Chapel Hill ISD Kissam Intermediate is ready to expand its library and classrooms with a new set of 1700 Spanish books.
The books are funded by Title III funds and were purchased for the school district to serve bi-literate students and a “new breed” of bilingual learners of both languages, said Jadwiga Mews, director of Bilingual/ESL at Chapel Hill. ISD.
“We have to start changing the way we teach our new bilingual students, which means we have to adjust to their mother tongue, whatever it is. Here in Chapel Hill, most people speak Spanish, so it was very important for me to find resources, these books in Spanish, to make them want to read again. In addition, it is simply important to develop your language, because our Hispanic community in the country is growing, ”she said.
According to the 2021 ethnic distribution, Chapel Hill ISD students are 51.5% Hispanic students.
Mewes said the district wants to achieve the goal of a bilingual program that allows students to be bilingual in both languages, allowing them to do community work that will benefit the English and Hispanic communities.
The books will be available for review and distributed to selected classes at the end of January following a family literacy event that will showcase a variety of new books and provide tips for parents to use at home to promote what they are learning in the classroom. .
Chapel Hill students got a chance to take a look at the books on Friday, when an overwhelming amount of emotion filled the Kissam Intermediate library.
Jander Perez, a fourth-grade student, said he likes to read Spanish because he understands the language better.
“I really like to read in Spanish and now if we have more books, I like to read new books and learn more,” he said.
Calet Padron, a fourth-grade student, said he was delighted, especially with the variety of books that will be offered in Spanish, such as sports books and the famous Captain Underpants series.
Jacqueline Flach, a bilingual fourth grade teacher in Kissam, observed her class’ reaction to the books and said the new literacy items are a blessing for her and the students.
“I feel like it has always been a necessity, so there was always something missing. Now that we have books that students can read in their own language, this is almost normal. We have provided them to meet their needs because they are working with their skills in both languages to reach a level of bilateral literacy that will carry over into middle and high school and then hopefully they will improve their language skills in and because the bilingual brain works doubly,” she said. “The availability of these resources for them will help them to preserve their native language, as well as increase their literacy not only in one language, but also in their native language. It’s a blessing for us and for them.”
Flach has Spanish books in her class, and she says they make her students feel comfortable. With the new purchase, she is happy that she can provide this opportunity for students, especially to demonstrate the “colored” words of the Spanish language.
Mewes has handpicked all the books that will debut on campus. The selection includes fiction, bilingual books, sports, history, cross-curricular books and more.
She hopes that students will not only be engrossed in reading, but will also read in Spanish, which will increase the literacy rate in their education.