July 27, 2009

Fotonovelas help Hispanic children learn

Fotonovelas provide information while using photography and a minimum of text to help Hispanic children learn to read, a U.S. literacy group said.

They are very popular in Spanish-speaking countries and have a much stronger visual impact than most materials for English learners. The text is a conversation rather than narrative in format, Deborah Hasson of the Hispanic Family Learning Institute said in a statement.

Readers can rely on visual cues in the faces and expressions of the characters to help them guess at the meaning. In the United States and Canada, fotonovelas have become popular educational tools.

The two National Center for Literacy bilingual fotonovelas for parents are called Get Involved! -- Involucrate! and Reading at Home -- Lectura en el hogar. The group is also offering a practitioner guide with lesson plans and activities for adult English and native language use.

In addition, Cultivating Readers is a 16-page magazine that includes activities and strategies to increase the reading readiness and school success specifically for young children. The fotonovelas and Cultivating Readers are available online in English and Spanish at www.famlit.org/families/free-resources.