Esperanza renace: An ebook reader’s guide


Copyright 2019 Sara-Elizabeth Cottrell
Purchase includes the rights to reproduce or digitally distribute this digital file for the students of the purchasing teacher. Not transferable after use. Respect copyright law.
The novel Esperanza renace is copyright 2000 by Pam Muñoz Ryan; Spanish translation by Nuria Molinero copyright 2002 by Scholastic Inc. All rights reserved.


Check out the guide for Chapter 3.


In Esperanza renace, intermediate low through heritage learners can travel with Esperanza in a riches-to-rags story of immigration, family, and hope.  After Esperanza’s wealthy father dies, she and her mother must flee her tyrannical uncles and start life anew, as agricultural workers in Depression-era California. Will she rise above the ashes of her princess-style former life? Will sickness, strife, and hard labor extinguish all hope?  Will she ever see her grandmother again?

You can purchase Spanish-language copies of the book Esperanza renace very affordably directly from Scholastic.


You can receive this document with a license to reproduce or distribute it as much as you like, for all of your students, for as long as you’re teaching, for $60.00.

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Musicuentos Ebook Guides in Action

What are these ebook guides like?  Check out Allison’s experience with teaching the memoir Cajas de cartón using my ebook guide in her posts Planning for Cajas de cartón and Literature Conversation Circles.  You can assess the general quality of my ebook guides by getting the first Musicuentos ebook guide, for the novel La ciudad de las bestias, for free (the book in Spanish is currently out of print, though you can find used copies).


  • Illustrated
  • Professionally formatted
  • 77 pages
  • Detailed introduction
  • Spanish/English glossary of all vocabulary words and phrases
  • NEW: Answer key

I was first introduced to the powerful themes in the novel Esperanza renace by a professor in graduate school, in a course on teaching literacy to ESOL learners.  As I set out to teach the novel in my Spanish 3 courses after grad school, I wrote chapter guides for each chapter as I taught it through a year.  However, like the Ciudad and Cajas guides, I wrote them for my students.  When I wrote the review vocabulary, I included words I knew my students had seen in previous years or in our regular vocabulary.  Word auto-corrected my lists in weird ways I didn’t catch.  I forgot what words were included in previous chapters and included them again (and again, and AGAIN).  My non-native Spanish made a few constructions awkward or I simply made mistakes.  And I was often too focused on comprehension alone instead of comprehension paired with critical thinking skills. I knew how I wanted to incorporate culture and technology, so I didn’t bother writing those down.  And I included bonus questions that may or may not have been worth asking as a bonus question.

For this third Musicuentos ebook, I have completely rewritten the guide.  Review vocabulary includes only higher-frequency vocabulary or words mentioned in previous chapters.  No vocabulary is repeated in a new list.  Irrelevant questions have been removed and more critical-thinking questions involving skills like deduction and prediction have been added.  Native speakers have edited the document to minimize awkward or incorrect constructions.  There are no bonus questions – you choose how to assess each question.  There are no English translations of anything until the glossary.  And most importantly, the ebook edition includes profiency- and vocabulary-boosting activities with every chapter:


Each chapter’s section begins with a vocabulary list.  I chose the words based on their frequency of use, application to advanced themes, or importance in the chapter.  Words and phrases that are especially important to the plot or that help students improve their proficiency are emphasized.  Within the Vocabulary section, several activities get students using the words and phrases in memory-boosting ways.  Translations of the words are not included so that you can determine how students interact with the meanings of the words. All words and phrases and their English translations are listed alphabetically in a dictionary at the end.

A repasar

Each chapter includes a list of important higher-frequency words or vocabulary words previously mentioned in a Vocabulario section. Sometimes these words are variations of previously used words.


These questions enhance memory by causing students to relate vocabulary meaningfully to the world around them.


This section lists pairs or groups of words that are related somehow.  Boost memory by asking students to make connections among vocabulary words.  Are they all parts of the body?  Things that you wear?  Words related to injuries?

Diccionario Visual

Students remember more when a picture is attached to a word.  Students are encouraged to look up several vocabulary words using Google Images.  (Note: I have looked up every word I recommend students to view, but still remind students to use discretion and turn on Safe Search.)


Students perform a task specifically related to improving their proficiency and/or accuracy, such as describing a scene or predicting what “would” happen.


Students have the opportunity to practice interpersonal conversation by talking with a classmate or friend about something related to the chapter and its vocabulary.

A ver

This section invites learners to draw and label something that ties a lot of the chapter’s vocabulary together, such as parts of a house, articles of clothing on a person, or the elements of a fire.

Viejo y nuevo

In this section, learners relate some new aspect of vocabulary or grammar to something they already know, such as how the previously learned word grieta might relate to the adjective agrietada.

Imaginación con un modismo

Students practice idiomatic expressions, a key to developing advanced proficiency, in a way that uses their imagination, which increases memory.


This section asks students to focus meaningfully on how particular words are formed or function in sentence.

Herramientas para el cuento

This section offers specific advice/practice for how students can improve their narration skills, important for students at the intermediate level.


This section suggests a journaling activity that will cause students to reflect on events in their own lives in order to help them preview the chapter’s main themes.

A leer

The second part of each “chapter” is a set of questions about the plot of the story, accompanied by proficiency-boosting activities.

Reading questions

These questions usually relate to major plot developments and often ask students to think critically about what they’re reading. For the first time, I’ve included an answer key (as a separate file).

Para ti

This activity asks students to relate something in Esperanza’s story to their own world. Making cultural comparisons is an important skill in improving proficiency.

El mundo de Esperanza

Students are asked to investigate cultural concepts Esperanza mentions in the chapter, like the birthday song “Las mañanitas” or how to make flan de almendra.

Los símbolos del libro

The symbols in Esperanza renace are a powerful tool the author uses to tie the story together.  This segment mentions the symbols that are included in the chapter.  Learners are invited to keep an ongoing record of how these symbols change throughout the story.

Para comprender más

Here I suggest comprehension-boosting activities such as making diagrams or character sketches or investigating aspects important in the chapter, such as the relationship between landowners and peasants in early 20th-century Mexico.


The book ends with an 11-page glossary of every word or phrase included in the vocabulary lists.