The Hagamos Caminos series components
Components for each title:
Student Book, Student Workbook, Teacher’s Guides, Cassettes
A Creative Reading Methodology
The battles between proponents of phonic-based methods and whole-language methods of reading instruction have been harmful to both children and teachers, as they have obscured the values that each approach has to offer.
Hagamos caminos has been developed combining the benefits of both phonics and whole-language approaches. It offers a fun and effective process for the acquisition of reading skills in Spanish. It includes engaging texts by Alma Flor Ada as well as artistic illustrations by Ulises Wensell, an internationally acclaimed artist.
This approach ensures success by using syllables as the basis for decoding, and by systematically building upon previously-learned syllabic combinations. At the same time, these books engage children’s imagination and strengthen their natural motivation for reading by offering meaningful literary texts as reading materials.
The illustrated workbooks promote language and concept development along with offering practice in reading and writing. The workbooks are also illustrated by Ulises Wensell offering an opportunity to enrich children’s aesthetic experiences as well as learning to read images as well as text.
Teachers who have used these materials report that even the most reluctant readers discover the joy of making meaning from a written text. The brief and friendly teacher’s guides explain the use of the program as well as how to use the Creative Dialogue approach to actively engage students in the discovery of their own role as protagonists of their lives.
Origins of Hagamos Caminos
Reading was such a passion for me as a child that when I became a teacher it was difficult to accept that many of my students had never discovered the joy of reading. An facilitating that all children discover the gift of interacting with books, not only to discover what they had to say, but to find in them inspiration and models for their own life adventure became a very strong concern.
The success of the teaching materials for high school students which I published in Lima, Perú, during the 60s led Boris Romero, owner of Editorial Arica first, Editorial Brasa later, to be willing to try publishing my first book for children, Sonrisas, a collection of retellings of popular stories, poetry and some very brief texts that would suffice to meet the somewhat daunting requirements of the reading curriculum.
While other reading texts used in Peru at the time devoted long pages to topics like school, studying, home, etc. in Sonrisas and the books that followed in what became the Edad de oro reading series these topics were treated in brief engaging ways. The bulk of the books were stories and poetries.
What a joy it was for me while riding the bus to return home from teaching to see all over the city of Lima children sitting at their front doors reading and rereading their reading text. I knew that for many it would be the only book they had, but that they wanted to keep on reading it was a proof of the importance of offering children texts that would engage their imagination.
The success of those first reading anthologies, Cascabel, Sonrisas, Alegrías, Maravillas, Triunfos left me with the desire of being able to create others.
The art of Ulises Wensell
When already living in the United States I saw the books El retorno de la primavera and El emperador y las pájaros published by Editorial Altea in Spain and illustrated by Ulises Wensell I was so fascinated by Ulises’ art that above all I wanted to write books he would illustrate.
What a gift for children if I could create engaging reading texts that would be complemented by the magic of Ulises’ work.
When Editorial Hijos de Santiago Rodríguez, a publisher with a long tradition of publishing text books in Spain, offered me the opportunity to write a reading series for Spanish-speaking children in the United States my only requirement was that they would offer Ulises a contract as the illustrator.
The production of these books was a long saga… at the end the project was bought by Fondo Educativo Interamericano, in México, through the good offices of Juan José Fernández Gaos.
The idea of producing reading series for different Latin American countries did not quite come through.
A one volume initial book, similar to the traditional “cartillas” but with the creative texts and Ulises art was published in México as Tecolote, in Colombia as Rin Rín and in Panamá, for all of Central America, as Colorín.
Suni Paz Music
One wonderful complement was that when I suggested Suni Paz could sing the various songs from the popular tradition included in the program, songs like De colores, Tengo una muñeca, Caballito blanco, Salta la tablita, etc. Suni in turn proposed that she wanted to also create original music for my poems and many of my stories in verse form and even for some that were not in verse but she found had an internal rhythm that make them apt to be sang.
Suni recorded over one hundred songs for this project, which were first published in a set of 3 cassettes that included my reading of the text in the books and of additional folktales.
Later, as the program went out of print, the songs Suni had recorded for Hagamos caminos were reproduced in the Música amiga program which contains some new songs with lyrics by Isabel Campoy.
A new life for Hagamos caminos
These books and workbooks are now available through DelSol Books.
Children Learn Spanish through Literacy
“As a bilingual language educator and mom, I am always on the search for quality teaching materials that will engage children’s imaginations and curiosity, while promoting language development. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to use Hagamos Caminos series by Alma Flor Ada. I have been a fan of Ada for many years, and her book Pio Peep, was my children’s all time favorite! It was read to them each and every night when they were babies and toddlers. You can ask them today and they can easily recite all of the poems and rhymes in the book! Now that my kids are school age, this reading series is excellent for them as they are developing and enhanching their bilingual literacy skills…” Read more »