Spanish Immersion books are generally either imported from Spanish-speaking countries or translated from existing English curricula.
In the case of imported books, we must keep in mind that those books were not created for children in immersion programs. This fact makes the understanding of context and communicative intention more difficult. Also some of those books have topics that can be inappropriate for other cultures. In the case of translated books, we have found that the phonetic structures of other languages are not always compatible with those of the Spanish language; therefore, students in the initial grades of education face gaps in decoding words.
Olga Diaz recognized a better way to help young students learn Spanish: the creation of an intentional book collection designed precisely for American students’ needs, while maintaining the Hispanic culture.
HELPING YOUNG STUDENTS LEARN SPANISH
The LECTOCULTURA collection for guided reading includes series with a unique linguistic emphasis according to school grades. These emphases are phonetics, morphology and syntaxis (This last in process).
Besides the linguistic components, the series use high frequency basic vocabulary and regional vocabulary. The thematic vocabulary is made up based on the stories, so that the children gather enough lexical and contextual tools to advance in the reading, and enhance their oral and written production.
The cultural component is developed in a simple and direct way. Each character, including the animals, has a defined personality and experiences interactive situations that make the series intriguing, and involve the children in the adventures. We expect the children to get familiarized with other lifestyles, accept them and see their value, but also value their own culture. This reflection is achieved through the comprehension questions at the end of each book and through the writing activities in the books of activities.
The LectoCultura Collection
Two series are currently available.
Teaches phonological awareness through syllable segmentation and blending.
30 books total
Kindergarten reading level
Teaches morphological awareness through prefixes and suffixes.
30 books total
1st-3rd grade reading levels
The students Olga teaches absolutely love the characters. They’ve been known to skip recess to keep reading and dress up as them! Here are the most known:
Don Pepe and doña Lola: the parents of the family
Paco, Lupita and Beto: their children
Don Ramón and doña Alicia: the ranch owners
Don Pepe works for them
Tarcilo: works for don Pepe.
El Moro: a stubborn mule
Mela: a loving cow
Luna: a loyal Australian cattle dog
Riqui: a spoiled and jealous parrot
Olga L. Díaz and Jorge Sanchez
Olga Díaz is a linguist, Spanish instructor and reading specialist who writes short books designed for Spanish Immersion students in Kindergarten through 3rd grade.
The lovable characters are based on her childhood experiences living on a ranch in Colombia.
Jorge Sánchez, Olga’s husband, is the graphic designer who brings her stories to life.