Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words.
“Say Hola to Spanish” by Susan Middleton Elya, has what seems like a thousand pictures that get the message across clearly. While it is technically a children’s picture book, written in rhyme, it is fun and interesting enough to teach people of any age 70 useful and easy to learn Spanish words.
I recommend this book to anyone whose child of almost any age wants to start learning Spanish. (My kids are age 10 & 12, and they thought my approach was fun, see below).
It is a good introductory book that helps one realize many of the similarities between English and Spanish. For example, the following line, “A dog is a perro, a cat is a gato, you drink from a vasso, and eat from a plato.” When these Spanish words are pronounced properly, you will see that cat, vase, and plate are pronounced very similarly in Spanish. Likewise, the reader will learn that many words that they thought were English words are actually Spanish words. For example, “In English and Spanish, a burrito’s a burrito, a pinata’s a piñata, and a mosquito’s a mosquito.
Even when the Spanish-English translation is not obvious, the illustrations in the book, done by Loretta Lopez, help the reader to fill in the blanks. In the line, “Bread is called pan, and chesses are quesos… That’s what we eat, butt perros eat huesos” is illustrated by a dog being handed a bone while a family eats bread and cheese.
So can you really teach Spanish using “Say Hola to Spanish?”
Yes, you can really Spanish using “Say Hola to Spanish”. Here are some tips to help you.
1. Day one, read the book aloud to your child(ren).
2. Day two read the book again and have the children try to say it along with your from memory… or at least finish the sentences.
3. Day three, use the words in the back of the book to test how many words they retained after reading the book for the third time.
4. Day four, make concentration cards using the Spanish and English translations of the 70 words used in the book. You can use the glossary found on the last page of the book.
5. Day five, create a Spanish test on paper or verbal and you will see just how much Spanish they have retained.