Bilingual and Spanish-Language Websites

As an educator, I am often concerned about whether students are gaining the technology skills they need. Because I have always taught in predominantly working-class schools, and because many of my students’ primary home language is Spanish, I have added concerns.

By Cathy Amanti

A recent report by the U.S. Department of Commerce, “Falling Through the Net: Defining the Digital Divide,” confirms that high-income households are much more likely to have Internet access. Further, the development of educational Spanish-language software has not kept pace with the development of English software.

Fortunately, there is an increasing number of Spanish-language websites available for classroom use. The following are a good place to start for both bilingual educators and Spanish-language teachers who want to experience the wealth of high-quality Spanish-language websites now in existence:

Lengua y literatura (www.edukt.com/colegios/indexlit.htm#li) is a comprehensive site with links to Spanish poems, riddles, tongue twisters, stories, and plays for students by Latin American authors. This site is easily navigable in Spanish. Since none of the poems or stories I viewed are illustrated, teachers may want to download them into a wordprocessing document, print them, and let their students draw illustrations to accompany them. The site also links to articles on Latin American children’s literature for teachers, as well as bibliographic information about the authors featured. For older students there are links to bibliographic information and the works of classic Latin American authors such as Jorge Luis Borges, Gabriela Mistral, Pablo Neruda, and Ruben Dario.

De par en par (www.spainembedu.org/deparenpar/index.html) is an online Spanish magazine for teachers with stories and activities for students in kindergarten through eighth grade. Published by the Spanish embassy in Washington, DC, each issue contains four or five stories, illustrated by children, followed by lesson plans and student activity sheets that can easily be downloaded and printed for classroom use. A list of related activities follows each story with material lists and step-by-step directions. The stories are thematic and tie into science, math, history, and language arts. A paper version of this magazine is available and teachers can be placed on a list to be notified when new editions of the magazine are available.

¡Hot Internet sites en español! (www.kn.pacbell.com/wired/spanish) is a collection of Spanish sites organized in the following categories: elementary, secondary, Internet resources, and teacher resources. Although links are to Spanish sites, the homepage is in English. Very easy to navigate. One link is to Mundo Zoo (www.familia.cl/newweb/animales/animal.htm), a colorful, attractive resource for intermediate elementary students with photos and information in Spanish about animals around the world.