Marcia Gaudet received $985.39 for her Public School Proud Grant proposal, “Project READ (Reading Engagement for All Diverse Students).” In the application, she wrote, “The goal of Project READ is to enhance robust literacy instruction for English Learners by building a section in our library with books in both English and Spanish. Research demonstrates culturally responsive practices in our schools accelerate EL learning and academic growth. Here is one example of how books in Spanish and English impact students: Last year I had a student who was not showing a great deal of growth in reading or her academic English growth. I asked her about reading at home. She said she did not have time because she had to help put her brother and sister to bed each night. I suggested she could read to her brother and sister when putting them to bed. She said that would not work because they spoke Spanish at home. I began giving her picture books in Spanish and English for her to take home to try. She came back asking for more! Her reading score on the yearly language assessment went from a 2 in 2nd grade to a 6 in 3rd grade after she began reading at home using books in Spanish and English! This year in 4th grade she has been an engaged learner, improving in all academic areas.
Having books in Spanish and English that are available in the school library communicates to our students that their home language is of great value. We often see learning difficulties develop in students who abandon their home language. Children are proud that they come to school to learn English, but when they stop responding to their parents in their home language, family relationships are disrupted. Parents who want to support reading at home but are still learning to read English, often feel powerless. Providing bilingual books empowers our parents to engage with text with their children. Research shows being culturally responsive will accelerate reading growth in our English Learners, and I believe this project has the potential to change lives!”