La Biblioteca - A Resource for Bilingual Families
Updated: Oct 17, 2019
We are blessed to have a local library that provides bilingual programing for children. Our librarians remind me so much of my classroom days - providing a number of engaging activities for our little ones at every session. Thanks to our librarians, I too get ideas of what I can do at home to help support language development for these growing minds. As I write this, I understand and acknowledge that bilingual programing may not be readily available at every library across the nation. If this is you and your library, don't let that stop you from searching and using other resources they provide.
Here is a list of resources you should check-out at your local library:
What will you find at the library....lots and lots of books! Libraries get new books on a consistent basis. We love looking through their "new" shelves to see what new titles have come in. I have noticed that not all libraries have the same amount of bilingual or Spanish books but we are lucky that our local library is part of a collective collection with other libraries in our county. And yes, we have traveled to different libraries 20, 30, even 45 minutes away to see what they have. We have library cards for our library system, and for city libraries where grandparents live and even where great-grandma lives. This allows us to take advantage of the many FREE resources our libraries have to offer.
In the children's section our library has an array of children's magazines. As I was pursuing through their selection I came across a few Spanish title magazines. I was able to check-out a few Popi Magazines for children ages 1-3. These were filled with themed short stories and activities all in Spanish. We also check-out High Five Bilingüe Magazine by Highlights for ages 2-6. My daughter's favorite part was the search and find pages where she was able to say the item in both languages once she found it. There were other bilingual and Spanish magazines for kids, but we only picked up those that fit our age range.
I recall my mom taking me to the library as a kid and we would often times check-out audio books. In those days you had a cassette tape with a paperback book inside a plastic bag. I remember clearly I would rush home to pop the cassette in the boombox and turn the pages at each chime. One thing I don't remember is them having audio books in Spanish. Now they are readily available in both English and Spanish. We picked one filled with Spanish short stories and listened to a story at a time while we drove in the car. This opened up a whole new way to listen to stories for my little one. She was very interested to talk about the stories. Not to mention they also included catchy songs about the stories we eventually learned from listening the the CDs so many times.
If your child is ready to handle a device then perhaps bilingual ebooks may be worth checking out. We don't have a device we feel comfortable our one or two year old can handle just yet so we are holding off on this resource. Or maybe I may be a bit old school and just prefer the feeling of finding a corner and being able to turn the pages. However, I feel these types of resources are becoming more and more popular, to the point where our library accepts new book suggestions and even sends you an email once they have purchased the Ebook version. Defiantly a resource worth exploring.
Read With Me Kits
Our county libraries manage "Read With Me Kits" program where they have a number of large plastic bags filled with materials and activities centered on specific themes. The book bags have multiple books, a CD or DVD, poems, activity, and a toy. The bags range from shapes, colors, numbers, to meal time and trains to name a few. They recently began incorporating bilingual editions and have become some of our go-to resources.
When signing-in online your library may have a plethora of online links with free resources available for both children and adults. Some libraries have videos, text books, and even live homework help for school aged kids. I was able to find these and other resources for bilingual families as well.
The list goes on and on. If you feel like your community may be missing out I suggest making friends with your librarians to start off. Become active in your library's neighborhood group and even attend a meeting or two. Gather other bilingual families and have them all suggest different resources your library should offer. I'd love to hear what your library offers. Please comment or email me to share your library finds.