Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Book in Any Language ...

I work on a daily rotating schedule at 8 elementary schools.  Yes, I said 8.  That's a lot of collections and student names to remember.  In the last few years I have come across something else to remember.  Many of the new students are recent immigrants.  They come from all over the world and for many, English is a second language.  Most of these children are first-generation English speakers.  So how can we adjust our home reading programs to accommodate parents and grand-parents who can not read the books we send home with the kids?

We have a fledgling Dual Language collection, but with so many languages and a dwindling yearly budget, it is simply not possible to purchase a decent collection for all my students.  My various libraries can trade books, but with over 20 different languages that need to be represented in this year's class, we simply don't have the resources.

Digital Age Rescue

The International Children's Digital Library offers a solution.  This searchable database contains picture books in every language I have needed.  Students can be shown the site at school and sent home with a simple instruction guide.  I have had parents and grandparents respond positively.  Many are thrilled that they can now participate in reading with the children and they are happy to support their native language and culture as well.
By supporting literature in both the mother tongue and English, a positive, inclusive attitude is presented to new students and their families.  This goes a long way in  fostering self-confidence in students and participation by the family in their children's education.

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