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Every Kid Deserves the Chance to Learn and Grow

Pair these FREE educator-developed printable activities with your favorite Encantos videos, books, and songs to help your child develop critical reading, writing, math, and social emotional learning skills. Plus, check out our Tips for Grown-ups to help reinforce the teachable moments in each lesson.

Oct 20, 2022 -

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Three tips to get little ones to engage during storytime

By Julie Barton

Sometimes, reading to a little one can be hard! They wiggle, they squirm. You might think “are they even listening? What does it matter, anyway?”

Sometimes, reading to a little one can be hard! They wiggle, they squirm. You might think “are they even listening? What does it matter, anyway?”

Having a Ph.D. in Literature and a Masters in Children’s Literature, I’m here to let you know it matters, and it matters a lot! The earliest years of a child’s life form the basis of all later learning – in fact, in their first three years, your baby is forming a million neural connections every second. Sharing books with your little one, in addition to being a wonderful time for the two of you to bond, builds a love of books and of learning that will last for the rest of their childhood and beyond.

How can you use beautiful children’s books, like those from Canticos, to support this important time? Tandem’s “three tips” for early literacy are great ways to start your child’s bilingual education.

  1. Follow the child’s pace. Let your child lead – if they want to read the same page over and over, or skip to the end, that’s ok. Let them understand that they can be in control of the story, and they will get even more excited.
  2. Make it a conversation. Ask lots and lots of questions, and try for open-ended questions as much as possible. This means, instead of “what color is that puppy?”, ask, “That puppy sure is silly! What silly things do you think she did yesterday?”
  3. Have fun! Reading, telling stories, and spending time with your child are all joyful activities. Use funny voices, make movements, and have fun with the book and with the story.

So, keep doing what you’re doing, and enjoy all Canticos has to offer with your little ones, and start gaining those bilingual benefits. (And if your children are really little, eating books and flipping pages are the first signs of “print awareness”, so celebrate it when they steal the book out of your hands.)

About the Author

Julie Barton is determined to never be “too old” to read books for children. With a Ph.D. in Literature and a Masters in Children’s Literature, she is the Development Director at Tandem, Partners in Early Learning and believes that quality children’s literature can change the world. Connect with her @JulieBartonPhD or with @Tandem_BayArea.

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Ask a Bilingual Expert

Raising a bilingual child? On this page, our very own Director of Learning Design and Efficacy, Sophia Espinoza, addresses some of the most common questions, concerns, and curiosities around the benefits of bilingualism. Get the scoop below!

Sophia Espinoza is a career educator and curriculum designer with seven years of experience teaching in private and independent schools across the country. She is an expert in 21st-century education, including technologically-powered personalization, multilingual and multicultural curriculums, and social-emotional learning.

Sophia began teaching in Chicago Public Schools through Chicago Teaching Fellows, learning to support both English Language Learners and students with neurodiverse needs. Among her proudest accomplishments is launching the AltSchool Spanish Immersion Program, with the mission of creating bilingual global citizens who are socially conscious and environmentally aware. Sophia holds a B.A. from Northwestern University and M.A.Ed. from Dominican University.

Benefits of Bilingualism (FAQs):

Any advice on managing two Spanish dialects in the household? Does this cause confusion for kids?

What do you recommend if I’m not completely fluent and my child’s school doesn’t have an immersion class?

Do you recommend teaching different subjects in different languages? For example, the solar system in English and the days of the week in Spanish? Or is it better for kids to try to learn in both languages all the time?

We speak Spanish and English in our home but my child almost always answers or talks back in English. How can I go about encouraging her to respond and speak more in Spanish?

Should I set aside time or create activities for each language or is it okay to mix them both together?

Any advice for households where one parent speaks Spanish and the other English? Can this be confusing for children?

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What are some of the cognitive benefits of bilingualism?