Alternative PAN-AMERICAN images have space for Spanish self-voice. “B is for BICYCLE” can also be “read” by LATINOS as “B is for bicicleta” without losing the initial sound message.

          Learning familiar Spanish/English letter sounds becomes overly complex, if bilingual HISPANICS are only exposed to traditional sound clues -- ones with conflicting beginning sounds - BEAR (oso), BUTTERFLY (mariposa), etc. There is an ABC fast track option available to HISPANICS, which other ESL students do not enjoy.

          In addition, the English ONLY caution required by traditional sound clues is so difficult for bilingual five year olds that a simplified FORGET SPANISH message is sometimes perceived, carrying another set of perils.

Estelle Mendoza Leisy
ERIC, 1989-2014

Since English and Spanish share many letter sounds, with caution ABC catch-ups can be avoided. Children from Spanish-speaking households are already familiar with many English letter sounds. Cognates are the tool to uncover letter sound recognitions.

However, in kindergarten, English-only directional signs such as B is for BEAR/oso and D is for DUCK/pato require the child to remember its English name. These signs will point in opposing directions: both “B” and “O” for the first and “D” and “P” for the second. It is a real challenge for young children as they make their first steps into literacy.