Monday, November 7, 2011

Carmen Learns English

Carmen Learns English

Author:   Judy Cox                                     

About the Author:
Judy Cox grew up in San Francisco, where she loved to tell stories to her younger brother and sisters.  She started writing her first book at the age of 11 but had many rejections from publishers so she became an elementary teacher where she taught kindergarten through third grade.  She began writing again later into her career about stories of her students and own children.
Genre: Fiction
Grade Level: K-2

This book is about a little girl starting the first day of school.  It can be scary, especially when no one else speaks your language. Carmen speaks only Spanish and knows she must be brave. Her teacher's Spanish is not good at all; but with a little encouragement from her teacher, Carmen teaches the class Spanish words and numbers, and she in turn learns English from her new friends.

Pre Reading Activity:
Who knows some Spanish words?

Have the students list all the words they know in Spanish and their meaning.  Make a list of English words they would like to know the Spanish word for. 

Post Reading Activity:
What do you think is important if someone is struggling with something in school?

Have the students write two sentences about how they could help someone who did not speak English if they were in their class.

I think this is a great book for younger students.  They can see what challenges Carmen faces about coming to a school and not knowing how to speak the language.  It can teach students to be understanding about differences students and teachers bring to the classroom and how we all can learn from being different.


  1. This book sounds like a great book to use in an ESL classroom. I love that her teacher encourages her to teach the other students Spanish words. That is a great idea to help make Carmen feel special and welcome in the classroom! Thank you for sharing this book.

  2. It s great that her teacher encourages her to teach other students. We should always celebrate our differences and teach others!