Saturday, March 16, 2013

Escucha Means Listen

Title: Escucha Means Listen 
Author: Talia Aikens-Nunez  
Illustrator: Dina Ashraf Helmi 
Publisher: Musa Publishing 
Publication Date: November, 2012 
Genre/Format: Fiction/Picture Book 
GoodReads Summary: From the mowing of the lawn to the splish-splashing of rain puddles, Talia Aikens-Nuñez’s bilingual picture book Escucha Means Listen introduces toddlers and babies to the sweet sounds around them.

Take a journey through the world—just listening. Escucha Means Listen helps children discover sounds around them in English and Spanish. 
What I Think: As a hearing itinerant teacher, one of the things I did with my students, especially the young ones or the students who were recently identified with a hearing loss, was to take a walk around the school and listen for sounds. We would grab our notebooks and quietly tiptoe around the school listening for sounds. We had a blast with this...I would make a big deal of stopping and cupping my hand around my ear to ask them to stop and listen closely. Since I worked with students with hearing loss, there were times when they couldn't hear the sounds that I could hear. Then we would use our eyes and I would point out what was making a sound and describe it to them. One thing that is so important for kids with hearing loss is accepting the fact that they have a hearing loss. I used this activity to try and point out that there are sounds they may not be able to hear or that they may have to try really hard to hear or that they can hear only with their hearing aids in. It's definitely a hard conversation to have. I can vividly remember the faces of students when they realized that they are missing sounds that others are hearing but it's also a conversation that needs to be had. I always did my best to talk about how we were going to learn about what they could to to help themselves if they can't hear. I never wanted to dwell on the fact that they were missing sounds, instead it was about accepting it and moving onto what we could do about it.
     For hearing students or students with a hearing loss, this activity is great for taking note of surroundings. I love this as an activity for looking for writing ideas. Students can easily look at the format of this book and write their own version using sounds they hear all around them. Last week, we reviewed Look Up! by Annette LeBlanc Cate and in that book she asks readers to stop and notice nature. These books would go well together or they would ladder together as this text is much simpler than Look Up!
     For older students, you can ask them to write down words to label and describe what they hear and also teach them about onomatopoeia. They can also write down words that bring the sound that they hear to life to use in their writing. I would then have a discussion about why a writer would want to include these words. How do they help us as readers? Why would we as writers want to include onomatopoeia for our readers?
     This book in particular adds in Spanish words and vocabulary. I can see this being used with students who are bilingual or are learning either English or Spanish. Recently, a teacher shared a vocabulary activity with me. She taught students new vocabulary with matching actions. After kids were familiar with the word and the actions, she played Simon Says with the vocabulary words. I thought this was a great way to teach new vocabulary words and include a kinesthetic element.
Read Together: Grades Pre-K - 2  
Read Alone: Grades Pre-K - 2
Read With: Look Up! by Annette LeBlanc Cate, This Jazz Man by Karen Erhardt, Cat's Night Out by Carolyn Stutson, Squeak, Rumble, Whomp! Whomp! Whomp! by Wynston Marsalis
Snatch of Text:  
"Listen. Escucha.
Listen to everything around you."
Reading Strategies to Practice: Activating Background Knowledge, Making Connections  
Writing Strategies to Practice: Onomatopoeia, Writing Process, Brainstorming, Writer's Notebook, Writer's Eye
Writing Prompts: Take a sound walk around your school. In your writer's notebook, record all the sounds that you hear. Write down the sound and what it sounds like. When you are back in your classroom, look at the sounds that you wrote down. Which ones were sounds that you noticed before and which were sounds that you had never noticed before? 
Topics Covered: Integration - Science - Observation/Listening, Five Senses,
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