About Them – ” They’ve Got to Grow Into It”

Bilingual Hispanic kindergartners do not automatically read pictures silently in their second language, English. Visual ABC sound clues such as “A is for APPLE” are perceived as “A is for manzana” part of the time. The students may not understand what “apple” means, but the general outlook in education is to give them the tool and say, “They’ve got to grow into it.” However, there is a more efficient method.

Alternative Pan-American images have space for a Spanish self-voice. “B is for BICYCLE” can also be “read” by Latinos as “B is for bicicleta” without losing the initial sound message.

Learning familiar Spanish/English letter sounds becomes overly complex if bilingual Hispanics are only exposed to traditional sound clues with conflicting letter sounds – BEAR (oso), BUTTERFLY (mariposa), etc. There is an ABC fast track option available to Hispanics which other ESL students do not enjoy, and those are Cognates.

In addition, the English-only requirement of traditional examples is so difficult for bilingual five-year-olds that a “Forget Spanish” message is sometimes perceived, carrying another set of perils.


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