Is My Bilingual Kid Losing Literacy?

One teacher discovers a math & science book that improves Spanish literacy while providing a fun learning opportunity for bilingual families.

During my years teaching English as a new language (ENL), I’ve noticed as Spanish speakers learn a new language at school, they are losing the literacy of their native language. Because of this, I often look for opportunities and products that will encourage simultaneous language development in English and additional languages. My search lead me to this book filled with 1-page science and math mysteries in both English and Spanish languages.

bilingual-student-resources
This Math & Science Mystery Book helps bilingual learners retain literacy of both English & Spanish languages!

A Book That Bilingual Families Can Learn Together With

bilingual student resourcesEducents Seller Science, Naturally has just published a new Math & Science Mystery Word Problem Book for Bilingual Learners. This book is a great bilingual support text for students who are new to English but are literate in Spanish, or who are literate in English and want to learn academic vocabulary in Spanish. This book is also ideal for parental involvement. It’s an ideal text for parents to read with their children at home to stimulate academic conversations in Spanish or even to independently study.

My students and I enjoyed reading the short stories, and the content provided us with some interesting discussion points. One of my favorite moments working with this book was when one of my students misunderstood the passage about plant and animal cells. When she read the Spanish version of the story, she encountered a new phrase “modelos celulares.” She came away confused because she thought it “was about cell phones.” In this moment, I realized the value of intentionally teaching my students about words with multiple meanings in their own languages!  Because most English learners receive academic and technical instruction in English only, they are likely to be confused when presented with such vocabulary in their native language.

About the Books

bilingual learning resourceEach story in the book is presented in English and Spanish (with each language on a facing layout) and includes a question or situation to resolve. The stories are real-life situations that students often encounter, and each story proposes a scientific “problem.” After each story, the following two-page layout includes a suggested resolution or explanation in English and Spanish.

One of our favorite parts of this book is the opportunity to “think” through the answers before the text reveals them. Each page is marked with a stop sign labeled “Think” or “Piense” before turning the page for the resolution. This is a great visual reminder to pause and contemplate before reading on.

What my students and I love about this book:

  • Easy to Use –  Facing pages of English and Spanish make comparing vocabulary side-by-side very easy for students and parents.
  • Visual Elements –  The diagrams and pictures included with the stories help clarify important concepts and details.
  • Science Stories – Both girls enjoyed reading realistic fiction about a subject that is usually very technical.
  • Easy to Tackle – The targeted reading level for this book was great!  They both agreed it was a challenging read, but not too hard.

As a teacher, I really love this book, and I’m eager for additional copies and/or languages and hopefully some differentiated editions to be released. I think these books will be a great way to bridge the home-school connection and to strengthen the ties between my students’ native languages and their new language!

Read more about the One Minute Mysteries in English & Spanish Book here.


About the All-Star Blogger

erika bellErika teaches English as a Second Language (ESL) for kindergarten through 12th grade. In her free time, she enjoys reading, watching movies, listening to music, and spending time with friends and family. Shop my Educents products here!