Spanish Language Reading Comprehension Strategies

The second section of this paper discusses teaching strategies that use students’ first language, Spanish, to scaffold learning of the second language, English. It also discusses certain areas of the English language where teachers can support Latino students, such as phonology, phonics, vocabulary, sentence structure and writing. Spanish-speaking students enter the classroom with pre-existing knowledge of Spanish, or “linguistic capital” which improves their ability to master a second language. In order to help students transfer knowledge from Spanish, teachers can point out the similarities of both languages. Although Spanish is a Romance language, while English is a Germanic language, both languages are Indo-European. Spanish has a high …show more content…
Phonemic awareness skills transfer more easily if the languages have similar alphabets, roots, orthography, and phonemes (Moughamian, Rivera & Francis, 2009). Moreover, Spanish language reading comprehension skills tend to enhance English reading skills because students use comprehension strategies they already know from their native language. The same alphabet is used in both languages, with Spanish having only one extra letter (ñ), and accents marks.
Teachers can emphasize both the similarities and the differences between Spanish and English (Calderón & Minaya-Rowe, 2007). They can point out differences in pronunciation and sounds of certain letters, teach students Greek and Latin cognates in English, and identify false cognates. Because Spanish and English have many cognates in the vocabulary of academic disciplines, this process is helped by highlighting Greek or Latin cognates, e.g., “la biología” and “biology.” Teachers can highlight differences in word order, syntax, morphology, and sentence structure, spelling, and phonology.
Supporting Social and Academic
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If teachers are aware of the similarities of English and Spanish words, they use that as a basis for teaching new vocabulary to students. It is helpful for Spanish speakers that the English language has approximately 60% words that are derived from Latin (Calderón & Minaya-Rowe, 2007; Gersten, Baker, Shanahan, Linan-Thompson, Collins & Scarcella (2007) because that knowledge of the vocabulary transfers. For example, the academic word “edifice” in English is similar to the common word “edificio” in Spanish. Teachers must explicitly teach students to recognize cognates, or words in both languages that are similar. Students must use the words in context and practice them extensively in order to master understanding of the new

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