read the English. When it is time to guess an animal, have the kids guess the English name then go over to the Spanish book and say something like: “Yes, it is a cow! And do you know how to say cow in Spanish? It is Vaca! Va-Ca. Can you say Vaca?”
1. Llama – Llama
2. Murciélago – Bat
3. Cisne – Swan
4. Vaca – Cow
5. Foca – Seal
6. Canguro – Kangaroo
¿El Canguro Tiene Mamá? (Eric Carle)
(This is the Spanish edition of Does a Kangaroo Have a Mother Too? By Eric Carle.) Level: Moderately Difficult (all Spanish + 11 animals), adapted for intermediate
For beginners, I would suggest using the English and Spanish versions, just as I did with ¿Tu Mamá es una Llama? Instead of guessing an animal, have the kids reply ¡Si! Each time you ask “¿El (animal) tiene mama?” After reading a few pages, Spanish speakers may be able to recite the whole repeated phrase.
Canguro – Kangaroo
León – Lion
Jirafa – Giraffe
Pingüino – Penguin
Cisne – Swan
Zorro – Fox
Delfín – Dolphin
Cordero – Sheep
Oso – Bear (puppet)
Elefante – Elephant
Mono – Monkey
Fun Activities List! :D
Try to choose at least three activities from this list to vary stimuli and keep the kids engaged.
Activity 1: Puppet Show!
I highly recommend a puppet show to accompany any of these books, as the kids will likely be able to see and interact with the puppets better than the pictures in the book. Look at the list of the animals for the book and make sure you have a puppet (or stuffed animal) for each one.
Activity 2: Sing Old MacDonald Together
Using the animals you’ve learned from the books means that they won’t all necessarily be farm animals, but that makes the whole thing funnier! Hold up a puppet or stuffed animal to signal which animal you will be singing about for each verse.
Activity 3: English Animal Book Quiz
Read a simple English animals board book (like Around the Farm or Seek and Slide: In the Wild, both pictured above). After reading each English animal (or at least the ones you’ve studied), have the kids call out the Spanish name.
Activity 4: Spanish Animals Matching Game
There are a couple online versions if you have a small group, but you can also make or purchase cards. Have cards showing pictures of each animal you learned then other cards showing the Spanish name of each animal. Place all the cards face down and have the kids try to match them (this can be done individually, in small groups as a competition, or as the whole class, depending on age and skill level ).
Activity 5: Label the Stuffed Animals (Hot and Cold Game)
Set out stuffed animals of each of the animals you learned about. Give each child a card with a Spanish animal name and have them walk over to their animal. For younger students, read out the card name and have them play “Hot and Cold” with you until you find the animal.
How to play “Hot and Cold/Warmer and Colder:”
You are trying to find an object (in this case, the correct stuffed animal).
Have a student (or the whole group) try to guide you to the animal. Take a step in a random direction. They will say “warmer” if you are getting closer or “colder” if you are getting further away. Often, when you are right up next to the object, the person will shout out something like “red hot!”
Activity 6: Spanish Animal Bingo!
Here are some free bingo cards I made to go along with Eric Carle's book. To play, call out the Spanish name of the animal (you can mix things up between Spanish and English, if you have a bilingual crowd). The child will have to remember the name to cover the square. Whoever gets three (four or five, depending on the age group) in a row first shouts out Bingo! and gets a prize!
Activity 7: Spanish Animals Coloring Page or Craft
I unfortunately didn't have time to make my own coloring page, but you may have some like finding ones online that have the images and the Spanish label (or even some sort of matching component). You can also do any sort of animal craft and add in a label of the Spanish name of the animal.