Bilingual Reading Strategies Using Holiday Themes

Bilingual reading strategies are crucial techniques for any teacher’s toolkit. As many children learn in different ways, teaching strategies are also different.

An approach for one child might not benefit another child. Of course, this idea does not indicate that you need multiple lessons. On the other hand, you need different strategies.

When supporting bilingual learners, you probably might need various texts to relate and be useful for the whole class. 

Bilingual Reading Strategies

English stories might be easy to find and necessary in your classroom. Perhaps, you even have a list of recommendations essential for that grade level.

However, implementing dual-language reading when you need English and Spanish in parallel is not easy to find. Parallel reading benefits everyone in the class.

More importantly, your students would be able to grasp both languages by reading in one format or another. Further, you can also use parallel text when you pair students of different reading levels.

In that way, both students learn from each other.

As one student reads in English, the other student reads in Spanish. Of course, you might need to decide which students would work together best. 

Using Classic Holiday Stories

You might wonder what type of stories you could use in bilingual reading. If you use a theme-based curriculum or lessons, you could start there.

Using holiday themes as bilingual reading strategies is fun, and your students will look forward to reading books. Creating a learning environment around a holiday theme brings enthusiasm into the classroom.

In turn, this teaching strategy can motivate students to read, pick a new book, and learn new vocabulary.

What holiday themes are fun to use in the classroom?

bilingual reading strategies

Bilingual Gingerbread Reading

You can describe the different prepositions as the gingerbread children go around the house in the bilingual gingerbread reading.

  • With this text, you can also point out various shapes of candy, cookies, or arrangements.
  • The best part of using a fun story like a gingerbread holiday theme is that your students can relate to the holidays.
  • You could also build gingerbread houses from graham crackers or actual gingerbread cookie patterns.
  • With each bilingual story, you also have additional practice.

In this case, your students can practice writing English and Spanish shape words. One of the benefits of using a writing system like this is helping your students identify those shapes with terms.

If you use the read-aloud story, go back to the text where you see these shapes. Then, ask your students if they can recognize the figures with their respective terms. 

Bilingual Holiday Story

Holiday themes are ideal ways to promote reading in English and Spanish.

In the bilingual holiday story, your students read a fun story about Santa and delivering toys. With any text, you want to look for ways to increase vocabulary, implement language skills, or promote literacy.

When a story can do multitasks of learning, you know that your students will learn multiple skills. The bilingual holiday story also integrates English and Spanish sight words that you can show to your students.

  • If learning sight words is a learning objective, you want to implement different ways to learn them.
  • Besides displaying anchor charts or word walls, learning sight words needs special attention.
  • Traditionally, sight words come in lists that children need to memorize.
  • Then, they can encounter those words in books or literature.
  • However, while this method might work for some young readers, other learning strategies might be useful for bilingual learners.
  • When you use bilingual sight words without changing the meaning, your students can grasp the concept from dual-language reading.

That is, your students view the terms in your class, read them in stories, and practice saying them when they read them aloud. 

Jumpstart Student Discussion

Guided reading may be an excellent way to work with bilingual learners. This individual guidance might be the time to work one-on-one, practicing syllable formation, and phonetics.

Take this time to encourage students to reflect on stories as well. For instance, teacher-directed questions can lead to other ways to look at a text or narrative.

Some questions to consider might include what, where, when, how, and why to encourage discussions. Since most guided reading groups consist of three to five students, you could ask students to develop ideas based on the stories.

After that, you can gather your class to combine ideas. If time allows, you can use these student reflections to generate writing prompts.

These bilingual reading strategies can inspire students to other language skills. 

Bilingual Build a Snowman Activities

In the bilingual build snowman activities, your students can learn about sequence and numbers.

  • By following models or samples like the little snowman, your students can follow along.
  • For example, one printable asks students to place a hat on the snowman.
  • Your students would need to know how many hats and put them in sequential order.
  • Another teaching strategy is to use the buttons on the snowman.
  • Again, your students would need to count the number of buttons they need.
  • For each snowman, your students would have to paste or color in the number of buttons.
  • Implementing various ways to recognize numbers can help your students identify a sequence of events.

Besides, you can create fun ways that your students can count or find snowmen. Whether it might be on a sled or in a snowy field, seek ways that your students can use language skills differently.

  • Another fun way to dress the snowman is to paste it onto a craft stick or popsicle stick.
  • Then, cut out the hats and buttons.
  • Next, you can use various ways to paste the hats or buttons.
  • For instance, you might ask students to dress the snowman in a hat and three buttons.
  • In that way, your students can count one hat and three buttons

Bilingual reading strategies are vital components for teachers to support dual language learning. Guided reading is one method to assess and help bilingual learners.

By using parallel text and fun holiday themes, students look forward to reading. So, decorate the classroom for holidays and introduce uplifting books and stories that will inspire your students to learn. 

To receive these free printables and more, subscribe to our newsletter. You can also watch any part of the Bilingual Holiday Challenge on YouTube.

Barbara Mascareno

Barbara is an educational writer, teacher, and instructional designer. She loves to write K-12 education content, teaching strategies, bilingual education approaches, and foreign language.

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