I love using children's books in Spanish in my classroom. Typically, I use them to do "grammar" scavenger hunts. When I first introduce a grammar topic, before I expect my students to be able to apply their knowledge, I want them to be able to recognize other people (authors) using it. So, I set them loose on the book shelf with the mission of finding examples of what they just learned. My kids love getting a chance to look at the books, many of which they read as children in English. They scan the book looking for the specific things I have asked them to look for and list examples to show what they were able to find.
Scavenger Hunt topics I have used (just to name a few):
definite & indefinite articles
forms of SER and ESTAR (since they show up so frequently)
Ser vs Estar
present tense endings
preterite tense endings
imperfect tense endings
Preterite vs Imperfect (find sentences and justify the usage)
Por vs Para
Once you have the books, the possibilities are really endless. When they get to the point that they can read a bit, children's books are the best place to start. The language is simple, there are pictures for reading support, and they feature characters that students are familiar with (Clifford, Froggy, Captain Underpants, Elmo, etc.). It is also easy to differentiate lessons by grouping your books by difficulty. I code my books A, B, C, D, or E according to the reading level. I can assign "E" books (the highest level) to my native speakers and "A" books to my weak students. This way the activity is interesting and challenging for all of them!
Here is a link to the Scholastic Books website where you can find out if there is a warehouse sale happening near you:
Scholastic Book Fairs Warehouse Sales
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