Last fall I was doing a monster unit in a level 2 class, and I wanted to include Cienfue’s “El Cuco” song, which uses the high frequency word “viene” quite a bit. In researching the Cuco, I discovered that it was actually part of a traditional lullaby:
Duérmete niño, duérmete ya, que viene el Cuco y te llevará.
Duérmete niño, duérmete ya, que viene el Cuco y te comerá.
Inspiration struck, and a story immediately came to mind: a mother sings to her little boy who won’t go to sleep. In the middle of the night, the bad little boy hears a knock on the door. In the morning, the mother comes to find the room empty, her son nowhere to be seen.
This sort of twisted story is perfectly suited for an embedded reading à la Laurie Clarcq. With each version, the boy’s disappearance is a mystery until more and more of the lullaby is revealed and students reach the obvious conclusion: the Cuco came!
I just love embedded readings. They are a great way to trick students into reading the same text several times, thereby getting more repetitions and cementing key vocabulary.