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My students are a mix of Caucasian and Hispanic students. Most of the Hispanic students are native speakers. They hear the language constantly at home, but most of them do not read it or write it at home. I want to help them not only to learn the formal language they may not use at home but also to become fully literate in the language. If you have ever attempted to learn a foreign language, you know it can be a daunting task. The kids I teach starting from kindergarten (most of them with no knowledge of the Spanish language) learning the basics. In first grade, starting in January, they are no longer able to speak any English at all in the Spanish portion of their day! These kids work so hard to communicate, expand their vocabulary, and learn about the culture of other kids around the Spanish-speaking world- all of this while also learning content in math and science. They work so hard and often get frustrated, but appreciate what learning a second language can do for their future.
I am a 5th-year teacher getting ready for another year in the immersion program. The immersion program is one where students spend half their day in English and half of their day in Spanish. In English, they learn social studies, English Language Arts, and math. They also learn some science vocabulary. In Spanish, they study Spanish language arts, science, and a review of math. It’s ALL in Spanish- no English allowed! In order to help with literacy and spark students' interest, I have been reading aloud Because of Winn-Dixie in Spanish. It has become a yearly tradition to read the books to my students and then watch the movie together in Spanish. This year I want to do something a little bit different. Having a copy of the book, Because of Winn-Dixie, or Gracias a Winn-Dixie for each student will really impact them. Literacy is so important, and these books will engage them and allow them to improve those all-important language arts skills like characterization, plot elements, etc. Our school has limited resources in general, and limited Spanish books for students in particular. My students work hard and read the limited supply of Spanish books we do have. They love and appreciate the books we have, so I know that these books would also be well-loved and appreciated.