Did you know, there are more ways to use books than just simply reading them? When I came across the BookBox website, I immediately knew that I wanted to fit it into my online classes. I teach ESL and Spanish online, and e-books are always popular with children’s classes — and even adult beginner classes!
Books are ideal for teaching languages because they contain pictures, which act as clues for what is happening in the written text. They also present language in real context.
Below are some of my favorite activities that use BookBox to teach a language. I’ve targeted these tips to parents, but they also work in a classroom or tutoring setting.
Tip 1: Pre-Reading Activities
- Vocabulary – Before watching the AniBook for the first time with your child, make a list of 10 vocabulary words that are found in the story. Theme-based lists are great for retention (animals, colors, furniture, etc.).
Then, review the words – make some flashcards with an image for each word. Make sure you go over the vocabulary words periodically and build on them.
- Make Predictions – Look at the cover of the book, or still image on the YouTube channel, with your child. Discuss what you see on the cover and point out any vocabulary words in the target language. Take a couple minutes to make guesses about what the story is about and what might happen.
Encourage your child to be creative and think outside the box. The wackier the suggestion, the more interested he/she will be in finding out what happens. This time is meant to get your child interested in reading the book, not necessarily practice the target language.
Tip 2: Reading Activities
- Watch the AniBook/Read the Book – This sounds simple, but there are many ways to “read a book.” On BookBox, the books are animated, like a video, and come with subtitles and audio. You can watch and listen to the book this way. But, you can also turn off the audio and read the book to your child or vice versa. You can even take turns reading different pages.
You may try reading the AniBook (or playing the audio) while your child turns his/her back to the screen, emphasizing listening skills. Try a couple of these and find what works for you and your child. By changing up the activity, your child won’t realize that you are simply re-reading the same thing over and over (repetition!).
Stay tuned for two more tips: Reader’s Theatre and Post-Reading Activities!
Did you use any of these tips in your classroom or living room? Tell us! We’d love to hear your experience!
Sara T. is a Spanish tutor with TakeLessons.com, and has been teaching online for more than two years and in-person for more than five years. She has a MA degree in Teaching and Learning with Technology. In her classes, Sara takes full advantage of websites like BookBox, which offer fun, interactive ways for kids to learn a second language.
If you are interested in private Spanish lessons for yourself or your child, please visit Sara’s profile page for TakeLessons.