Teach English with Spanish-English Cognates: Examples & Practice

According to research, ELLs need help learning to recognize and work with cognates.

Since both Spanish and a majority of English academic vocabulary are Latin-based, Spanish-speaking students of English have a huge head start on CALP (academic) vocabulary if they can learn some simple rules for these cognates.

This EnglishHints packet of task cards, worksheets, and games (including a crossword puzzle and an adaptation of bingo for review) introduces some important English academic words that have clear Spanish cognates. By studying and practicing with them, students will become familiar with common patterns of the differences between the English and Spanish for these words.

The patterns they learn will transfer, giving students the skills they need to recognize and understand many more words.

It’s important that students not only recognize similarities in word meaning, but also the times when apparent similarities mask differences in connotation or meaning.

This packet has a worksheet on false cognates, asking students to verify meanings with a dictionary and helping them understand that they should not rely on apparent similarities for words they want to use or need to understand accurately.

There are two task cards for each of 16 important academic word ‘families.’ The first card gives the most common verb, noun, adjective, and adverb (if used) forms of each word and practice choosing the correct form to complete sample sentences.

The second card gives one more example of use, but then asks students to determine which of four alternate sentences (not using the target word) accurately reflect its meaning.

By practicing with both kinds of cards, students get to work with multiple examples of each word’s use. They should become familiar with the common suffixes like –tion, -able, -ed, -ive, and –ly, the ways they correspond with Spanish suffixes (-ción, -sión, -able—pronounced differently-- -ado, -ido, -ivo, -mente, etc.) and where words with those endings fit into sentences.

There is also a page teaching the English stress and pronunciation of each word form- designed for teachers to go over with the class, so all can hear and repeat the correct forms and notice the changes in stress as verbs convert to nouns or adjectives.

This is a revised edition with more practice.

36 pages total including answer keys.

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  • TeachEnglishWithSpanishEnglishCognates2018.pdf

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Created: Oct 15, 2015

Updated: Feb 26, 2019

Lesson Plan

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