There is a public community library 10 minutes from my house with a huge Spanish section. I have found many books there to use in class, but one problem that I encounter when looking for books for my lower level Spanish classes is that there are not many that limit the vocabulary.
Over a year ago I was looking for a book that used the verb GUSTAR so my students could see GUSTAR used in context, with illustrations. I looked through their huge collection, but came up empty. I went to the Storybird site and created my own story that used gustar.
For the first time in many years, I am teaching a Spanish 2 class this semester. I started my Spanish 2 students with the present tense because I thought I needed to get them all to the same "place" with their abilities. After a week or two, I gave up on that idea and decided to jump in and start telling stories using past tenses. I did as the experts say - I chose 3 structures (quería, fue, no lo encontró) and started asking a story. We've had 2 more stories with the past tense since then so the students are getting used to hearing the new endings on the verbs. This week, I'd like to read a story to them that has illustrations and uses a lot of imperfect tense, but has limited vocabulary. Instead of making the trip to the library, I turned to Storybird again and wrote "El mejor regalo para Pablo".
(The storybird site does not allow teachers to make stories public if they are not in English. Therefore, links to stories that are public in another languages are sometimes deleted. Try THIS LINK to view "El mejor regalo para Pablo". If that still does not work, send me an e-mail or leave a comment with your e-mail address and I can send it to you.)
UPDATE 9-30-12: I made a PowerPoint quiz based on this Storybird book.
HERE is the 15-pt quiz I gave me students.
If you have a few spare minutes, please do me the favor of reading the story and leaving your suggestions or ideas in ways to improve it. I'm not happy with the title, but I haven't had any inspirations yet on how to change it. And, by all means, if there is a grammar error that I overlooked, I ask that you point that out to me so there are no errors when I read it to my students later this week.
Thanks for your help!