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Cognates: Helping children recognize new words

By Graciela Castellanos

Cognates help children recognize new words and understand their meaning.

When teaching young learners an additional language (Spanish & English) it is important for teachers to develop ways to help them identify the words they don’t know, as well as strategies for getting their meaning.

A useful tool to help children develop their comprehension skills in these two languages is Cognate awareness.

Cognates are words in two languages that share a similar meaning, spelling, and pronunciation. Research has found young language learners can benefit tremendously from the fact that 30-40% of all words in English  have a related word in Spanish.

The Colorín Colorado website has a helpful list of common cognates in Spanish/English for teachers to point out as they help children develop and build their vocabulary.

Cognate-List Colorin Colorado