According to 2013 Census data, nearly 13% of the US population is now foreign born and about 1 in 5 residents age 5 and older speak a language other than English at home. These figures are expected to increase, and are considerably higher in many areas of the country. Many new immigrants are struggling to learn English while maintaining their connection with their heritage language and country.
Innovative Ways for Libraries to Attract Ethnic Populations
As the United States has become increasingly diverse, more and more librarians are implementing creative strategies to attract and meet the needs of their ethnic patrons. Many libraries have transformed themselves into centers of information and learning for the diverse community. Following is a list of innovative ways librarians are welcoming and attracting their ethnic populations:
- Presenting story times in various languages.
- Offering newspapers in multiple languages.
- Developing a collection of bilingual children’s books for language learners and families trying to teach a heritage language to their children. Patron feedback has been especially positive when librarians set aside a “bilingual book display area” instead of simply including the books in their stacks.
- Sponsoring/hosting English as a Second Language (ESL) classes or creating “literacy centers” to help adults learn English.
- Offering special programs, such as citizenship classes or cultural programs that highlight important ethnic holidays (e.g., Chinese New Year, El Día de los Niños).
- Displaying colorful multilingual posters, and putting up signs in multiple languages.
- Carrying books that promote an acceptance of diversity, have multicultural themes and include illustrations of ethnically diverse characters.
- Accepting alternative forms of identification (such as a Matricula Consular from Mexico) and address verifications (such as utility bills and rent receipts) in order to increase access to the library. REFORMA, a national network of library organizations dedicated to promoting library services to the Spanish-speaking communities, suggests that this will help ensure that libraries serve the community regardless of a patron’s legal status.
- Hiring staff that speaks the language(s) of the immigrant communities (another recommendation by REFORMA).
Starting Your Multicultural Library
For librarians just beginning to develop their programs and collections for ethnic patrons and language learners, here are a few recommendations to get started:
- Look up census data to determine which languages your library should support. The Modern Language Association offers a Language Map where users can find the number of speakers of each foreign language by zip code, city, county or state. The information also is available directly from The US Census Bureau.
- Conduct an informal (or formal) survey of patrons to find out which newspapers they would read and which language books are most in demand.
- Start with a small collection of children’s books and display them in a bilingual or foreign language book area. This will stimulate interest, and drive more patrons to share their own needs. It also will provide an opportunity to assess which books are checked out most.
- Post multilingual posters and/or signs to welcome all patrons.
- Ask around to see if there is a volunteer parent, board member or teacher who would be willing to conduct a bilingual or non-English story time.
Ethnic patrons truly appreciate when libraries increase their language holdings and offer services and programs to meet the needs of non-native-English speakers. Small, gradual steps to move forward in this area are met with great response, and establish libraries as true centers of learning for the entire community.
Tell us about an outstanding multicultural library in your neighborhood by commenting below!
This article originally appeared in Language Lizard’s Culture Connection Newsletter. To receive this newsletter, please sign up here.
Photo “New Public Library In Dun Laoghaire, Officially Called DLR Lexicon Opened To The Public Today And It Is Worth Visiting Ref-100534” by William Murphy via Flickr, licensed under CC By 2.0.
We are very pleased to announce the launch of our newly designed website! Just in time for our 10th anniversary, the new site is designed with a fresh new look, user-friendly navigation, and a variety of features to help educators, parents and librarians support their language learners.
Finding the Right Bilingual Products Has Never Been Easier!
Language Lizard still offers the high quality, beautifully illustrated, professionally translated books and posters you know and love. Our new website design features faster, easier navigation, whether you’re searching for a particular product, or want to make use of our many free resources. You can search by language, reading level, product type, or title. While you’re there, be sure to check out our new video, featured on the homepage, to learn about all the ways we can support you!
New Website Giveaway
To celebrate our 10th anniversary and our newly designed website, we are holding a special giveaway! Just send us your thoughts, opinions and suggestions for our new site via the Contact Us form, and you will be entered to win a Language Lizard gift certificate. The lucky grand prize winner will receive a $50 gift certificate, and 3 runners-up will each win a $25 gift certificate! All entries must be received by May 15, 2015. No purchase necessary.
Many educators successfully use multicultural resources to teach their students about other cultures and to make their classrooms more welcoming for a diverse student body. However, some teachers may feel overwhelmed at the prospect of adding “multicultural education” to their expanding list of things to do. They often are already dealing with new testing requirements, changing core standards, and other demands. They struggle with ways to make their classrooms more multicultural while meeting all of their other teaching objectives.
Incorporating multicultural education into the curriculum should not be considered an “additional” task; rather, with the right tools and resources, educators can integrate a multicultural element into existing lesson plans.
Benefits of Multicultural Resources in the Classroom
Using multicultural and multilingual resources in the classroom can enhance and support core standards, and can have the following benefits:
- It makes the classroom more welcoming for students from different countries because they see their own culture and language reflected in the lessons.
- It builds self-esteem and instills in multi-ethnic students a sense of pride about their heritage.
- It provides all students a chance to learn about other cultures and languages, which can help them succeed globally and in our diverse communities.
- It offers an opportunity to involve parents from diverse cultures in the classroom.
- If students are allowed to bring multilingual materials home, it promotes literacy at home and enhances parental involvement, both of which improve school success.
Below are just a few suggestions on how to incorporate a multicultural element into already-established lessons that may give you some new ideas or thoughts on the topic.
Cultural Holidays and Festivals
Teaching about holidays and festivals is an excellent way to introduce diverse cultures to your students. While studying different holidays, children can cover important concepts such as “comparing and contrasting,” and the learning can bridge over to art, math, and other subjects.
For example, when studying Thanksgiving, consider reading Samira’s Eid and comparing and contrasting our celebration of thanks with the Islamic celebrations of Eid and Ramadan. During the winter holidays, a book such as Marek and Alice’s Christmas shows how Christmas is celebrated in Poland. In learning about how other cultures celebrate familiar holidays, children begin to understand traditions from other parts of the world. Children can draw Venn diagrams to share what they have learned.
Other important holidays can be discussed as they occur throughout the year. You can use Deepak’s Diwali to teach about the major Hindu holiday Diwali (the Indian Festival of Lights). When teaching about Diwali, speak to the art teacher about having the children design their own Rangoli patterns. Students also could review the Rangoli patterns in math class when they are learning about symmetry.
Students can learn about Chinese New Year in the book Li’s Chinese New Year. In art class during this time, they can make masks with a sign of the zodiac (instructions about how to make the mask are included in the book). Older children can work in teams to do additional research on international holidays and festivals and then come together to present their work.
Dental Health and Hygiene
Many schools periodically have a dentist come to discuss dental hygiene. Including a reading of The Wibbly Wobbly Tooth is a great way to add a multicultural element to such a lesson. This story depicts a child of Asian heritage trying to figure out what to do with a tooth that just came out. In it, he talks to friends from all different cultures to find out what they do when a tooth falls out. This opens up an opportunity for you to ask your students from other countries to share their family’s traditions.
The dental health lesson could also include a bilingual version of Sahir Goes to the Dentist, ideally choosing a language edition spoken by kids in the class. Not only will students read about a child’s visit to the dentist, they will see a language/text that is represented in their class or community.
Community, Cooperation and Teamwork
In the bilingual book The Giant Turnip, school children work together to plant a garden and then have to figure out how to remove a giant turnip that grows there. In the end, they are successful only after they have brainstormed ideas and have all worked cooperatively.
This is, of course, a great book to use when doing units about planting and growing a garden. But it is also an excellent tool for discussing themes of community, cooperation and teamwork. For example, it can be used as an introduction to the concept of “community.” What is a community? Why is it important? Similarities and differences within a community, and how differences in a community can help it operate better.
Students can discuss the diverse makeup of their own communities and even how their classroom community can be more united. Older students can research different communities around the world, comparing and contrasting similarities and differences. The book can also be used to reinforce concepts of cooperation and teamwork: how people need to work together to achieve a common goal.
Folk Tales and Fables
When teaching a unit on folk tales, include bilingual folk tales from around the world in the lesson. You can introduce the concepts of “good versus evil,” the importance of cooperation, and the rewards of courage and ingenuity, while simultaneously introducing other cultures and languages. Some great stories to consider are: Yeh-Hsien (A Chinese Cinderella); the Bengali folk tale Buri and the Marrow; the beautiful Chinese story The Dragon’s Tears; and the Tibetan Fable “The Hare’s Revenge” (part of Lion Fables).
For younger children who are learning to count, consider reading a book such as Handa’s Hen, in which young Handa is looking for her chicken and encounters many other animals and insects along the way. Set in Africa, children will see settings and animals that may be new to them (e.g., five beautiful sunbirds, eight spoonbills). By pointing out different languages in the bilingual books, children also can see the different language scripts, thus expanding their view of the world. In addition, using multilingual number cards when learning numbers will allow children from non-English speaking homes to see their languages represented in class.
The Five Senses
Welcome to the World Baby is a wonderful multicultural book to share with children who are learning about the five senses. It is especially exciting to use in class when a student has a new baby sibling. In the story, Tariq has a new baby brother and the children in his multicultural classroom share how they welcome new babies in their families. Each example relates to one of the five senses (e.g., they can touch An-Mei’s red painted egg, which stands for birth, life and growth, and is the color of good luck; they can taste Elima’s bitter aloe leaf and sweet honey, which represents that life can be bitter and sweet). Again, this offers a chance for children from multicultural households to share their own traditions.
These are just a few of many examples of how multicultural and multilingual stories can be used to bring a global perspective to existing lessons and make multi-ethnic children feel better represented in the classroom. For more details and additional lessons that incorporate multicultural stories, please see the free multicultural lesson plans on our website. Share your own multicultural teaching ideas by commenting below!
This article originally appeared in Language Lizard’s Culture Connection Newsletter. To receive this newsletter, please sign up here.
Photo “SAD_Hortons_Kids 114” by US Department of Education via Flickr, licensed under CC By 2.0.
This year, World Folk Tales and Fables Week is from March 16 through March 22. It’s a week dedicated to encouraging children and adults to explore the lessons and cultural background of folk tales, fables, myths and legends from around the world.
Reading folk tales is a great way for children to explore different cultures and enhance literacy skills. Learn more about why kids love folk tales and fables in a previous blog post that discusses why folk tales are such a great teaching tool for kids.
A folk tale is any story that has been passed down through generations by a group of people. A fable, one type of folk tale, is a short story that teaches a lesson, often features talking animals, and is directed particularly at children. The most well known creator of fables is Aesop, a Greek slave believed to have lived around 560 BC. Some of his most popular fables are “The Tortoise and the Hare,” “The Goose that Laid the Golden Egg,” and “The Lion and the Mouse.” There are also more modern-day fables, like Dr. Seuss‘s The Lorax.
Resources for Teachers & Parents
If you’d like to introduce your class or family to folk tales, but aren’t sure where to begin, Language Lizard offers a series of blog posts dedicated to international folk tale characters. There, you can get an overview of characters from around the world, like the Monkey King from China, and Finn McCool of Ireland.
One of our favorite stories, the Bengali folk tale Buri and the Marrow, is used in the lesson plan entitled “Language, Customs, Culture in India,” which can be downloaded at no cost from our website. Don’t hesitate to use any of our lesson plans to help you explore different cultures and folk tales with your students.
Or try another great folk tale, Yeh-Hsien: A Chinese Cinderella. This Chinese version of Cinderella is similar to, yet delightfully different from, the more recognized European or Disney interpretations of the story. Children will be inspired by Yeh-Hsien, a strong character who takes her destiny into her own hands.
We also offer the Myths and Legends collection (Pandora’s Box, Isis and Osiris, Beowulf, The Children of Lir), which can be a good starting point for older children to explore various cultures and classic stories.
We hope you have an exciting World Folk Tales and Fables Week, exploring new characters, adventures and cultures from far away lands!
Get 10% off two entertaining world folk tales – Buri and the Marrow and Yeh-Hsien: A Chinese Cinderella – by entering Coupon Code FOLKTALE2015 at checkout! This discount is valid now through March 31, 2015.
Comment below and share with us your favorite folk tales and fables!
Plan early – the month of February brings two great events to enjoy with the kids: Chinese New Year and Dental Health Month. Read on for discounts and free resources that will add a bilingual twist to your celebrations! (Read about other New Year celebrations around the world here.)
Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year is on February 19, 2015. Also known as Spring Festival, Chinese New Year is the country’s most important social and economic holiday. Traditionally, it is a time to renew and honor family bonds through elaborate rituals and feasts.
Celebrate this special holiday, at home and in the classroom, with the bilingual children’s book entitled Li’s Chinese New Year. Available in English and your choice of 10 different languages, the story follows Li, who is trying to decide what animal costume to wear to the school’s big New Year assembly. Will he be a fierce tiger or a strong ox? And what year will his new cousin be born in? Readers can find all twelve of the zodiac animals throughout the story, and discover facts and activities relating to the holiday at the back of the book.
Now through February 28, 2015 get 10% off Li’s Chinese New Year by entering discount code CNY2015 at checkout!
If you’re planning to teach your students about Chinese New Year, be sure to check out our FREE standards-based lesson plan that includes this holiday’s history, traditions and the many languages spoken in China. This great resource was created by our friends at West Chester University of PA.
Dental Health Month
In February, the American Dental Association (ADA) sponsors Dental Health Month. This year’s slogan is “Defeat Monster Mouth!” The goal of Dental Health Month is to promote oral health by establishing good habits early and getting regular dental check ups. The ADA offers free resources for parents and teachers, including a Planning Guide and activity sheets.
To help kids prepare for a trip to the dentist, Language Lizard offers the bilingual children’s book Sahir Goes to the Dentist. It tells the story of Sahir, who has lost a tooth, and Yasmin, who has a cavity. Both children visit the dentist and learn valuable lessons about how to properly care for their teeth. The book is available in English and your choice of 23 different languages.
Now through February 28, 2015 get 10% off Sahir Goes to the Dentist by entering discount code DENTIST at checkout!
Also, check out our post for 5 ways to turn kids’ post-winter break excitement into fun language opportunities!
Leave a comment below and tell us how you will be celebrating Chinese New Year and Dental Health Month with your students and family!
Dragon photo by Kenny Louie via Flickr, some rights reserved.
Toothbrush photo by ND Strupler via Flickr, some rights reserved.
Most of us are preparing to give thanks for our blessings on Thanksgiving. We at Language Lizard are grateful for all the work you do to promote language learning and multicultural education in the classroom and at home.
This year, we are thinking beyond Thanksgiving and the Black Friday/Cyber Monday shopping deals that follow. We are proud to be joining the many organizations around the world celebrating #GivingTuesday. We’d like to help you get involved too!
What is #GivingTuesday?
#GivingTuesday was founded by New York’s 92nd Street Y, in partnership with the United Nations Foundation, as a global movement involving over 10,000 organizations. As their website states, “We have a day for giving thanks. We have two for getting deals. Now, we have #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back. On Tuesday, December 2, 2014, charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.”
Join Us on this Special Day and Get 10% Off Gift Certificates
Are you interested in giving bilingual books to a school, library or organization that supports dual-language children? Or would you like to give a unique gift to a special teacher or child learning another language?
From Tuesday Nov 25th to Tuesday December 2nd 2014, receive a 10% DISCOUNT on all LANGUAGE LIZARD GIFT CERTIFICATES. Use Coupon Code LLGiving2014 upon checkout.
Gift certificates can be purchased in any dollar amount, and can be sent to you or to the recipient via email or regular mail. (Choose the email option and receive it within one business day!)
Simply go to our gift certificates page, add one or more to your cart and follow the easy instructions!
We wish you and yours a very happy Thanksgiving!
photo credit: Mary Ann @ flickr.com
“Come here, little huggy bear!”
“Are you ready for bed, my little coconut candy?”
“Let’s put your coat on, my flea!”
If you’ve ever used any of these terms of endearment with a child, English probably isn’t your first language! And if English is your first language, you probably can’t imagine calling your baby a “tiny elephant”, like they do in Thailand, or “breadcrumb”, which is popular in Finland. Whether you are used to calling your loved ones “pumpkin”, “honey”, “babydoll” or “sweetie”, you will certainly understand what the unfamiliar phrases mean: love for a child.
No two cultures do things in exactly the same way, and there’s no right way or wrong way. That’s why the recently-published findings about the lack of “book-sharing” within immigrant families is a bit misleading. The study, completed by the Stanford University School of Medicine, shows that “parents in Hispanic or Asian immigrant families in California were less likely to read…with their young children than non-Hispanic white parents.” It goes on to point out that there may be many reasons for this difference, such as cultural practices and parents working more than one job who therefore have less time overall to spend with their children.
Of course, “’early reading enlarges vocabulary and becomes a tool for many other kinds of learning later on in school’”, as Dr Mendoza mentions in a Reuters article about the study’s results. And it stands to reason that children whose parents and carers never read with them could be at a disadvantage – but does this study show the whole picture?
There are many ways of sharing the content of books. Just because a parent doesn’t sit down in the family’s extensive library with his child and read every word of a book they’ve chosen together, complete with silly voices and long digressions about what’s going on in the illustrations, doesn’t mean that the family isn’t “book-sharing” in their own way.
Different cultures have different ways of teaching and nurturing their children. For instance, some parents prefer to tell stories, rather than read them. What better way to respond to your child’s environment and enrich his or her vocabulary with practical, useful words than to spontaneously break into a tale that fits what he or she is interested in at that moment? No searching for the perfect book, no worries about finding a perfect spot to plonk down and read: just you, your child, and the magic of a story. Of course, having a varied library of books you’ve shared in the past might help fuel your imagination as you spin your yarn or relate a story passed down through generations, but telling a story without the physical pages of a book will still support your child’s language and literacy development. Singing songs and sharing rhymes will help accomplish the same goal.
Most educators would agree that it is beneficial for educators to make a classroom library available with bilingual children’s books in Arabic, Chinese, Japanese and other languages represented in the classroom, allowing children to take the books home to read with their parents. That said, supporting parents to build on their own interests and to make use of their own skill set is a way of getting them more involved in home literacy activities, rather than trying to get all parents to do things the same way.
Wordless picture books that children can borrow from the class library are a good way to start, and there are lots of interesting ways to use them (www.colorincolorado.org has some great ones!). Think about taking a few of these ideas and putting them onto a (bilingual) sheet which could be stuck into the inside covers of all of your classroom’s wordless picture books. There’s no reason to force the view that all families should read together in the way that we are accustomed; rather, wordless storybooks might give some families another option for book-sharing in their own way with their loved ones.
For families in which parents simply work too much to be able to sit and read with their children, making recording equipment available to them at the beginning or end of the school day could really help get them involved. Creating a cd or mp3 of a parent reading their child’s favorite book (in any language!) would only take five minutes and could be quickly accomplished at pick-up time. At home, the child could listen to the recording while looking through the book as the parent rushes out the door to work or cooks dinner – and it would still promote his or her literacy and language skills, besides strengthening a parent-child bond even when the parent can’t actually be present!
Some parents may merely need to be introduced to the special bond reading with their child creates, and they’ll want to bring the practice into the home. If it’s something they never experienced with their parents, they may not be aware of how wonderful it can be! Preschool teachers can make parents reading with their children a fun and comfortable prospect by creating a special Parent-Child Reading Corner somewhere in your classroom. Fill it with your students’ favorite choices, fun posters, comfy cushions, and maybe even some snacks and drinks. Then encourage parents on the school run to take five minutes to relax with their child and share the books that have caught their interest that day. It’ll be infectious and will soon turn up in the homes of many more of your students.
Despite what some surveys suggest, we all know that every culture is effective at supporting, nurturing and showing love for children. While it’s wonderful to promote at-home reading, it’s important to consider cultural aspects and promote alternative approaches to building literacy skills as well. After all, what would America be if our founding fathers had just decided to keep doing things the English way?
We’d love to hear about your experiences on this topic – feel free to comment below!
Thanksgiving is one of the only times during the year when we can all come together and celebrate the beauty in our lives that we experience for free. We can enjoy our friends, neighbors, and families while avoiding the stress of some other holidays. Best of all, everyone of all faiths and backgrounds can participate in this truly American holiday.
So how can you use Thanksgiving as an opportunity to promote bilingualism?
Thanksgiving is such a special time, perfect for getting back in touch with family members you haven’t seen in ages. A great way to reconnect and promote bilingualism is to have children interview family members and friends at the table about what Thanksgiving words they might know in other languages. You and your children will get to know where people have traveled to learn other words, and you’ll reaffirm connections between family members for whom English is a second language. In some families there may be those who know more English and want to keep the family’s traditional language as well — and this activity is perfect for them too.
This game could be used to add bilingualism to a book the family makes together of pictures of the holiday traditions and foods in their home.
Time to Digest
After supper and before the apple pie comes out, the kids might be looking for something to do. Encourage them to put on a performance of a bilingual book they’ve read! They’ll love entertaining their relatives as they digest, and no-one can resist little ones who are eager to share something they’ve enjoyed. They can put on the performance in both languages to further cement their understanding.
Cultures all over the world make food the centerpiece of their most important celebrations. Make your centerpiece something that involves the traditions of the cultures your child is learning about. You can go further than a simple fall theme, too, and include celebratory food in general. Families in which children are learning Bengali might want to try a cholar dal, usually served for the festival of Durga Pujor. Are your little ones learning Mandarin? Tangerines and oranges are often handed out for Chinese New Year. Although these holidays aren’t to do with Thanksgiving, the foods traditionally associated with them all have a special quality that will add sparkle – and a global perspective! – to your table. Add them to a special Bilingual Cornucopia in the middle of your dinner table and give all of your family and friends something bilingual to talk about.
Want more ideas about bilingual kids, different cultures and Thanksgiving? Check out these great blogs from our archives:
photo credit: KOMUnews @flickr.com
“[Here] is what reading is all about: yes, it will make kids smarter and give them a better start in life than non-readers, but for me that’s not the point. The point is that reading is fun…”
This is a quote from a recent article in British newspaper The Guardian by Charlie Higson, author of a variety of YA fiction including the Young James Bond series. Sure, as a writer he might have a vested interest in promoting reading, but there is no denying the inherent truth of what he is saying. To get kids to read, and keep reading, particularly over the long summer months, it must be a pleasurable experience. This is definitely the point that we need to get across to children now that the sound of the school bell has faded and it seems like forever before the leaves start to turn and they’re back at their desks. Summer is for having fun, and that includes reading!
Bilingual Books and the Summer Learning Slide
Many families, teachers, and librarians worry about the summer learning slide, and with good reason. A study done by Reading Rockets found that for “116 first, second, and third graders in a school in a middle class neighborhood …the decoding skills of nearly 45% of the participants and the fluency skills of 25% declined between May and September.” Attention clearly needs to paid to reading over summer vacation if we are to combat this trend.
For families who want to renew their children’s enthusiasm for reading, bilingual books can add a new dimension. For families who speak a language other than English at home, bilingual books can be a comforting way to read in their home language while simultaneously building their English skills over the summer.
Here are some tips to help your children and students use bilingual books for having fun and improving their reading skills before September:
- Start with an old favorite. A great access point for bilingual reading is a book your child already knows and loves. If he or she is a fan of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, reading it in English and then in French will make the new language seem less intimidating. Kids will enjoy matching up the French vocabulary with the pictures and English words they already know!
There are also a variety of folktales and stories from around the world available in bilingual editions (English and another language text on the same page), so children who speak a different home language can also find stories that are familiar to them. A group of parents who want to encourage their children to become bilingual readers could find a set of books to swap throughout the summer, so no-one gets bored!
- Become the star of your book. Bring your bilingual story to life by getting kids to act it out using words from the less familiar language. Not only is this fun, but the kinaesthetic element will help embed their new vocabulary. The creativity and freedom involved in this activity will go a long way towards helping children understand that reading is enjoyable and reading a new language is even more fun when you practice it together!
- Make a scene! Why not try using cardboard and found objects to recreate a scene that you see in the bilingual book you’re reading? The kids can go on a hunt to gather what they need and then label the scene in both languages used in the book.
- Talk it out. Start your own mini-book group, even with your pre-schoolers! This would be especially useful for parents who are trying to encourage their children to speak English alongside a different home language.
At school, children are used to discussing books. The question-and-answer structure will be familiar to them and therefore allow them to feel more comfortable and take more risks speaking their new language. Simple discussions about feelings and plot are great tools to help embed new vocabulary: “How does the explorer feel about the animals at the end of the book? What has changed?” “What were your favorite plants that you saw in the drawings?” See if you can get your children to answer in both languages. They’ll feel more involved in what they’ve read and excited to continue their literary journey!
- Let a librarian help. Kristina Robertson from colorincolorado.org, a website dedicated to helping the families and educators of English/Dual Language Learners, writes, “Libraries offer all kinds of resources and opportunities to ELLs and their families, but many families may not know about the kinds of services and programs that libraries offer.” Well, summer is the time to check it out! Head to your local library and see what bilingual resources they have available. Many libraries also hold summer reading challenges (see the next tip) which can easily be adapted to support bilingual reading. Colorin Colorado provides a useful list of links to different programs in major cities – if yours isn’t on here, a quick search on the internet may also provide results.
Are you a librarian? For you, summer is a great time to reach out to the community and welcome ELLs into your stacks. As Robertson writes, many families are unaware of the great summer reading programs and bilingual resources you offer – so get some flyers translated and start sticking them up around town!
…And here’s a list of other great ways librarians are improving literacy for ELLs all over the country: http://www.languagelizard.com/newsarticle8.htm
- Challenge yourself! Embrace your child’s competitive spirit and let them enter the Scholastic Summer Challenge. Kids log minutes and see “how far round the world” they can read – as a parent, you could log double for bilingual books as they’ve technically read them twice!
- Banish “Are we there yet?”s. Ah, the long car ride- a breeding ground for “I’m boooored!”s or, worse, long silences broken only by the tapping of little fingers on a Nintendo DS! But it doesn’t have to be this way: find a bilingual children’s book on cd, or record your own as a podcast, and bring it with you on your way to Grandma’s to keep the kids entertained and prevent the dreaded summer learning slump.
Summer is such a perfect opportunity to show kids how much fun bilingual reading can be. How are you planning to use bilingual books to prepare your kids for the exciting year ahead at school?
For more ideas about summer literacy, check out the following Language Lizard blogs: