My Goodreads Bookshelf!

This Is How You Lose Her
And the Mountains Echoed
Backseat Saints
The Valley of Amazement
Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them
How I Write: The Secret Lives of Authors
The Secret Miracle: The Novelist's Handbook
The Memoir Project: A Thoroughly Non-Standardized Text for Writing & Life
Julie of the Wolves
Signs & Wonders
From Clueless to Class Act: Manners for the Modern Woman
Kitchen Privileges: A Memoir
Teacher Man
The Bridges of Madison County
Land of a Thousand Hills: My Life in Rwanda
Shadow Tag
Paul Strand: Masters of Photography Series
Fat Chance
Giving up America
The Darwin Awards: Evolution in Action

readinginspanglish's favorite books »

Archive for 2014

Jun 2014

Weekend Roundup!

posted in: Uncategorized

Wahoo! I’m off for a long weekend! I hope to squeeze in some reading. Make sure to squeeze in these gems over the weekend:

New poems by Pablo Neruda discovered :: via The Guardian – About twenty new poems – yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay! Neruda’s poetry is so sensuous, I can only compare it to biting into the flesh of a ripe peach.

Latinos Under- and misrepresented in TV and movies :: via The New York Times – I consider movies/plays/tv to be an extension of literature. Most people don’t think that shows are nothing if there aren’t people writing scripts! This article breaks down what most Latinos could already tell you. Interesting read.

Isabel Allende’s summer reading list :: via her blog – I thought this list would have books that were . . . darker, for some reason. Based on Amazon previews alone, I’d say that I’d be mostly likely to pick up Euphoria by Lily King and We Are Called to Rise by Laura McBride.

10 Chicano films for teaching Mexican-American Studies :: via the Huffington Post — And 10 more recommended via social media. I have seen 8 and 9. I plan on reading Bless Me, Ultima by Ruldofo Anaya and . . . y no se lo tragó la tierra by Tomás Rivera, so I’ll hold off on watching the movies. I’ve added what I can to my Netflix lists.

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Jun 2014


posted in: Familia

My husband is an awesome dad. I’m not just saying that for Father’s Day 2014. When we found out I was pregnant, I was hyperventilating and flapping my arms around and crying hysterically. Miguel just smiled and said we’d be all right. He went to me with appointments and reviewed my online shopping carts to purchase the 50 billion things we would never use. He picked up basically everything that fell to the floor for the last two months of my pregnancy when I couldn’t bend over anymore, and massaged me on request.

Miguel is such a good dad that acquaintances can’t believe he’s real. He would entertain our newborn at 2:00 a.m. so I could get a tiny bit of rest before the next feeding even though he had to work the next day. He shows up for all birthday parties, dance practices, school events, and impromptu at-home performances by Sophia.  Even today he says, “Hey, why don’t you go to Barnes & Noble by yourself for a bit while we hang out?” Yes y’all, he’s real.

The best thing is that Miguel does this out of a place of love. He doesn’t need a parade for every little thing. He’s a superdad.

Superdads shows up for family events. Superdads teach your kid about the Justice League and Ninja Turtles and beatboxing on Incredibox. Superdads mow the lawn and load the dishwasher and tell you if you’re being too strict or not strict enough. Superdads convert the crib into a toddler bed since you can’t see through your tears over your baby growing up. Superdads figure out how to detangle crazy curls and even master the ponytail.

I love to get pictures of Miguel doing things with Sophia when they aren’t paying attention. I’m always behind the camera, not often in the pictures. So what you don’t see in these pictures is a mom whose heart is swollen with pride. This Father’s Day, let’s celebrate all of the modern superdads who are an active part of their children’s lives.

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Jun 2014

Raising a Bilingual Child

posted in: Bilingual

Instilling a love of reading early!

Being a working mom, I sometimes feel guilty to go on for a jog on the weekends and lose precious time with my daughter, so I’ll take her with me. Of course, I don’t really get in a good workout, but I’ve had some great moments outside with her.

One Saturday morning as we walked around a track she put her hand in mine and said, “Mami, do you speak Spanglish, like me?” 

I stifled a laugh. Where did this come from? Who told her that she speaks Spanglish? I’m sure the family has brought it up at some point. The thing is, I couldn’t laugh, and I couldn’t even fuss over how cute it was, because her relationship with speaking Spanish seems tenuous right now. And I couldn’t mess with that. She is now realizing she speaks two languages, and sometimes, she refuses to speak Spanish.

Raising a bilingual child in Alabama is not easy! It’s not for the faint of heart. My husband grew up speaking Spanish from birth. I actually didn’t learn any Spanish until I was seven. My family moved back to El Paso near my mom’s family, and I learned by immersion. (I don’t know if I’ve mentioned, I speak “todo mocho.” )

But we’re trying to teach our daughter Spanish without any inherent context. When I moved back to El Paso, if I wanted to get to know my abuela, I had no choice but to learn. There was also TV, and signs everywhere are bilingual, and people move effortlessly between the languages. We don’t have that here.

So the result has been hard work. I’m compiling what I put into every day practice to raise a bilingual child the best I can.

So here are my unscientific tips on raising a bilingual child:

1. Be consistent! 

One thing I really try to focus on with parenting in general is being consistent. It’s very easy to slip into an English-only pattern. Sophia sometimes refuses to repeat words or ask for things in Spanish. Sometimes she pretends not to understand or know the words. I don’t force it, but I am consistent about trying to speak Spanish every day. I also ask my family to speak to her in Spanish. If she wants something, I hold out until she asks for it in Spanish or repeats a new word. I suspect that Sophia doesn’t like my American accent compared to the Puerto Rican accent of my suegros. Hardy-har. Which leads me to my next tip:

2. Be confident!

My Spanish is conversational. So what. That’s why I involve the rest of my family. My goal is for Sophia to speak an educated Spanish, and for that I plan to hire a tutor later.

3. Sing songs in Spanish

Because hearing your child sing “Los Pollitos” will melt your heart. We’re both prone to randomly burst into song and dance, so this is easy. If you don’t know or don’t remember the lyrics of songs, try the Youtube channel MrLearnSpanish and learn them together!

4. TV shows and movies in Spanish!

So I have access via regular cable to one channel in Spanish, Univision. Apparently they play something like Pocoyo at the crack of dawn on Saturday, and that’s it. This is one reason we were “cord-cutters” for years. All you have to do is take your child’s DVDs and actually use the language function. Sometimes Sophia complains when I put it in “Spanglish.” But for the most part she doesn’t seem to notice. She accepts both languages equally. She was excited to watch Frozen in “Spanglish” the other day, even though she has memorized the songs in English.

Hulu has a variety of kids shows in Spanish, all available via Hulu Plus (the subscription). Amazon streams Go, Diego GO! and Dora the Explorer free with their Prime membership. With a little creativity, at least part of your kids’  TV time can be in Spanish.

5. Buy books that are bilingual/en español


At the bookstore, reading a bilingual edition of Curious George.

The amount of toys we have drives me crazy, and I periodically purge. But there is no limit on books in this house. I try to read at least one book that includes Spanish every night.

6. Seek advice online.

When Sophia first complained at my urging her to speak Spanish, I freaked out. But I felt much calmer after doing some online reading and understanding what is normal for bilingual children. Two of my favorite resources right now are De Su Mama and SpanglishBaby. SpanglishBaby no longer updates their website, but lives on in social media. They explain in their last post which you can read here.

When I’m teaching Sophia something new and she tries to give up, I tell her to keep going, and to do it con ganas! And that’s pretty much the route I’ll take for sticking with the program – it will take a concerted effort, but it will be worth it!

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May 2014

Weekend Roundup

posted in: Uncategorized
Boy Kings of Texas

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The temperature is finally reaching my sweet spot – around 90 degrees, and I’m enjoying summer activities! Enjoy these tidbits while you relax this weekend:

Domingo Martinez :: via This American Life – I heard Martinez read one of his short stories from The Boy Kings of Texas a few months ago on This American Life while browsing the archives (I like to listen to public radio while I work). Last Saturday they had Martinez back to read “Blunt Force.” I’ll be doing more research on this author and purchasing his book based on these stories. His voice is an authentic and adroit at conveying the Mexican-American experience. Listen to both stories here.

Reading Rainbow is Back! :: via Kickstarter – If you love books,  you’ve probably already heard of this, or even contributed to this Kickstarter campaign. Growing up with Reading Rainbow only reinforced my LOVE of books growing up. I was so sad when it was cancelled, so when my husband heard of this campaign he actually called me at work to tell me about it. As I write this, Levar Burton has raised almost 2.5 million dollars to bring Reading Rainbows to more kids and more classrooms. I didn’t know there are apps for the Kindle and iPad for my 3-year old to enjoy! Excuse me while I go download those immediately.

Latino Kids and Classical Music :: via NPR – The story of conductor Sonia Marie De Leon De Vega, who is bringing classical music to Latino families in Los Angeles.

Maya Angelou passes :: via New York Times – A literary icon passed away this week. Take a moment to look at Angelou‘s life and rediscovery her poetry. My personal favorite is Phenomenal Woman.

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