The most serious language problem Latino kindergartners from Spanish speaking homes face is assumed to be not speaking English. But saying “Good morning” is easy enough to learn. In reality, it is the inability to identify ABC pictures as other than “cute,” that holds back their literacy progress.
Do teachers have another option to English-only examples, such as Apple/manzana? Yes. Cognates can be very useful to maintain their literacy growth. Cognates (Airplane/avión, Astronaut/astronauta) are words that have the same beginning sound in English and Spanish. They keep kindergartners on target to learn the following letter sound, “B”.
Unscrambling the Spanish/English ABC mix (“B” is for Bear/oso) should be joyful and successful. Once Cognates (Bicycle/bicicleta) have been introduced, kindergartners from Spanish-speaking homes can learn the sound of other similar ABCs as fast as their native English-speaking peers. The Latino kindergartner’s self-confidence is thus enhanced as they approach further ABC tasks ahead.