Side-by-Side Reading: Spanish & English Fairy Tales

Reading the same story in two languages helps broaden horizons and increase comprehension.

By Amy Mascott
Sep 15, 2014



Sep 15, 2014

You don't have to go to great lengths to teach your children to appreciate other cultures—so much fantastic learning material can be found between the covers of books!

Celebrate new cultures (and Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15) with your children by bringing together old favorites—nursery rhymes—with some side-by-side reading.  Read the fairy tale in English followed by a reading of the fairy tale in Spanish.

Or go for bilingual versions of these tales, where you'll find Spanish text alongside English text.

Use any of these bilingual fairy tales written by Luz Orihuela: 

Caperucita Roja / Little Red Riding Hood

El patito feo / The Ugly Duckling

Los tres cerditos / The Three Little Pigs

Ricitos de oro y los tres osos / Goldilocks and the Three Bears

Cenicienta / Cinderella

Often because children are so familiar with fairy tales, they have a better understanding of the story if it's read in another language.  And when you read the text, be sure to stop and emphasize important parts of the story.  

In Little Red Riding Hood, for example, when you reach the part where Little Red Riding Hood comes face-to-face with the big bad wolf posing as Grandma, you could emphasize or point to each part of the body as you read:

¡Que ojos grandes tienes!  
¡Que nariz grande tienes!
¡Que orejas grandes tienes!
¡Que boca grande tienes!

Summarize the passage by saying, Little Red Riding Hood notices the wolf's "ojos" (point to eyes), his "nariz'" (point to nose), his "orejas" (point to ears), and his "boca" (point to mouth). Can you point to your own ojos? Nariz? Orejas? Boca?

Get the kids involved! Have them repeat the words as they point to each part.

And don't worry if your pronunciation isn't perfect. Your kids won't expect it to be.  But feel free to reach out to friends or neighbors for help with reading and celebrating.  

Want a few more fabulous resources for celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month?  Check out:

Going Home by Eve Bunting and illustrated by David Diaz

Frida by Jonah Winter and illustrated by Ana Juan

Abuela by Arthur Dorros and illustrated by Elisa Kleven

Eric and Julieta Teach Kids Spanish series by Isabel Muñoz and illustrated by Gustavo Mazali

How do you instill upon your children an appreciation for other cultures and languages? Let us know!

Share your thoughts on the Scholastic Parents Facebook page, or find Amy on Twitter, @teachmama, and let's continue the conversation!

Read all posts by Amy Mascott.

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