Word-Builders for English Language Learners (grades 2-12) (Instructor's edition)
Teaching English-Language Learners With Spanish-English Cognates
What Is a Cognate?
Cognates are words with similar pronunciations, spellings, and meanings in two languages. For instance, though pronunciation is slightly different, radio is the same word in both Spanish and English. Some cognate pairs may have the exact same spelling but different pronunciation (such as radio), others may differ slightly in both spelling and pronunciation (bicicleta/bicycle). In either case, the meaning is the same between languages. Since so many words in Spanish and English derive from Latin, there are thousands of cognates between Spanish and English.
Why Use Cognates to Teach?
Native Spanish speakers comprise the fastest growing sector of the U.S. school-age population. They come to the United States with a wealth of Spanish vocabulary—funds of knowledge that can be used to build English-language vocabulary. If Spanish- speaking students can recognize cognate relationships, their English reading can be enhanced; once they know the word in Spanish, recognizing it in English is significantly easier.