Wednesday, October 17, 2012

You Say Hola. I Say Hello!

Dual Language Books! 
So many ways to use them.

The community that my library serves speaks 64 different languages!  Amazing, isn't it?  We offer Practice English classes each Saturday morning and our story times are full of fabulous multicultural and multi-lingual families.  

A number of years ago we embarked on a project to bring Dual Language Kits to our library to support our community needs.  Studies show that it is important to read to your children in your most comfortable language.  As readers we need to convey emotion, model confidence, encourage children to participate in the story and to have the book flow in a natural manner. Therefore if Vietnamese is your native language, please read in Vietnamese.  

With many grandparents stepping up to provide child care for their grandchildren we want to be sure that our families have the materials they need to share with their children.  While doing our research we recognized that often families were not able to attend story time at the library.  The care providers were not speaking English confidently and many were not drivers.  They truly needed Dual Language Kits-filled with fun materials in both their native language and English.  

Don't these look fun?

We worked with the West Hartford Early Childhood Partnership and the amazing staff at The Charter Oak Academy Family Resource Center.  We brought together a culturally diverse group of moms, grandmothers and children and we explored materials in all languages.  The families helped to select the materials needed in their language for their preschoolers.  We recognized that most of the  families were learning English and that their children's skills would soon ZOOM ahead - when they started pre-k or kindergarten.  

Our kits include books, puppets, CDs, DVDs a picture dictionary and sometimes flashcards in each kit.  Everything is packed into a very sturdy JanSport backpack.  The library offers dual language kits in English with the following languages: Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Portuguese, Russian and Arabic.  We have a new kit in English/Hebrew almost ready to debut!  

  click here to see Piper and Jane in action on the news!!

And there's more!

We continue to add more dual language books to our collection as time passes. I honestly do not know how many languages we offer at this point - but I know it is not enough yet!   Below you can see Jackie French's Too Many Pears written in Japanese and English.  It's fun to read a dual language book in story time...I read the English and another adult, usually a mom, or grandmother, reads the Japanese.  Everyone benefits! 

And everyone loves to see the written characters of the other languages.Take a look at the words: Pamela smiled written in Japanese - it's beautiful!

We have many families that check out the English/Spanish dual language books to practice their Spanish skills or to teach their children Spanish.  Brown Bear, Brown Bear and the Very Hungry Caterpillar are popular dual language books in English/Spanish.

Do you use dual language books in story time?  at home?  in the classroom?   Do you offer story times in  Spanish?  Inquiring Jane needs to know!!  Honestly, I would love to hear any stories and tips on how you work with a multi-lingual community.  Thanks for stopping in and reading.  

Adios and goodbye ~ jane & piper

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