Building a Bilingual Library

BY Carina Da Silva

Orleans Elementary School

Project Description
Orleans Elementary School is becoming more diverse each year. In the past two years we have been lucky to welcome students from Vietnam, Brazil, Slovakia, Colombia, and other countries.

Some English learners can read and write in their first language but most do not. Most parents find it difficult to support their child’s literacy in English and they do not support their child’s literacy in their first language because they lack resources.

I would like to build a multicultural/bilingual library in my room. I want the books in my room to represent my students’ cultures and languages.

I also would like to have books that I can lend to parents so they can support their child’s first language development at home.

We all know that being bilingual has many benefits for society, the individual, and even one’s health. What a lot of people don’t realize is the difficulty of maintaining the first language when children arrive in the country at a young age.

Another reason to have a bilingual/multicultural library is that we want to build a society where we respect each other’s heritage and we are proud of the different languages and cultures that make up our country. Elementary schools around the country have the power to spread this message.

It is of absolute importance to me, as the ESL teacher at Orleans Elementary and ESL coordinator for the Nauset district, to help my students maintain their first language and develop literacy in their first and second languages. I also need to help my students embrace their heritage and be proud of their language.

How will the project be evaluated (e.g. how will you gauge its success)
1. I will keep a list of what books were purchased with the grant money
2. I will keep a log of what books parents borrowed
3. I will meet with parents and students to discuss their use of the books
4. Students’ literacy development is closely monitored and I hope for an increase as parents are able to help more at home

Benefit to the students and the school
1. It will help bilingual students maintain their first languages.
2. Parents will be able to read to their children in their language.
3. Developing literacy in the first language support literacy in English.
4. Students will have their heritage and language acknowledged.
5. The world needs more bilinguals.

Timeline of Project (when will you do the project, if applicable)
I have been researching and creating a list of books that represent my students’ cultures. With this grant, I would be able to start purchasing the books.