The Program

Aprendo a leer y escribir is a program that presents effective activities for teaching reading and writing to children who are learning Spanish as a first or second language.

Vowels AEIOU










Review of direct syllables (consonant + vowel)


Inverse syllables, syllables with blending consonants and with diphthongs




Instructional Method

Aprendo a leer y escribir

is based on a phonetic-syllabic method that has been adopted and refined by the author in over thirty years of teaching children Spanish reading and writing in a variety of settings. The phonetic-syllabic approach proposed here can be described as a synthetic-phonic method of reading instruction. Students are taught groups of letter-sound associations or syllables. Syllables are the basic building blocks that students learn to manipulate by creatively combining them with other syllables to create new words.

With its emphasis on the syllable as the basic unit of reading instruction and the letter-sound associations that define this unit, the phonetic-syllabic approach is particularly well suited to teach reading and writing in Spanish. The reasons are twofold:
1. Spanish is an alphabetic language. This means that there is a near-perfect correspondence between the sounds of the language and the letters that represent those sounds. Students of Spanish can easily infer the sounds of words based on their orthographic representation.
2. Spanish is a syllabic language. A syllable is a sound unit that can be easily learned. Syllables are easier for children to pronounce and to recognize than the letters of the alphabet. For this reason, teaching children to read Spanish by teaching letters in isolation is ineffective.

Teaching Principles

The Aprendo a leer y escribir approach is based on a series of teaching principles that have been shown to be highly effective in different educational settings.

● Systematic Instruction: Aprendo a leer y escribir provides a carefully planned sequence of instructional activities that identifies and selects the most efficient means to maximize learning.

● Progression: Aprendo a leer y escribir provides a progression of modeled, guided, and independent teaching strategies.

● Well-sequenced activities: The student activities provided for each newly introduced syllable are sequenced in a manner that supports and optimizes the program’s overall learning objectives.

● Cumulative learning effect: Activities build on each other. Students are encouraged to combine new syllables with previously learned syllables to make new words.

● Syllable coverage: In the course of the program, students learn twenty-two discrete syllables consisting of a consonant and a vowel. The most frequent syllables are introduced first, thereby maximizing the number of words students are able to read in a relatively short period of time.

● Syllable placement: Aprendo a leer y escribir introduces a new syllable always in words where the syllable appears in an initial position. This principle is applied consistently throughout the material. It makes the auditory discrimination, reproduction, and memorization of the syllable much easier than if the syllable was positioned in the middle or at the end of a word.

● Vocabulary coverage: Aprendo a leer y escribir introduces new words with each new syllable. Every new word introduced in the workbooks has an image as visual support to facilitate the children's understanding of each word that they read. Words are repeated throughout the book, which facilitates their memorization, and thus the enrichment of the child's vocabulary.
By the end of the program, students will have learned 1,000 new words.

Implementation of the Phonetic- Syllabic Method in Aprendo a Leer y Escribir

Aprendo a Leer y Escribir, comprises a series of seven workbooks

Following the phonetic-syllabic method the program starts with book 1 to 5 by introducing each of the five vowels. Then, syllables are introduced by combining each consonant with each of the vowels to form a direct syllable (consonant + vowel). Once children command a syllable, they are ready to combine it with another one to make a new word. This pattern repeats throughout the program. By the end of Books 1 to 5 the student will be able to read and write any word with two or more direct syllables. Then in book 6 the children practice all the direct syllables (consonant+ vowel) already learned in the previous books, including three syllable word. Finally, in book 7, children learn inverse syllables (vowel + consonant), blended consonant syllables (consonant + consonant + vowel) and syllables with diphthongs (the combination of two vowels in a syllable). After book 7 the student will know every possible Syllable in Spanish language.

Who is this curriculum for?

Aprendo a leer y escribir targets children from kindergarten through 1st grade, as well as children with learning differences. The program can be used with both first and second-language learners of Spanish in bilingual or dual immersion programs. The program can be taught by any teacher, whether in a general or special education setting.
The workbook activities are easy enough to use with the instructions provided in the Teaching Guide that even non-specialists such as parents or teacher’s assistants can successfully teach reading with this program.

Aprendo a leer y escribir can be implemented in the following educational settings:

1. General Education: Aprendo a leer y escribir provides all students with a foundation for reading and writing. When used with the supplemental activities included in this guide, Aprendo a leer y escribir, promotes phonological awareness, decoding abilities, vocabulary acquisition, as well as handwriting and spelling skills. In a general educational setting, the phonics-based reading program of Aprendo a leer y escribir should be combined with a core literacy program or a literature and language arts program for a comprehensive approach to teaching reading and writing.
2. Reading Intervention: Aprendo a leer y escribir is well suited to be used by reading specialists in small individualized group settings to support children who are struggling with learning to read and write.
3. Special Education: Aprendo a leer y escribir is well suited to help students with a language-based disability to master basic reading and literacy skills.