L4LL’s Young Adult Challenge!

We are so excited to announce this newest opportunity for our summer reading participants! One of the goals of the Latino Children’s Summer Reading Program is to take advantage of technology and use it to boost literacy skills among our youth. Our Young Adult Challenge does exactly that as it combines technology with Latino literature.

Kids ages 12 to 18 are still challenged to read 8 books this summer, BUT we want them to also present a video book report on a piece of Latino (children’s) literature that they’ve read. This book may be one of the 8 books they’ve read for the program, and may or may not be found on our reading list for young adults.

The families of participants in this age range who submit a list of the 8 books they’ve read over the summer, as well as a video book report about a piece of Latino (children’s) lit that they’ve read, will be entered to win one of 10 Chromebooks and 10 Nexus 7 tablets donated by our sponsor, Google. The video book report will be archived in the L4LL YouTube channel.

For a complete description of the YA Challenge Rules, click on the link below.

YA Challenge Resources

5 Tips to Nurture a Biliterate Child

The following is a guest post by Dr. Carlos Ulloa.

Below are some tips to consider as you help instill the ongoing love of reading, writing, listening and speaking in two languages with your child.


Model fluency by speaking, listening, reading and writing to your child daily. If you want to develop a bilingual and biliterate child, you must be a strong and consistent example. When you embrace the gift of speaking, listening, reading and writing in two languages, you are passing on a family value that can be passed on for generations. Accept it, you are your child’s first teacher! Do not relinquish this important responsibility to anyone.


Make time to read with your child every day. There is nothing like escaping into a great book with your child. Reading should not be a chore. Discover familiar and new books you would like to read with or to your child. Find your child’s inner passion and find all books and websites related to his or her favorite topic.

While reading, consciously ask questions aloud of the author, story setting, characters or plot. This is what great readers do in their heads and you can model it for your child. Put yourself into the book and honor your child’s responses.

There are a growing number of books written in English and Spanish. Your local library and your child’s school library are the best places to start. Start by checking out Pura Belpré Award winning books. The award is named after Pura Belpré, the first Latina librarian at the New York Public Library. The Pura Belpré Award, established in 1996, is presented annually to a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth. It is co-sponsored by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), and REFORMA, the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking, an ALA affiliate. For a list of current award and honor books, check out the Pura Belpré home page.


A simple and fun prewriting activity is to consciously talk about new and familiar words when you are walking, driving or cooking. When encountering new words, be curious about them, help your child define the new word by breaking the word apart to find smaller words within the word.

Writing is a process. Consider writing a letter to a family member in Spanish or writing down a favorite family recipe. Card making is also a wonderful and purposeful form of reading and writing.

Expand from letter writing to recording family anecdotes, saying and writing captions to include who, what and where on the back of your family photos.


When you are at home or in the car, listen to songs in both languages. Talk about the lyrics. What is the singer trying to say? Audio books in English and Spanish are also a wonderful way to bridge into your child’s listening comprehension.


It is never too late to give your child the gift of biliteracy. Language and culture cannot be separated and if you can’t make trips to visit abuelita and abuelito, call them on the phone.

Nothing is sadder to a Spanish-speaking grandparent or relative than when a child cannot communicate with a family member because they do not speak or understand the same language. When you value biliteracy, you are giving your child a life-long gift and a sincere purpose to read, write, speak and listen in two languages.

Over the summer Dr. Carlos Ulloa will expand upon each of the five tips he outlines in this article.


Dr. Ulloa grew up speaking Spanish with his mother and English with his father. He is currently the principal of a dual immersion school in Petaluma, California. Dr. Ulloa has over 22 years of experience as a director of curriculum and instruction, elementary teacher, Descubriendo la Lectura/Reading Recovery teacher and parent involvement specialist. He currently serves as a commissioner on the Instructional Quality Commission (IQC), an advisory board to the California State Board of Education. Ulloa earned his bachelors at San Diego State University in Liberal Studies with a Spanish Bilingual Emphasis, masters degree in Education from Harvard University and doctorate in Educational Leadership at the University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Ulloa can be contacted at CarlosUlloaJr@gmail.com

Using Story Boards to Boost Your Child’s Reading Comprehension {PRINTABLE}

Learning to read involves many different skills: letter recognition, phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and text comprehension. It’s not just about making words out of letters or sentences out of words.

Reading comprehension plays a major role in your child’s literacy. Being able to read words is of no use if you don’t understand what they mean or how they relate to each other in a sentence. Reading comprehension is a skill that is developed over time and has to be taught to children in addition to basic decoding skills.

This is why I love activities that help children to think about what they’ve read and the meaning of the story. One of my favorite tools is the story board. It is quite simply a visual template that your child can fill with words or drawings related to the book he or she has read.

They are extremely versatile. In the example above, we used the book ¡Olé! Flamenco by George Ancona. In the center circle is the title of the book, and the surrounding spaces are filled with the elements most closely associated with the traditional Spanish dance.

Typically the center space is reserved for the main subject of your story board. Your child can write in the title of a book, the main character, or something else. Consider these potential topics:

– Character traits of the hero
– Character traits of the villain!
– Different settings found in the story
– Sequential events (i.e., in the Three Little Pigs, FIRST the pigs left to build their own houses. SECOND the first little pig built a house of straw, THIRD the middle pig built a house of sticks, etc.)
– Comparing and contrasting; take two characters and on the left side of the page, show what they have in common, but on the right side of the page, show what is different about them.

The absolute best part of using story boards is that you can use them in any language! Or more than one; we used both Spanish and English in the story board above. You can also make them as simple (with fewer lines for younger children) or as complex (more lines for older kids) as you want.

The neatest part is that the story boards can be used for multiple subjects including science, history, geography, and others.

Story boards are easy to create yourself, but I made a set of them which I sell in my online TpT store. HOWEVER, I’m happy to offer them for free this summer in honor of the Latino Children’s Summer Reading Program. Hop on over there and download your complimentary set. And if you use any of them with your kids, why not snap a picture and post it on our Facebook page to inspire the other participating familias?

Happy reading!

Announcing the Group Challenge!

Calling all summer camps, library programs, youth groups, language camps, and cultural centers!

Do you have programs this summer? Why not incorporate the Latino Children’s Summer Reading Program and register your group for our special Group Challenge? Once you register, you’ll be automatically entered to win a Google Hangout with an award-winning Latina – either poet Margarita Engle or author/illustrator Lulu Delacre!

If your child is involved in a summer program, just print up the flyer and share it with their teacher.

To find ideas on how to incorporate the Summer Reading Program in your class or camp, or to register your group for the Group Challenge (groups register separately) click here.

Support Latino children’s literacy this summer!

Thank You to Our Sponsors!

I just wanted to take a moment to recognize and thank all of our current sponsors who are making it possible for our Latino Children’s Summer Reading Program to benefit as many Latino families as possible. Google has worked so hard with us to amplify our program and incorporate additional technology to reach more families and provide additional learning opportunities. You’ll be learning more about these in the weeks to come.

We’d also like to thank Plaza Familia and Latism for their support and their willingness to share resources, including a new educational platform, with our summer reading participants. You’ll be hearing more soon.

Latinamom.me is an ardent supporter, as well, and is helping us purchase the backpacks that will be distributed at the end of the reading program. They’ve also helped out with our Spanish translations of all the printables.

And we’d also like to thank our newest sponsors. Boden PR’s owner even has her own children enrolled in the summer reading program! Delta Dental also supports Latino children’s literacy and we’re especially excited about the bilingual coloring books that Delta Dental is supplying for us to include in each backpack giveaway to the first 100 families who complete the summer reading program.

You can learn more about these companies by clicking on the images in our sidebar.

¡Muchisimas gracias a todos!

The L4LL Summer Reading Program Bookstore

We’ve had several emails and comments asking where you can purchase all the books on our reading lists. While we have a list of links on our Summer Reading Tips page, we figured out it is a little time consuming to go to the different sites. So we added all of the titles on our reading lists to an Amazon affiliate store. A purchase from this shop goes toward helping to fund our Summer Reading Program. They are grouped by reading list. Just click on the age group/list you want to explore in the left sidebar and it will take you to all the titles we recommend.

Just a reminder that these books are NOT mandatory. The books on the lists are just ones we love and recommend.

You can find our affiliate store here.

Summer Reading Prevents Loss in Reading Skills

With summer learning loss, also known as Summer Brain Drain or the Summer Slide, affects thousands of children across the country each year. During the summer kids can lose valuable skills and forget important concepts they learned in school. Children from low-income households are especially vulnerable. Parents, you can fight Summer Brain Drain by providing your kids with opportunities to keep their skills sharp in fun and entertaining ways. The L4LL’s Latino Children’s Summer Reading Program is a great way to keep your kid’s literacy skills in tip-top shape!

Take a look at the infographic below that our friends at First Book shared with us that shows how reading during the summer is crucial for preventing a loss of reading skills.

Infographic by First Book

L4LL’s Video of the Week: Tito Puente Mambo King-Rey del Mambo

Buenos días! We have a lot of great videos coming your way this summer. We’ll be sharing videos by Latino authors and book trailers to introduce you to some of the wonderful Latino children’s literature titles that are available. We’re starting off with this one about one of the biographies listed on our 4-8 Summer Reading List.


Using Our Summer Reading Lists

One of the biggest challenges Latino parents face when it comes to finding Latino children’s literature is knowing what books are out there. We kept this in mind when we were creating our summer reading lists. They are filled with titles by or about Latinos, and include biographies, folklore, abecedarios, and many others. And they are great reads the whole year round, not just during summer.

We’ve been asked if the books on our reading lists are mandatory reading for the summer. NO. They are NOT mandatory. These are simply just a few of the books that we love and recommend to those of you looking for bilingual and Spanish-language books.

We’ve also been asked where these books can be purchased. Most, if not all, of the books can be purchased on Amazon.com. We also have a list of links to sites that sell Latino literature on our Summer Reading Tips page.

You can find our summer reading lists here on our page with all our printables for the L4LL Summer Reading Program.

More to come!


You’ve been asking and asking where you can buy all these books in once place. So we created an Amazon store with all of the titles on our reading lists. This is an affiliate link. Your purchase helps to fund the summer reading program! Visit our store here.