Jenny Lin, a first grade teacher at Shorewood Elementary School, wrote in her Excel Grant application: “Research shows that when students have a strong foundation in reading in their first language they will develop reading skills in English at a faster rate. Many families try to support their children in reading, but may not have strong English skills themselves.”
With this grant money, I would like to purchase sets of picture books in Spanish that parents can check out and read at home with their children. I want to support and celebrate their literacy in Spanish as well as promote good reading skills and behaviors for the family. Students will now have the opportunity to hear fluent reading in both English and Spanish.
In her final report, Jenny told us: With the grant money, I purchased over 80 picture books in Spanish to check out to families. Students in my class can choose a book they would like to bring home and read with their family. Once they are finished, they trade it for a new one. I have seen a big improvement in their excitement for reading and also an increase in their reading log minutes.
Families have told me that they really enjoy getting to read to their child in Spanish and are excited that it counts for homework. It has been a great opportunity to connect with families and also show them that we value their skills in Spanish.
I believe that the grant made a big difference to my Spanish-speaking students. They are now able to take some of the stories or stories with the same characters (like Clifford the Big Red Dog) and read those stories at home in Spanish. It has helped them connect more with their parents, hear stories in their first language and make reading at home and school meaningful.
The kids go through the books quickly and are excited to check out a new book almost every day. Also, we were able to use the books during our buddy class time with our 5th grade buddies. The students were telling their buddies about the Spanish take home books and asked if they could also read them with their buddies.
It was a wonderful way to help the 5th graders feel successful in reading and also give my students another opportunity to hear the stories in Spanish.