Cheering you on in your Spanish-learning journey

Learn Spanish through Literature // La mariquita Lara


Have you been keeping up with our Learn Spanish through Ladybug series?  So far here is what we have learned!

1. Make a Ladybug (Spanish Counting & the Color Red)
2. Learn Spanish Prepositions with Ladybug
3. The Ladybugs and Their Spots (Spanish Counting, FREE Printable)
4. The Ladybugs and Their Colors (Spanish Colors, FREE Printable)
5. Help the Ladybugs (Spanish Colors, Counting & Nouns)
6. Today’s Post: La mariquita Lara // Lara the Ladybug

Okay, so maybe this book would not be considered literature, but it is a cute story about a ladybug who has lost her spots. La Mariquita Lara is part of the “Rookie Reader Español” series for beginning reading (or learning!) in Spanish.  Even though the text is simple, it introduces the past and future tenses in Spanish.  My kiddos and I played a game to extend the story, but this would also be a great read for older Spanish students to practice using tenses beyond the present.

First we read the story.  We read it quite a few times, actually, as it sat in our library basket a while before I decided what activity to do with it.  For some reason I just think the the illustrations of Lara the ladybug are so cute!  Her expressions as she looks for her missing spots make me giggle.  Like any beginning reading book, in order to help readers master a certain vocabulary set the story consists of only thirty-five words.  Most of those words you can easily find in the dictionary, however I made a chart of the verbs in the story because sometimes finding the definition of verbs in their different tenses can be challenging.

she lost
they will be able to
she left behind
vamos a…
BAH-mohs ah
we are going to
she rests
is it/it is
she sees
they are

Isn’t she so cute?!

My only reservation about the story is the phrase “¿Dónde podrán estar?” which translates as “Where will they (be able to) be?”  If there are any native speakers reading this right now, I would love your input on this!  In my mind, you would want to ask, “Where could they be?” which, if I were to translate to Spanish, I would say “¿Dónde podrían estar?”

**EDIT** 06/20/2016 – After almost three years from having written this post, I learned (in a Periscope broadcast by Nuria Frexias {Spanish Comes Easy} that the future tense is used as speculation.  Learn something new everyday!  Even from kids’ books!

Lara finds her manchas but can you guess where?

After a week or so of reading the story, I decided to make a Lara ladybug.  On Tuesdays we go to my parents house for school.  I teach Spanish to my siblings (they are homeschooled) while my mom does activities with my kiddos.  Last Tuesday I had mi hermano help me make a mariquita just like Lara.  He is very artistic.

Next I made some purple spots and hid them all over the first floor of the house.  I called Jefe downstairs (Little Guy was still napping) and pointed out Lara to him.  We pretended that Lara was talking and she explained (in Spanish) that she had lost her spots.  Since we had read the story many times, Jefe was familiar with it and knew just what to do!
DOHN-day eh-STAHN mees MAHN-chas
Where are my spots?

I put a few in really obvious spots to get Jefe excited about the game and to make him feel successful–that way he would want to keep looking for spots!  As he walked around looking for spots, I narrated in Spanish what he was doing.  Right now my boys do not have a lot of Spanish language that they use on their own–just a few words here and there like por favor and agua.  So I try to speak it to them whenever I can so they can hear it and get comfortable with it.

As we found the spots we would count them.  When Jefe put the spots back on Lara I would pretend to have her say things in Spanish like, “Oh thank you!  You found one of my spots!  Now I have three, but I need more.  Can you find more?”  Depending on your level of Spanish and that of your children, you could adapt this activity and just focus on using the word  manchas and counting the manchas as you find them.  For example: Lara lost her manchas!  Can you help her find them?  Oh look you found uno!  Do you thing you can find dos (while holding up two fingers)?  And so on.  
If you want to use Spanish phrases, some simple ones you could use are: “¿Dónde están las manchas de Lara?” (DOHN-day eh-STAHN lahs MAHN-chas day LAH-rah) which means “Where are Lara’s spots?”  To which you can answer (when you find one), “¡Aquí está una!” (ah-KEE eh-STAH OOH-nah), or “Here is one!”

The ladybug Lara lost her spots.  Can you find them?
Feliz spot hunting!
Kali Carollo

Kali Carollo