Dual Language Spanish Library Engages Students and Families in Literacy
Lindsey McDaniel, 3rd grade teacher at Peters Colony and MHS Alum, received $1,000 at the start of this school year to install a dual language Spanish library for students.
While waiting on the books to arrive, Lindsey went through the writing process with her students so they could write thank you notes to the grant donors, Mr. and Mrs. Dowling. With many of the books now in the classroom, students have the opportunity to read popular chapter books (previously only available to them in English) in Spanish. Because students are taught in Spanish fifty percent of the time, Lindsey felt they should have access to Spanish books during that time.
“We are excited to start sending the books home with our students to read for homework. Because a large majority of our students come from Spanish speaking homes, their parents were not able to read with them in English. With Spanish books now available to use at home, students can complete their reading homework with parents. This gives students, and families, ownership of their education.”
With the new library, Lindsey expects to see increases in student achievement and fluency, as well as parent participation with at-home reading assignments.
Dual Language Program at Peters Colony
Peters Colony Elementary is one of the few schools in LISD that offers a dual language program to students who come from predominately Spanish-speaking homes. As a part of the dual language program at Peters Colony, students are taught in both English and Spanish. The dual language program is in its second year in third grade for the 2011-2012 school year and was instituted to improve student academic achievement.
This Spanish library is used collaboratively throughout the third grade at Peters Colony Elementary where there are currently three classes of students who share the books on a day- to-day basis. Books available for free reading and homework reading are shared with the entire school year. When the English classrooms are completing novel studies in English, the Spanish classrooms now have the opportunity to complete novel studies in Spanish using class sets of books.
Eventually, the program will be transformed into a two-way dual language program where Spanish-speaking students are learning English and English-speaking students are learning Spanish. When this happens, the need for Spanish books will be even more essential to student success.
The Impact on Education
Studies show that students who master academic skills in their native language are more successful academically in a second language, and when students are given the chance to practice reading, they become more fluent and comprehension improves.
Having access to Spanish literature also reaches outside school walls. Parents who have been unable to read with their student because of limited English vocabulary now can share the joy of reading. When students are able to take a book home and read with their parents, the parents are able to share in their child’s success. When parents are involved in their child’s education, both the child and parent are more committed to educational achievement.