Bilingual Story Time Helps Franklin Students Build Biliteracy
Published on 5/21/18
District News Franklin Elementary School
Students in mixed language classrooms at Franklin have had a special experience this year: bilingual story time.
Thanks to a grant project funded by the SCSD Educational Foundation, kindergarten and second through fifth grade students have had the chance to listen to books being read to them in Nepali, Karen and Spanish.
“Students’ reactions have been really positive,” teacher Emily Voegler said. “The students seem shocked to hear someone reading in their home language, and then they get really excited and ask a lot of questions. It benefits multilingual and monolingual students alike, as the students are all exposed to new languages, cultures and literary styles.”
The grant was intended to increase literacy in students’ home languages by emphasizing the benefits of biliteracy – as well as to increase parent involvement in classrooms at Franklin. Funds were used to purchase books in foreign languages, and parents and nationality workers have volunteered their time to read them to students during mixed-grade story times.
Ms. Voegler said that in the future, she hopes to partner with SCSD high school students who speak languages other than English to allow them to host bilingual story times – perhaps in Arabic and Somali.
In addition to the story times, the grant funds have allowed Franklin to open their bilingual library to families, offering bilingual library resources, helping families integrate guided reading strategies at home and more.
“Research has shown that students who have literacy in their home language are able to transfer their literacy skills to their additional language, English,” Ms. Voegler added. “As teachers introduce literacy skills in English, students can apply what they already know about reading and writing in their home language to these domains in English, helping them link their home language to their additional language.”
Thank you to the SCSD Educational Foundation for bringing this beneficial new activity to Franklin!