Finding Stories for Kids in Spanish

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When it comes to finding stories for kids in Spanish, it can be difficult to find quality resources. Not only do you want to make sure the translation is correct, but you also want to make sure the stories themselves are engaging for kids. This means an easy-to-follow story line and high-quality animations. We’ve taken some time to round up some of the best stories for kids in Spanish that can be found online.

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Cenicienta by iStorybooks

This narrated storybook tells the classic story of “Cinderella” in Spanish. It features colorful illustrations, soft background music, and a quality narrator.

Zippy the Zebra

This story tells the story of a zebra named Zippy in the form of a short narrated video. Kids can also answer questions about the story after reading.

Tairon El Horrible

This story about a dinosaur is a slightly more advanced read for kids. It is available as a PDF document and has lots of colorful illustrations. Print it out for kids or enjoy it online.

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El Zorro Azul by iStorybooks

The popular fable “The Blue Fox” has been translated into Spanish. Kids can follow along and enjoy the beautiful illustrations as the narrator reads the story to them.

Ricitos de Oro y Los Tres Osos

The story of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” gets a makeover in this translation from The Spanish Experiment. Kids can read the story on their own and look at the illustrations, or they can click on “Play Audio” to hear each section of the story read aloud.

The Greatest Treasure

This story with a moral comes from BookBox.com. Watch the video of the story on YouTube and follow along with the highlighted text at the bottom.

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El Cuervo, las Palomas y el Raton by iStorybooks

The Crow, the Dove, and the Mouse is another classic fable that has been translated into Spanish for kids. Listen and follow along to discover the moral of this classic tale.

 

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Review: Sea Animals from iStoryBooks

If you’re looking for a book all about creatures found under the sea, then you should check out Sea Animals, an educational book from iStoryBooks.

This informational text introduces kids to a wide variety of animals that live both in and out of the water. As kids read through the story, they’ll be shown colorful pictures of each sea animal. They’ll also get to learn a lot about each sea animal, such as the animal’s body type and what the animal does in the water.

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Throughout the book, kids will also learn some interesting facts. For example, did you know that if a crab loses a leg it’s able to grow a new one or that octopuses and seahorses change color when they’re trying to hide?

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Kids can listen to Sea Animals straight through, learning about a lot of different sea animals at once or they can work through the book more slowly. To help enhance the educational value of the book, consider reading through it one animal at a time, and then pausing the story. As kids learn about each sea animal, they can:

  • Draw a picture of the animal
  • Do an Internet search to learn more about the animal
  • Make up a story about the animal
  • Compare and contrast the animal to other sea animals
  • Look at additional pictures of the animals online

Once kids have read through the book, encourage them to read about additional sea animals or pick a favorite sea animal to research further. If you have an aquarium or zoo nearby, you can even pay a visit to see if your child’s favorite sea animal can be found in one of the tanks.

Another fun activity for kids related to the book is to have kids draw an aquarium on a giant piece of paper and add their own pictures of all the animals found in the book to the aquarium (well, those found underwater anyway). Make the aquarium more fun by cutting a window in a cardboard box, painting the back blue, and then cutting out and hanging the pictures with string so that it looks like they’re swimming in the water.

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Enjoy reading about sea creatures in Sea Animals and don’t forget to check out all of the other amazing educational books iStoryBooks has to offer.

 

5 Reading Resolutions for Kids

It’s the beginning of a new year and that means it’s time to make New Year’s resolutions. This year, as your kids make their resolutions, encourage them to also make some resolutions related to reading. To help them out, we’ve come up with a few resolutions of our own.

Resolution #1: Find Time to Read Every Day

Reading every day is one of the keys to building kids’ reading skills. If your kids aren’t already spending part of every day reading, encourage them to find 10-20 minutes a day where they just sit down and read a book. It could be right after they get up in the morning, as soon as they get home from school, or even time spent reading as a family before they go to bed.

Resolution #2: Read the Classics

While there are a lot of great new books out there for kids, there’s still something special about reading classic stories. Pick up some favorites, such as Black Beauty or tales by Hans Christian Anderson. You’ll find animated versions of many classic stories, such as Cinderella and The Ugly Duckling on iStoryBooks.

Resolution #3: Read with a Purpose

Not all reading is for fun. Instead of just picking up a novel, consider reading some non-fiction. Maybe you want to learn all about different types of dinosaurs or pick up a biography of a famous person. By reading non-fiction, you can gain a lot of knowledge.

Resolution #4: Read Something Different

Consider reading something outside of your comfort zone this year. Kids have a tendency to stick with a favorite series or genre because they know what to expect, but there are lots of other great books out there. If kids like fairy tales, encourage them to try to read a mystery. If they’re a big fan of sports stories, encourage them to read something about animals. The more variety kids read, the more they may find that they enjoy reading.

Resolution #5: Read in a Variety of Formats

Don’t stick with the traditional book. Instead, look beyond paperbacks and hardcover books to discover graphic novels, ebooks, and even animated stories. iStorybooks offers a wealth of free narrated stories to help pique kids’ interest in reading and introduce them to a variety of formats.

What are some of your reading resolutions for 2017? We’d love it if you’d share them with us!

Taking Time to Savor the Magic in Christmas

For adults, Christmas can often be a time of frustration. While kids get to delight in tales of Santa Claus and look forward to opening presents, the adults are often running around behind the scenes trying to put everything together. With everything that has to be done, it can be difficult to take some time to slow down and appreciate the magic in Christmas, the same magic that children experience nearly every moment of every day at Christmastime.

This holiday season, whether the holidays have yet to arrive, or have just ended, take some time to sit down with your kids and enjoy some of that magic through a classic Christmas story. iStoryBooks offers a Christmas story bundle that features four classic Christmas stories to help you understand how magical Christmas really can be.

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The Nutcracker

There’s just something about the music from The Nutcracker that can bring joy at Christmas. However, the story that the classic ballet is based on teaches an even greater lesson – that things aren’t as important as relationships. It’s a great reminder as you’re out shopping for presents and as your kids start looking forward to what’s under the Christmas tree.

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A Christmas Carol

Sometimes we get so stuck in our ways that we don’t realize how much damage we’re doing to ourselves and those around us. An annual reading of A Christmas Carol with your kids may help you squash your inner Scrooge and improve your relationship with your kids and other loved ones during the holidays.

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The Elves and the Shoemaker

Christmas is a time for miracles and for helping others. In the story of The Elves and the Shoemaker, some elves come to help a poor old couple. Recognizing the elves’ generosity, the couple shows them how grateful they are. While this story is a fairy tale, it may inspire you to show someone else how grateful you are or to do show someone extra kindness this holiday season.

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‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

Stop and listen to the first lines of this classic poem: ‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in the hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there. The children were nestled all snug in their beds while visions of sugar plums danced in their heads.

Do those lines bring back some happy memories? Imagine what it’d be like to dream of sugar plums or hear the jingling of bells and the deep “HO HO HO” of Santa Claus. Sometimes all it takes is a little whimsy to bring joy to the holiday season.  You can do that by reading this classic poem with your kids.

Whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, or just enjoy the winter season, we hope you take some time to slow down and enjoy some magic this holiday season.

Review: I Like You Just the Way You Are

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iStorybooks’ new Self-Worth series is designed to help kids learn to feel better about themselves. One of the books in that series is called I Like You Just the Way You Are. This short animated picture book tells the story of Tommy, “a plain old turtle with a boring old brown shell.” There’s nothing that makes Tommy stand out, at least not in his mind, and his classmates like to point that out. Tommy begins to wish that he was different and tries different ways to make himself look more exciting, but nothing really works.

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Kids can relate to the story of Tommy the turtle in many different ways. Maybe they don’t like their hair or think they’re clothes aren’t as colorful or cute as their friends’ clothes. Maybe they wish they were good at sports or more like one of their friends. Just like Tommy’s mother keeps assuring Tommy that she likes him just the way he is, this story can give parents and teachers the opportunity to reassure kids that they are great just the way they are.

This story in iStorybooks’ Self-Worth series can also help kids learn to think about the power of their words and how they make others feel. Tommy’s classmates always call Tommy “a plain old turtle with a boring old brown shell.” Even though Tommy knows he has other qualities, the words of his classmates start to get to him. When Tommy’s classmates start to change their words and show Tommy what they appreciate about him rather than what he lacks, Tommy’s attitude begins to change. Reading this story can encourage kids to focus on the positive attributes of their own classmates rather than focusing on the negative.

I Like You Just the Way You Are is a great story to read in the classroom and at home to help kids build their self-worth and learn ways to help build the self-worth of their peers.

Teaching Kids to Put Others First

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“How to Be Happy”

“How to Get What You Want”

Today, kids are bombarded with self-centered messages. They’re taught to focus on themselves and creating a world in which they can do anything they want and be anything they want to be. While there’s no harm in helping children build a healthy self-esteem, children also need to be taught to think beyond themselves.

During the holiday season, which often focuses on giving, and throughout the year, you can take some time to help kids learn to think of others before themselves.

Read about Kindness, Cooperation, and Goodwill

One of the best ways to teach children about any character trait is to read stories about it. The story of Stone Soup tells the story of a village where people didn’t like to share, but soon learn to think beyond themselves and focus on the greater good. In the story The Star-Money, a young girl is willing to give all she has to help those in need and she is richly blessed because of it. Through stories like these, kids will begin to understand why it’s important to think beyond themselves and focus on others.

 

Talk About How Others are Doing

Model putting others first by taking time to ask others how they’re doing while your children are in hearing distance. Talk with your kids about how others are doing to. Ask them about their friends, their teachers, and others they interact with on a regular basis If kids don’t have any information, encourage them to talk to those people and get to know them better. Even finding out someone’s favorite color or candy bar can be a good way to get kids to start thinking about other people.

Do Things for Others

During the holiday season, many families like to perform random acts of kindness. You can also do this with your kids during the holidays or year-round. Look for opportunities to contribute to charity drives, help out friends in need, or to meet a need in your child’s school or community. Some small activities you can do with kids include:

  • give a card to someone you know
  • pay for someone’s meal at a restaurant
  • bring someone a cup of coffee or hot cocoa on a cold day
  • bring someone a bottle of water on a hot day
  • take a meal or treats to a police station or fire station
  • call someone just to say you’re thinking about him/her
  • do yard work or gardening for someone
  • leave change by a vending machine
  • donate clothes or toys you don’t need
  • write a poem for someone

It doesn’t take a lot of time, money, or effort to get kids to look beyond themselves and put others first. If you start them young, you’ll begin to shape kids who will turn into kind, compassionate adults.

How to Engage Young Readers

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The second week of November is National Young Readers Week. During this week, teachers, administrators, parents, and others involved in the lives of young children are encouraged to set an example by taking time out of the day to read. It’s just one of many ways to encourage young readers to begin to adopt healthy reading skills. As you read with young children and begin to encourage them to read on their own, here are some other strategies to help make reading more engaging.

Select Books Related to their Interests

One of the biggest factors in determining whether children will pick up a book is the book’s interest level. For example, if you give a young boy who loves dinosaurs a book about dinosaurs, he’s likely to read it (or at least skim through it). If you give him a book about life on the farm instead, he’s likely to toss it to the side. When you’re trying to engage young readers, start with their interests. As they begin to see that reading is fun and become more confident readers, they’re more likely to stray from their interests and try new books.

Choose a Book with A lot of Pictures

While a book doesn’t have to have pictures to be interesting, the illustrations or photographs contained within a book have the potential to make it much more engaging to young readers. Some readers may start out by only looking at the pictures and ignoring the text. That’s okay. When children look at the pictures, they’re still engaging with the book and imagining what the book is about. Let them explore the pictures. Then read the book with them and see if their original thoughts about the contents of the book were correct.

Hype Up a Book

Excitement is contagious. If an adult is excited about something and shares that excitement with children, it’s hard for them to not become excited too. Use that to your advantage by hyping up books you want children to read. Say things like, “Wow, this book looks so cool,” “This was my favorite book when I was a kid,” or “I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen.” Children may act disinterested at first, but the more you continue to show your enthusiasm, the more likely you are to eventually reel them in.

Use Silly Voices and Props

Children often haven’t learned to appreciate the beauty of a well-crafted sentence. So while a book may feature beautiful descriptions and vivid characters, they may need some help to connect with it. Using silly voices for the characters or bringing props as you read is one way to help children get into the story and visualize what is going on. In many of the stories from iStoryBooks, the narrator uses different voices for the characters. For informational books or books without a lot of dialogue, consider reading parts of it different voices. For example, you could read a book about science like a robot.

Ask Questions as You (or They) Read

Asking questions as children improves their interaction with and helps them to deepen their understanding of the text. You don’t have to ask deep, thought-provoking questions. Instead, focus on the 5 Ws and the H: Who? What? Where? When? Why? How? Try questions such as:

  • Where do you think they’re going?
  • Why do you think the character made that decision?
  • What do you think is going to happen?
  • How did they get there?

Read in Unique Places

Don’t just sit at a desk or on the couch to read. Get children more excited about the reading process by finding different places to read. Do they like to climb trees? Find a safe tree to climb and sit with them inside the tree to read a book. Make a fort under the dining room table and read as you hide out. Go the park and sit on the swings while reading a book. You can also set up a special area for reading. For example, fill the area under the stairs or a corner of the room with pillows or a special reading chair and encourage kids to cozy up with a book.

Reward them for Reading

We know, we know, reading should be its own reward. However, young readers often haven’t discovered that yet. Sometimes you need to offer them a bit of an incentive to read. Give them small toys or another treat every time they read an entire book or a certain number of pages. Enroll them in your local library’s summer reading program or another public program that rewards kids for filling out reading logs. Once kids start reading, they’re more likely to keep reading for fun, not just to get the reward.

Lesson Plan: What Does the President Do?

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Every time a new president is elected in the United States or other parts of the world, kids may begin to wonder about the role of the president. They may know that the president serves as the leader of a country, but what does that mean? Does the president stay in his office all day making decisions? Is his only job to go to events and shake hands?

Introduction

Begin the lesson by asking students to share ideas about what they think the president does all day. They may say that he makes laws, rides around in a fancy airplane, plays golf, or goes to fancy dinners with other important people. You might be surprised by the ideas kids come up with!

Read About Different Presidents

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Take some time to read some stories about presidents. Some iStoryBooks stories to consider include Abraham Lincoln – From the Poorhouse to President or George Washington – the Man Who Wouldn’t Give Up. While these stories include information about how Abraham Lincoln and George Washington grew up, they also offer details about what they did while serving as president, which will give kids an idea of what the president does all day.

Look at the Constitution

Article Two of the United States Constitution outlines the role of the President in the United States. While the language of the Constitution may be too advanced for a lot of students, you should take time to read some of the original to them and then break it down into terms they can understand. Some key points about the role of president include:

  • He serves for four years
  • He must take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution
  • He is Commander in Chief of the Armed Services
  • He can grant pardons against people
  • He has the ability to make treaties (with the advice and consent of the Senate)
  • He signs bills into law

Read the News about the Current President

Look for recent news stories about what the current President has been doing. For example, you can find the schedule of the U.S. President online. Look at the list of activities to get an idea of what the President does all day.

Write About What the President Does

As a class or individually, work with students to create a short picture book about what the president does. Have students include 5 activities that the President does and draw a picture to represent each activity. If you make a single book as a class, consider photocopying the book and actually mailing it to the President to read.

 

Halloween Costumes Inspired by iStoryBooks Stories

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Halloween is fast approaching. If you, or your children, haven’t decided what to be for Halloween, we’ve got a few ideas inspired by some of our favorite iStoryBooks stories.

Cinderella

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Obviously, girls may want to dress up as Cinderella in her beautiful pink gown, but consider some other options from the story. For example, you can dress up in a dress with patches on it to portray Cinderella before she goes to the ball or throw on a pink dress and some fairy wings, and then fashion a wand out of a stick and some tinfoil to become her fairy godmother. Another idea would be to paint on some warts, throw on a mismatched shirt and skirt, and go as an ugly stepsister.

Snow White

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Another story that offers a lot of costume options is Snow White. Boys can throw on a blue shirt and pants, fashion a gold sash out of ribbon, and put on a gold crown to become the prince or they can wear a red shirt and top, make a hat out of newspaper and paint it red, and add a fake rifle to become the huntsman. They can also dress up as one of the dwarves, throwing on a wool cap, making a beard out of cotton, and wearing a loose-fitting shirt with a felt around it, along with pants in a complementary color.

Girls can put on a pink dress and pink gloves to dress up as snow white or wear a purple dress and ugly makeup to turn into the evil queen. Both boys and girls could become the magic mirror by cutting an oval out of a piece of foam board or cardboard, cutting out a hole for the face, and adding foil or shiny wrapping paper to make the reflective surface. Parents can punch holes and tie ribbon around the child to get the mirror to stay on or attach it to the clothes with velcro.

The Little Red Hen

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Both boys and girls can dress up as any of the characters in The Little Red Hen. Kids can be the little red hen by wearing a red shirt and pants with a blue or turquoise apron on top of them. The Little Red Hen can also carry a loaf of freshly baked bread. For the other animals, kids can wear a sweatsuit in the color of the animal, along with a red shirt for pig or a red vest for rat. To add a bit of humor, they can carry a speech bubble that says “Not I” attached to a craft stick. To make the animal ears and facial features, kids can fashion noses, beaks, and ears out of construction paper and attach them to a strip of construction paper that goes around the head. Parents can also use face paint to add features such as whiskers.

Little Red Riding Hood

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Little Red Riding Hood is full of characters for kids to dress up as. Girls can throw on a red cape over a dress and carry a picnic basket to become Little Red Riding Hood. Girls can also wear a dress, bonnet, and gray wig to become the grandmother. Boys can wear a brown sweatsuit and fashion a wolf nose and ears out of construction paper to become the Big Bad Wolf or add a granny bonnet and dress to be the Big Bad Wolf dressed up as grandmother.

To come up with other costume ideas, look at your favorite iStoryBooks stories. Solid colored sweatsuits work well for creating the base of animal costumes, and you can use colored tape to add on features like stripes. Construction paper and painted newspaper work well for making hats, accessories, and different facial features (ears, mouths, noses).  Large boxes and pieces of cardboard or foam board can be cut and painted to turn into trains, cars, fish, tress, and other fun objects.

Use your imagination to come up with the perfect costume for your kids.

 

Compare and Contrast Lesson Plan: The Boy and His Gummy Bears

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Learning to compare/contrast is an important skill for young readers and some of the best tools to teach this skill are fairy tales and fables. Authors often write their own versions of popular fairy tales and fables. You can find many different fairy tale interpretations on iStoryBooks.co and the iStoryBooks app.

One of our favorite iStoryBooks fables is The Boy and His Gummy Bears. This story is based on Aesop’s fable “The Boy and the Filberts.” As you teach the lesson to students, you will want to read both stories.

Step One:

Introduce students to both stories by talking about what it means to be greedy. Being greedy means you are selfish and want more of something. Encourage students to share examples of when they or someone they know showed signs of being greedy.

Step Two:

Read The Boy and His Gummy Bears along with your students. As students read through the story, encourage them to predict what will happen next. For example, what will happen when the boy tries to fit too many gummy bears in his hand?

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Step Three:

Read “The Boy and the Filberts” with students. You can find a free copy of the fable online or you may be able to find an narrated version of the story on YouTube. Again, as students read through the story, encourage them to predict what will happen next.

Step Four:

After reading both stories, ask students what was the same about both stories. Tell students when you describe what is the same between two stories, you are comparing. Students may note that both of the main characters were greedy. They may also note that both of the characters were boys.

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Step Five:

Next, ask students what was different about the stories. Tell students when you describe what is different between two stories, you are contrasting. Students may note that one character wanted nuts while the other wanted gummy bears. They may also note that there were more characters in the first story.

Step Six:

Explain to students that even though the stories had some differences, they both had the same moral (or taught the same lesson. Give students a chance to guess what that lesson was before stating the moral of the story: Greed causes trouble. Ask students to share some ways that greed has caused trouble in their own lives.

Extending the Activity:

Have students write their own story with the same moral as The Boy and His Gummy Bears and The Boy and the Filberts. Take some time to read their stories aloud in class and compare and contrast them with the original stories.