«Mariposa, Mariposa, ¿por qué no tienes manchas?» Animals and insects make learning more approachable for students, and tying a book into a lesson helps students take their learning to the next level. This Beginning Spanish Reader Insects Pack revolves around a short, personalizable insect book and includes several additional, optional activities to help students practice the verb tener, Spanish colors, and subject/personal pronouns.

Learning Focus

  • Developing early reading and/or comprehension fluency in the Spanish Language
  • Gaining fluency with insect vocabulary
  • Mastering Spanish personal/subject pronouns
  • Practicing the present tense of the Spanish verb tener (to have): sight recognition, comprehension, conjugation, relation to subject/personal pronouns
  • Reviewing or learning basic Spanish colors

Spanish Vocabulary

This pack is designed to expand or contract depending upon the learning situation. The target vocabulary is:

  • adjectives: delgadas, delicadas, largas
  • el libro de . . .
  • insects: abeja(s), araña(s), escarabajo(s), hormiga(s), libélula(s), mariposa(s), mariquita(s), polilla(s)
  • insect-related words: alas, manchas, mandíbulas, rayas, telearaña(s)
  • no
  • numbers: cuatro, ocho
  • por qué
  • qué
  • son
  • subject/personal pronouns: yo, tú, él, ella, usted (Ud.), nosotros(as), vosotros(as), ellos, ellas, ustedes (Uds.)
  • tener: present tense

What’s Included

Huge thanks to Clipartino for permission to use the adorable clipart. You’ll find the non-color, but super-colorable, download below in two formats: one with an ustedes (Uds.) and one with a vosotros/vosotras focus. The color downloads are available to newsletter subscribers in the email-Subscriber’s Library.

There are twenty-two (22) pages broken down as follows:

Special Note

This pack is specifically designed to be printed one-sided. The main reason is to provide flexibility for teachers and learners. Another reason is so that young students can put the pages in order themselves without the frustration of dealing with front and back sides. There are additional ideas for use below, but having a blank side allows teachers to ask students to translate, write answers, write additional text, etc. while turning in their work on a single, bound document.

Ideas for Use

Below we’ve outlined some ideas for the Beginning Spanish Reader Insects Pack. If you think of other ideas, please share them with the learning community in the comments below. We’d love to hear them!

Reading and Listening Comprehension
Mariposa, Mariposa . . .

Reading this book out-loud will help students hear the correct pronunciation, cadence, and use of Spanish words. However, if your Spanish pronunciation is iffy or if you want students to work on reading comprehension, let them loose to decipher this book individually or even in pairs. The language is simple, and the pictures give all the context clues needed to make excellent guesses at unknown words. Patterns in the words, sentence structure, word order, and so on aid students in feeling comfortable with the language that’s coming next.

Still want to read the book out loud? Try looking up the pronunciation of unfamiliar words in an online dictionary like this one («mariposa» is the example). We all have to look up words once in a while. (I had to look up the pronunciation of “proboscis” in Spanish and English!)

Like a Moth to a . . . Spiderweb

Personal/Subject pronouns form part of the “base” of most languages. We can’t talk about ourselves or others in English or Spanish without them. With this Beginning Reader Insects Pack, learners can read, hear, and, if desired, manipulate Spanish subject pronouns–they’re right there, “hidden in plain sight,” in the book and in the activities.

Put a Cape on the Verb

Tener is one of what we call the “Super Six” Spanish Verbs. In fact, according to professor Mark Davies’ Spanish linguistic corpus (here and here) and his 2006 list of most common Spanish base words (lemmas), tener is the 18th most commonly used base-word in the Spanish language. Basically, tener is a big-shot in the Spanish language.

This pack gives students the opportunity to read, hear, see conjugated, and, if desired, manipulate the verb tener with the goal of eventually using it in the present tense fluently. How do we do this? The book, first, but then . . . Arañas, telarañas, and polillas, oh-my!

Singular Versus Plural Vocabulary

Vocabulary cards that can be added to the printable book or cut-out appear in the optional pages section. Want students to use context clues? Save the vocabulary cards/pages for a self or class check. Want students to use them as a mini-dictionary? Have students add them as the last pages of their books. We’ve included singular and plural forms of vocabulary.

Clipart Copyright to Clipartino
Give Mariposa Some Spots

After learning that she has no spots, Mariposa may want to try some. Here you’ll find flexible and adaptable pages that can be used for nearly any age or learning level. The most obvious use is with Spanish colors, as labeled dots are included. But, variant names for colors are included, too! Prefer anaranjado or naranja? Both are included. Prefer morado or púrpura? They’re both here.

There are nearly limitless other potential uses. For example, instead of using colors with advanced students, ask students to write the Spanish pronouns on one side of the butterfly (perhaps in the pre-printed circles in the first example) and the corresponding conjugation on the other side. This page could serve as a quiz, a review activity, and so much more.

Tips and Tricks

To make this pack last longer or with multiple classes, you can take a few steps to extend the download’s life. While lamination is an obvious option, you can also use clear sheet protectors (the kind that go in binders) or even quart or gallon-sized kitchen/food bags. Any of these three options will allow you to also use dry-erase markers instead of the included paper manipulation insects. Or, learners can write conjugations, translations, and more. Worried about losing little pieces? Use sandwich or snack bags or cut along the included lines instead of in circles.

Other Resources You Might Like

Need more Spanish verb practice? Try our free Spanish Super-Six Verb Dice. Have younger learners who love insects? Try our free Bug Jar Learning Pack.

Have a fantastic idea to share? We’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below!

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