About the Phonemic Awareness Curriculum in Spanish for Beginning Readers
This curriculum is intended for students who are learning to read in the Spanish language, but who will eventually be moved into an English reading curriculum at some point in their near future. (It can also be used for students who are learning to read in Spanish as a second language.) It is scaffolded along the same skills that will ultimately be encountered when they read in the English language. For beginning readers in Spanish who are not English speakers or who are limited English speakers, learning these skills in their heritage language (L1) will allow for an easier and greater transfer of these skills to the English language when that transition happens. Language play is language play. However, learning to play with language in your native tongue will ease the transferability of skills into the English language, which is often deemed a very difficult language to learn. Therefore, I am including in these preface pages the information that will best explain Phonemic Awareness in English, in case there are questions as to “why” a certain skill(s) has been included in the Spanish curriculum.
Although this curriculum has a similar structure as my English phonemic awareness curriculum, it IS NOT a translation or an adaptation of that work. Since phonemic awareness is about the sounds of words and not the meaning of words, it would not make sense to translate the English material as the words would no longer have the sound patterns necessary for a structured phonological/phonemic awareness lesson. In addition, this curriculum was written to recognize the importance of syllables for children who are learning to read in Spanish. This Beginning Reader curriculum focuses entirely on syllables, with the exception of a daily exercise to introduce initial phonemes. The transition from syllable to phoneme will be the focus in the Developing Reader curriculum.
This curriculum is structured to form syllables by pairing the weekly focus letter(s) with a different vowel each day of the week, ensuring that every open syllable is included during the course of the 35 week curriculum. Certain syllables did present a challenge when selecting words to use in the lessons. We always used simple vocabulary whenever possible, but some syllables required the use of more advanced vocabulary. We only included words that were found in a standard or online dictionary, including various forms of verbs. It is important to keep in mind that the focus of these lessons is the sound of language, and not the meaning. The words used in the lessons were also reviewed for appropriateness by many native-language teachers from various countries of origin. If you feel that a word is inappropriate for any reason (obscure meaning or possibly offensive) you should replace it with another word. In some instances this may require that you reuse a word that is already included in the lesson.
The curriculum is intended to be done with a whole class group, with the daily lessons taking between 12 and 15 minutes. Pacing is very important. The lesson should be quickly paced and free of interruptions. It is suggested to begin the day with Phonemic Awareness as it is a fun-filled lesson time with students’ experiencing feelings of success and, therefore, enjoyable for all of the students and teachers.
It has been my experience that students who are struggling can benefit from multiple, repeated exposures to these lessons. In my practice, we often repeat certain components of daily lessons when students are seen by specialists in small group or one-on-one settings. In full day Kindergarten classes, I suggest repeating the lesson once in the morning and once again in the afternoon. There is sufficient research which supports the premise that all students at all ages, regardless of abilities, can benefit from explicit instruction in phonemic awareness (See Shaywitz, 1999)
This should be a fun-filled time. If done correctly, students can learn to play with the Spanish language and have greater success in navigating the unpredictable, complex alphabetic structure of language, print! ENJOY!