Closing the language gap using bilingual picture books

There are more than 39 million Hispanics living in the United States, making it the fifth largest Spanish-speaking nation in the world. It is estimated that within five years, Mexico alone will have more Spanish speakers than the US The schools are offering bilingual courses and a fully integrated bilingual curriculum. In some areas of the country, Spanish even surpasses English as the first language of residents. Families are integrating languages ‚Äč‚Äčinto their neighborhoods on a regular basis.

We propose to close the language gap with bilingual picture books that educate and entertain. The presence of English and Spanish in the same book allows for intercultural access and language development. Reading is a wonderful family experience that allows children to explore character development, expand their imaginations, and develop problem-solving skills. The addition of another language educates and the illustrations in a picture book support learning in an entertaining way.

Raven Tree Press offers bilingual books in a variety of styles and options.

Full Text Translation: Full text translation means that the text of the story is presented in English and then again in Spanish. Both texts are usually placed on the page with an icon separating them for easy reading. A different ink color is also generally used to further compensate for the two languages.

Embedded Text: Take a story in English and sprinkle it with a bit of Spanish. We call it embedded text. The word to be embedded is usually introduced first in English and then reiterated in the sentence, or at least in the same paragraph in Spanish later on. Once the word is introduced, it can be used over and over again in the context of the story. The context of the story and the illustrations are of the utmost importance when using embedded text, as they help make the jump from one language to another.

Without words: Can a book without words be effective in learning a language? Definitely! Wordless picture books and word limited picture books are beautiful and educational. They help children develop language, creative thinking, and improve future reading and writing skills. Using wordless picture books, children learn that reading follows a pattern from left to right. They learn that stories usually have a beginning, a middle, and an end. They also learn to identify details, see cause and effect, make judgments, and draw conclusions. We present a page of instructions in English and Spanish for creative uses of our books.

Bilingual Concept: In bilingual concept books, we take a language concept and strictly focus on that. Count, for example. The story is presented in English, but the concept (numbers in this case) is presented in both English and Spanish. Keywords are easily learned using this format.

Raven Tree Press includes an English/Spanish vocabulary page to help readers with key words in either language.

Raven Tree Press bilingual picture books for children are available at your favorite bookstores, online bookstores, and on the publisher’s website at

Editor’s Note: Excerpts from books and artwork can easily be inserted into this article to clarify points if you’re interested. Please contact me for additional details.

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