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1. Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Launches New Educational Resources for Latino Youth

I wanted to share something I received from Kirk Whisler’s newsletter at the Latino Print Network regarding some exciting opportunities for Latino youth in America.  Check them out and let us know what you think about them.

For more information on CHCI, click www.chci.org.  I’ve also posted Kirk’s contact information below if you’d like more information about the Latino Print Network.

CHCI logoCHCI Launches New Educational Resources for Latino Youth

For more than 20 years, CHCI’s education clearinghouse has provided critical information to Latino youth, parents, and educators to ensure access to scholarships, internships, fellowships, financial aid, and other opportunities.  Thanks to the support of State Farm Insurance Companies, CHCI is proud to launch updated versions of its very popular publications that help students prepare for college, as well as apply for financial aid and scholarships.

The College Preparatory Kit for High School Students helps students select the right high school courses and prepare for college entrance exams.  There are helpful tips on selecting a college and how to effectively keep track of application deadlines.

The Guide to Applying for Financial Aid & Scholarships provides in-depth information on how to apply for grants, scholarships, federal student loans, work study, and more. This comprehensive guide is a must for any student needing financial assistance to complete his/her higher education.

The Pre-College Planning Checklist for Parents and Middle School Students is a road map for parents and students to work together toward achieving the goal of a higher education.  This document is targeted to Latino parents of sixth to ninth grade students who lack the information and knowledge to assist their children in preparing for college and puts them on the pathway to success.

CHCI’s National Directory of Scholarships, Internships, and Fellowships for Latino Youth, launched in 2008, remains the most popular document at www.chci.org with more than 650,000 downloaded in 2009.

“Hispanics are the largest and youngest minority group with the projected growth of nearly 40 percent over the next two decades and 100 percent by 2040. It is imperative that our future generation of Latino leaders is armed with the necessary education and professional skills to succeed,” said Esther Aguilera, CHCI President & CEO.  “Our founding members envisioned education as the key to success and as the foundation of leadership development.  CHCI is proud to have impacted hundreds of thousands of lives through our education clearinghouse over the years.”

While CHCI is nationally known for its leadership development programs and serving as a pipeline to develop the next generation of Latino leaders, it has provided comprehensive educational and informational resources since 1987. What started with a national hotline and small newsletter to inform the Latino community about higher education opportunities, evolved into an online comprehensive educational clearinghouse in 2001 that continues to be the destination of choice for Latino students looking for information in 2010.

email: [email protected]
voice: (760) 434-1223
Latino Print Network overall: 760-434-7474
web: www.hm101.com
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2. Uplifting Women of Our Time

In November 2009, we at bububooks had the pleasure of hosting Milka Duno, Indy Car racer, to autograph her book and speak with children and fans during the Miami Book Fair International.  As the Indy season gets underway, we’re excited to watch her progress through this male-dominated sport.  Recently, Milka sat down with a reporter for the New Straits Times while she was in Kuala Lumpur to speak at a conference celebrating International Women’s Day.  You can read that article below.

If you’d like to catch a glimpse at her bilingual children’s book, Go, Milka, Go!/¡Corre, Milka, Corre!, click here.

Scroll down to see Milka Duno’s racing schedule for this season!

New Straits Times
Thursday, March 18, 2010, 01.06 AM

WOMEN: Driving dreams

Milka DunoHispanic beauty Milka Duno shares the ups and downs of being a professional car racer in a male-dominated sport with VIMALA SENEVIRATNE

VENEZUELAN beauty Milka Duno strikes a vampish pose with a mischievous look in her eyes and a white rose tucked behind her right ear.

Showing off her well-toned body to advantage, she’s sexy without being sleazy. “This reminds me of my modelling days while at university,” she says with a smile that can light up a room.

But her Latin American charm has little to do with what she does for a living. Duno is a professional race car driver who loves the challenge of burning tyres at 300kmph, a speed which would land most of us with a ticket.

“I didn’t plan on being a car racer. It was an opportunity that came my way. I tried it and haven’t looked back since,” she says. The former naval engineer and Caracas native was in Kuala Lumpur as one of the speakers at the Women of Independence — The Power of One conference held in conjunction with International Women’s Day recently. She has just finished her presentation and is taking a well-deserved break.

“I haven’t slept well in a long time,” she says while relaxing on a sofa, her right leg comfortably tucked in. “People think that I’m addicted to speed. It heightens your senses, but what I find most thrilling is the challenge. Conquering the challenge is what drives me.

“I thrive on challenges, be it on the race track, in my job or personal life. I compete to win. It’s hard work, but not impossible,” says the thirtysomething who made history last year when she became the first Hispanic woman to compete in the 93 years of the Indy 500 race.

It’s not surprising that her grit and courage have enabled her to take part in just about every major car race in the world — the 24-hour Daytona, Le Mans Series and Indy 500 — while collecting a series of titles such as “first woman to race here”, “win this” and “finish there”. She has eight wins in major sports car races and was recently inducted into the Latin American International Sports Hall of Fame. She now competes in the Indy Car Series. “There are 17 races a year, and next I will be racing in Brazil. I have to be mentally, physically and emotionally prepared.” And how does she do that? “Two hours of workout every day — a combination of weight training, swimming, running and eating healthy meals. Being single also helps as I’m able to concentrate fully on my career,” she says. Duno spends hours practising with her coach. When she gets behind the wheel, her gender takes secondary role. “I’m a driver just like the others in the race. We have only one aim — to win. This is whe

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3. Book Review: Iguanas in the Snow and Other Winter Poems/Iguanas en la nieve y otros poemas de invierno by Francisco X. Alarcón


book coverIguanas in the Snow and Other Winter Poems/Iguanas en la nieve y otros poemas de invierno is an absolute delight.  Parents, do not be intimidated by the word poem in the title!  What Francisco X. Alarcón gives us with this picture book is an introduction to image. The poems, short and simple, will teach your children to grow with an acute appetite for sensory details.  This collection, like the others in its series, is very visual and while it explores much associated with winter it also touches on many important themes our children face each day such as identity, community and cultural awareness.

The illustrations, by Maya Christina Gonzalez, are vivid and play a large role in the overall joy that is found in this book.  Gonzalez does an excellent job complimenting each poem and her artwork is colorful and alive.

Suited perfectly for children in grades 3-5, this book will help children begin to build their creative process using small detail.  Because the poems are observations, young readers will be able to identify similar visual details during their own day-to-day experiences.  While in nature, walking to school, or even while spending time with family at home, they may begin to notice detail in a new way, an important skill for all children.  This book, and the others in this seasonal series provide an excellent tool for building sensory skills.

Furthermore, if your child is a young student of Spanish, this book is effective in isolating a few words at a time, so the Spanish does not become overwhelming.  Because the poems are short, they can be broken up into daily lessons.  It is a perfect and joyful book for any age to read.

–Jacey

For this book and the others in its series (Spring, Summer and Fall), click here.  Get it in time for Christmas!

We wanted to share with you one of Jacey’s favorite poems from the book, perfect for the season! Happy Holidays!

Nochebuena                                            Christmas Eve

me encanta                                              I love
el sabroso                                                the delicious
olor                                                            aroma

de tamales                                               of tamales
cociéndose                                              simmering
al vapor                                                    in their steam

toda mi familia                                      my family
a mi alrededor                                        all around me
cantando                                                 singing

las alegres                                              the joyful
canciones de                                          songs of
Las Posadas                                          Las Posadas

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4. NAEYC Themes, Part 3: 10 Ways to Develop Meaningful Relationships with the Parents and Families of Dual-Language Learning Children


Another theme that presented itself throughout various sessions at this year’s annual National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) conference the need for developing and maintaining a relationship with the parents and families of non-native English speakers.  You might think this concept is rather obvious; however, several barriers exist to prevent this relationship from blooming.

Barriers

Oftentimes, there is a perception that these parents lack interest in their child’s education and growth.  However, this perception can often be misguided.  In many cultures outside the United States, teachers are revered and getting involved in the classroom is seen as interfering with the teacher’s expert intentions and processes.  Therefore, parents try to stay out of the way of their children’s teachers.  You see that as lack of interest and involvement; they see it as respect.

Also, the notion of family involvement differs for social classes.  Just because a parent is not at a bake sale doesn’t mean they are not involved in their child’s education.  Work may prevent them from attending; however, they may still be reviewing their child’s homework every night.

Immigrant families also face unique needs than other families in America.  Not only may there be a language and culture barrier, but also family tensions can exist as each member adjusts and adapts to their new life in America.  Their identities as a member of a group before may have now changed to one of an outsider—an “alien”.  Perhaps they were a leader in their hometown and now they are a laborer trying to climb the socio-economic ladder.  Further, they may have to rely on their children as their English improves more quickly, which degrades their role as provider in the family.  These adjustments can cause tension in the family that may prevent as much involvement as they’d like in their child’s education.  Think about the time you studied abroad in college.  Imagine moving there by yourself, without the school’s help, without your host family there to meet you at the airport.  Imagine trying to figure everything out on your own, in a foreign country with a language you thought you could speak. Imagine doing so with your family there too, all looking to you for guidance.  Do you think you could have done it? Perhaps, but with a whole lot of stress involved, too!

For instance, what do the following symbols mean to you (assuming you don’t speak Chinese)? 优, 良, 中, 可,  差。If your child brought home these symbols on their report card, would you know what they mean?  One presenter at NAEYC told a story of how a Chinese father was disappointed in his daughter because she brought home a grade of “S” (for Satisfactory).  He thought grades went in order from A all the way down to Z—because it does seem that way since it starts off A, B, C, D…—and so S seemed pretty bad.  We must remember that nearly everything may be unfamiliar to immigrant families!

The Importance of Developing this Relationship with the Family

The school or childcare center is a key location in cultural transition.  This place may often be the first place children are exposed to cultures other than their own (this goes for all children).  It may be the first place a child realizes he is “different.”  Further, it is the place that will help prepare him to succeed in America.   If there is not enough language support for her to learn, she will associate school as something that doesn’t do anything for her.

Parent involvement is a critical component in a child’s success in school and in society.  We must do what we can to remember that inability to communicate does not mean a person is incapable or uneducated.  In fact, new legal immigrants are as well educated as native-born citizens, on average.  We must discover and overcome whatever may be preventing a relation

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5. NAEYC Themes, Part 4: Communication Strategies for Working with Dual Language Learners


Another common theme that surfaced at the National Association for the Education of Young Children Annual Conference dealt with plans and strategies for working with dual language learners.  This blog posting provides some tips you can actually use, along with recommendations on how to create a more explicit strategy.

Strategy

Regardless of what you choose to do, the key is to be deliberate, intentional and integrative in your strategy.  Remember, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.  Create an explicit plan to integrate the needs of your dual language learners with the overall needs of your center.  Check out these steps below to aid in developing your plan.

  1. Consider completing a self-assessment checklist to help you determine where you are in your DLL strategy.  You can access the checklist here.
  2. Find out about the current guidelines for dual language programs.
  3. Analyze your current program needs, specifically the demographic makeup of your students, staff and maybe even growing trends in your area.
  4. Develop a policy for supporting and a plan on how to support dual language learners.  Get buy-in from management, staff and parents.
  5. Pursue and offer professional development for staff who work with dual language learning children.
  6. Collaborate with other services and supporters.

General Tips

Following are 10 tips for communicating with DLLs. Remember to develop a relationship with the child and their family (see Themes, Parts 2 and 3) in order to maximize that child’s potential.  From birth to age 3, children need face-to-face social interaction for language development.  DVDs do not work.

  1. Pair visual tools with oral and print cues.  For example, if you display the daily schedule in printed words (English), place visual pictures of the activities next to their corresponding words.  You can combine these cues in everything you do.  For example, use pictures, gestures and movements when talking to maximize all the cues.

For new language learners:

2. Simplify your language and slow down.
3. Do not assume that a child understands what you say.
4. Do not force the child to make eye contact with you.
5. Do not raise your volume when speaking or force the child to speak.
6. Allow plenty of time for the child to answer a question or wait a bit and then rephrase the question in simpler language.

A little later:

7. Listen for intent not grammar.
8. Accept all attempts.
9. Don’t overcorrect.
10. Never ask a child to say something in English. Let it be spontaneous.

Actual Tactics

Below are some tactics that other centers have used and that I found interesting.

  1. Create a bilingual book with the photo and name of every student in your center.  This book helps all the students—and even parents—get to know the names, including unfamiliar and foreign, of everyone else.
  2. If you have more than two languages in your center, consider using a word wall.  For example, display the word, hello, in every language represented (along with its Romanized pronunciation if it’s not a language with a Latin alphabet).  Also, during morning meeting, have the class say hello or good morning in each language represented in your class.
  3. Bring family members in to share things from their country. Take a photo and post it in the classroom.
  4. If you have a listening cen

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6. You’re Not Alone at Blogging Carnival on Bilingualism

Hi everyone,

We at bububooks are happy to be a part of this month’s Blogging Carnival on Bilingualism again.  Check out the 14 blog posts with a central theme called, We’re Not Alone, over at SpanglishBaby.

I’ve copied some of the themes here, but be sure to head over to SpanglishBaby to enjoy the whole carnival.  Know that you’re not alone in trying to raised your children to be bilingual–meet the others at the carnival, read their stories and share your own!

–How to approach bilingualism once your children are about to become adolescents.
–An excellent topic which we don’t really cover much.
–Fun ways to introduce language into everyday activities from the mouth of an expert: a mom and an educator.
–Music is not only a fun way to teach Spanish, but real important to reinforce the minority language.
–An interesting look at a topic that has always interested me: what happens when you’re raising bilingual siblings.
–Funny, funny, funny story about the joys of bilingualism.
–Another honest look at the difficulties of raising bilingual children but from the point of view of a mom using her second language.


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7. An Inspiring Story for Reading


Donors ChooseWe decided to post this thank you letter not to boast, but because the author, a teacher in a public school, offers a first-hand view of what we at bububooks strongly believe.  We like to say, “L is for literacy, not language.”  This is why we advocate for English Language Learner programs in our schools.  Please read this teacher’s note below for a perspective on what non-native English speakers face while trying to grow up.

This thank you letter comes from Donorschoose.org.  This website connects teachers in public schools who need funding for specific projects and willing donors.  Check it out at www.donorschoose.org!

Dear Laura,

Thank you so much for your generous donations. Reading is so important, and is essential in becoming successful in today’s society. Many of my English language learners are not thought of as the bright kids that they truly are because they struggle with reading. I have learned through my classes that most of my students can read and write in Spanish (their native language). The importance of reading–in any language–is immeasurable!

With the ability to read (in any language) comes vocabulary development; fluency; comprehension; and critical thinking skills, such as, prediction and sequencing. Reading in Spanish will help students transfer their knowledge, and learn more readily in English. Research has shown that students who continue to read and write in their native language, will find it much easier to learn to read and write in a new language.

These bilingual books will help my students this year–and in coming years–by allowing them to continue to read and learn in their native language, while acquiring new English skills. The books will also allow parents who feel “left out” the opportunity to engage in their children’s’ education and help them to develop a love of learning.

Once again, thank you for your generosity and compassion towards my students and me!

With gratitude,
Ms. R.

Thanks for reading.  To see the specific project, visit http://www.donorschoose.org/donors/proposal.html?id=314515&pmaId=409319&pmaHash=-973939887&utm_source=dc&utm_campaign=ity&utm_medium=email&utm_content=Project#bus

Have a great weekend and feel free to share projects you’ve donated to on DonorsChoose.org!

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8. New book at bububooks: Luna Needs a Miracle!/¡Luna Necesita un Milagro!


Book cover

Book cover

We at bububooks are excited to announce our newest book, Luna Needs a Miracle!/¡Luna Necesita un Milagro!, written by celebrity Chef Paul Luna.  Now you must be thinking this book is about food, but it’s not!  Luna explores the themes of love, fear, family and friendship in this bilingual—Spanish/English—children’s book.  The main character, whose name is also Luna and does not speak or understand English, faces his fears as he prepares for his first day at a new school in a new country in this colorfully illustrated hardcover.

Luna prays for the school to be closed and, as a result, no longer worries about his first day in a new situation.  Yet as he walks closer and closer to school that morning, Luna discovers the school is still open, but finds his prayer answered in another, more universal way. (We won’t want to spoil it!)

“Experiencing something radically different from what you know can be frightening, but can also create a window of opportunity upon which you can take action with clarity and confidence,” said author Luna.  He continues, “writing this book was a way for me to break past my own fears of doing something new and unknown, while also sharing an important lesson that we are all the same.  We all have fears, challenges and successes in our lives.”

Laura, founder of bububooks, got to personally meet Luna and his fiancée, Cynthia.  “Our missions are quite the same. We understand and appreciate the value of languages and of reading.  It was never any question to him—the book had to be bilingual.  I am inspired by his passion and am proud that we are carrying their book. We look forward to reading more from him!”

Get the book in hardcover version at www.bububooks.com for $24.99.

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9. More events this past weekend, SCAEYC and the Georgia Literary Festival


Rome Library

Rome Library

Jacey and Laura both represented bububooks at events this past weekend.  Jacey visited beautiful northwest Georgia for the annual Georgia Literary Festival in Rome.  Despite the cold temperatures, she says she enjoyed her time up there and got to meet some pretty cool people, authors and booksellers.  Maybe she and her husband will make a camping trip up there in the near future!

SCAEYCLaura headed up to Columbia, South Carolina, for the South Carolina Association for the Education of Young Children conference.  Having never been to South Carolina before, she thoroughly enjoyed the city of Columbia and the people.  By the end, she was giving hugs as she left the conference!  At the conference, Laura met lots of GREAT people who are all seeking to improve the lives of children and teachers in South Carolina.  She says it was an inspiring weekend and she looks forward to going back as she develops stronger relationships with the people she met from throughout the state.  She’s so sad (and has been chastised by us) that she didn’t get any pictures of her new friends but promises to take more pictures next time. It has been her favorite trip for bububooks by far!  Thank you South Carolina and the SCAEYC!

GA Lit Fest

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10. Latino teens happier, healthier if families embrace biculturalism


Latino Print NetworkI wanted to share this article I received from the Latino Print Network by Kirk Whisler.  A new study from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill shows that Latino teens who embrace their Latino culture and whose parents embrace U.S. culture live healthier lives, academically, socially and emotionally.  I think the benefits of biculturalism would apply to all ethnic groups in the US because embracing both cultures in a family and environment supports a family and community bond. Read on and share your thoughts!

Over the years, research has shown that Latino youth face numerous risk factors when integrating into American culture, including increased rates of alcohol and substance use and higher rates of dropping out of school.

But a new study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill shows adolescents who actively embrace their native culture – and whose parents become more involved in U.S. culture – stand a greater chance of avoiding these risks and developing healthier behaviors overall.

The findings are from a longitudinal study by the UNC-based Latino Acculturation and Health Project, which is supported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and directed by Paul Smokowski, Ph.D., an associate professor at the UNC School of Social Work. Researchers interviewed 281 Latino youths and parents in North Carolina and Arizona, asking questions about a wide range of measures of lifestyle and mental health. Participants answered according to how much they agreed with each question (for example, from “not at all” to “very much”), resulting in scores on a scale for each measure.

“We found teens who maintain strong ties to their Latino cultures perform better academically and adjust more easily socially,” Smokowski said. “When we repeated the survey a year later, for every 1-point increase in involvement in their Latino cultures, we saw a 13 percent rise in self-esteem and a 12 to 13 percent decrease in hopelessness, social problems and aggressive behavior.

“Also, the study showed parents who develop a strong bicultural perspective have teen children who are less likely to feel anxiety and face fewer social problems,” he said. “For every increase in a parent’s involvement in United States culture, we saw a 15 to 18 percent decrease in adolescent social problems, aggression and anxiety one year later. Parents who were more involved in U.S. culture were in a better position to proactively help their adolescents with peer relations, forming friendships and staying engaged in school. This decreases the chances of social problems arising.”

“Such results suggest that Latino youth and their parents benefit from biculturalism,” Smokowski said.

The findings are presented as part of a series of articles featured next month in a special issue of The Journal of Primary Prevention, a collaborative initiative between UNC and the CDC. The special issue presents the latest research on how cultural adaptation influences Latino youth behaviors – including involvement in violence, smoking and substance use, as well as overall emotional well-being – and offers suggestions for primary prevention programs that support minority families.

“Bicultural adolescents tend to do better in school, report higher self esteem, and experience less anxiety, depression and aggression,” said study co-author Martica Bacallao, Ph.D., an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, whose work is also featured in the special issue. “It is interesting that, in order to obtain these benefits of biculturalism, adolescents and parents often need to do the opposite of what their natural tendencies tell them. Parents who are strongly tied to their native cultures must reach out to learn skills in the new culture. Adolescents who quickly soak up new cultural behaviors should slow down and cultivate the richness in their native cultures.”

Smokowski added: “The burgeoning size of the Latino population and the increasingly important roles that Latino youth will play in American culture are worthy of community attention. Communities can either invest in prevention to nurture Latino youth as a national resource or pay a heavy price later in trying to help these youth address social problems such as substance use, aggression or dropping out of school; all of which often results from the stress of acculturation.”

Along with Smokowski and Bacallao, Rachel L. Buchanan, Ph.D., assistant professor of social work at Salisbury University in Maryland, was a co-author of the study, titled “Acculturation and Adjustment in Latino Adolescents: How Cultural Risk Factors and Assets Influence Multiple Domains of Adolescent Mental Health.”

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11. Book Review: Divided City by Theresa Breslin


If you haven’t guessed already, we at bububooks are fans of Theresa Breslin. Now we know her books are not bilingual, but we love the topics she covers.  Indeed, when we expand to monolingual yet ethnic books, we’ll be sure to include Theresa’s titles in our collection!

Book Cover for Divided City

Book Cover for Divided City

Divided City is a story for young adults and takes place in Glasgow. The two boys in the story come from different sides of the city, geographically, socially, historically and religiously. One is Roman Catholic while the other is Protestant.  They meet on a soccer team and forge a friendship through their unwitting and reluctant help to an asylum seeker.  As they each face their own internal struggles within their families and communities, the two boys, Graham and Joe, face their external struggles through each other.

“A gripping tale about two boys who must find their own answers–and their own way forward–in a world divided by differences.”

By enveloping the story in the rivalries of soccer (football), Breslin brings forward the tensions of various differences and tensions that circles in society face.  Once again, her structure also neatly sets up these differences. In the beginning, the chapters alternate in telling the separate stories of Joe and Graham. As the two grow together, at first simply in the time they spend together and later in their friendship bonds, their chapters blend together as well.  A riveting read (I couldn’t put it down!), Breslin uses this story to highlight where ethnic tensions come from and how we just might be able to rise above them.

Read this book if you get the chance!

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12. Celebrate El DÍa de los Muertos


Many of you have probably heard of the Day of the Dead, celebrated in Mexico, and more and more in the United States, this time of year.  It is a holiday for family and friends to gather and remember friends and family who have passed away.  Not a somber event, the celebration includes cleaning the house, building an offering, or ofrenda, that includes candles, flowers, their favorite items while alive and other items to help them on their journey and visiting their graves. This holiday also coincides with the Catholic holidays of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.

Holidays like the Day of the Dead are celebrated throughout the world and in various cultures, where families come together to honor the dead.  In Korea, for

Celebrations Cover

example, a large feast is cooked. Fruit is placed on the table in odd numbers with the top of one cut off. Chopsticks are placed upright in a bowl of rice. The front door is left opened during the ceremony. These actions allow for the dead to enter and enjoy the food!

Many in the United States have embraced the Day of the Dead holiday. One town in Texas, for instance, held a shoebox ofrenda competition.  There are free processions tonight in San Francisco and Oakland, etc. Check your local area for events!

For more information on ofrenda, check out: http://www.inside-mexico.com/ofrenda.htm and for information on the Day of the Dead holiday, visit http://www.dayofthedead.com/

In the meantime, enjoy the fall and upcoming holidays!

I also would like to use this holiday to highlight a bilingual book we carry at bububooks called: Celebrations / Celebraciones: Holidays of the United States of America and Mexico / Dias feriados de los Estados Unidos y Mexico. In it, author Nancy Tabor explains major holidays in the US and Mexico and how they are celebrated. Be sure to check it out!

Inside Peek to Celebrations

 

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13. Spending the Day with Milka Duno, Indy Racecar Driver


For the weekend of November 13-15, Jacey and I headed down to Miami for the annual Miami Book Fair International.  We were excited to participate in such a popular annual event and to spread our mission of bilingualism to the wonderful South Floridians!

On Saturday and Sunday of that weekend, Milka Duno joined us to sign her book and take photos with fans.  We truly enjoyed spending those two days with her (an awesome and dedicated woman!)

Milka’s book, Go, Milka, Go!/¡Corre, Milka, Corre!, highlights her life and the importance of studying hard to succeed.  She spoke with children about the importance of education and her foundation, Milka Way. The program’s mission is to inspire children and young adults to “Aim for the Stars” and achieve academic excellence.

I personally felt inspired by how she brightened up the day and spoke words of encouragement for so many children, families and fans who got to meet and speak with her.  Indeed, one fan even drove two hours just to meet her and get his copy of her book autographed!

We were honored to have Milka join us because her passions are so closely aligned with ours and because she is such a great person.  We share our focus on education and literacy not bound by language.  We’ll be sure to let you know the next time Milka will visit our booth!

Milka’s first book is bilingual in Spanish and English and at the reading level for ages 8-12.  We brought back a limited number of autographed copies. Buy yours now before they’re gone!

Check out some of the photos below. Thank you Milka!

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14. Themes from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Annual Conference


I attended the annual NAEYC conference just before Thanksgiving in Washington D.C.  I learned a lot more about the strategies, techniques and trends for teaching dual language learners.  I also got to see some friends and make some new ones who are involved in early education.  Moreover, I got to see Secretary of Education Arne Duncan speak live!  Over the next few blog postings, I’ll be recapping some of the presentations I attended.  For this particular posting, I’d like to discuss four overarching themes that seemed to repeat throughout the various sessions.  I will expand on these themes through the specific postings that will follow.

Common Theme #1:  Teachers need to build positive relationships with dual language learning children.  Help them to feel safe and included. Oftentimes, every single thing is new to them since they have just moved here.  Even their parents are stressed as they try to get settled in a new country.  With everything so new and different (read: scary), a safe and inviting environment will help them to open up more in school.

Common Theme #2:  Teachers need to develop meaningful relationships with parents and families.  Parents and families from different countries display their involvement with their children’s education in various ways. Also, sometimes their current circumstances prevent them from being as involved as they’d like.  This does not mean they are not interested.  Furthermore, language need not be a barrier for a teacher to communicate with the families.  These meaningful relationships help to eliminate misunderstandings and further create a safe environment for the child.

Common Theme #3:  Be deliberate, intentional, integrative and committed with your communication strategies.  I’ll offer suggestions in following postings.  But certainly determine what your policy is for incorporating dual language learners and then set about creating a strategy to do so.  This process will include research and can even mean hiring a consultant.

Common Theme #4:  Support the home language and culture.  Dual language learning children do not come to your school as a blank slate. By supporting their home language and culture, you maximize their potential to learn, send them a message that they are not different, help create that safe and inclusive environment, and lay the foundation for a strong relationship between them and their parents.

I look forward to sharing with you specific details from the sessions as well as expanding upon these four themes.  In the meantime, Happy Holidays and don’t forget to check out our bookstore, where all the books are bilingual: www.bububooks.com.

–Laura

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15. Author highlight: Nancy Maria Grande Tabor


 

Cover of We are a Rainbow/Somos un arco iris

Cover of We are a Rainbow/Somos un arco iris

Nancy Maria Grande Tabor writes bilingual Spanish/English books for children.  Some of her titles include Somos un arco iris / We Are a Rainbow and Albertina anda arriba: el abecedario / Albertina Goes Up: An Alphabet Book.  An American, Tabor grew up mostly in Mexico.  She now teaches Kindergarten in northern California.

 

Inside look to A Taste of the Mexican Market/El gusto del mercado mexicano

Inside look to A Taste of the Mexican Market/El gusto del mercado mexicano

Nancy Tabor was one of the first bilingual teachers in her school.  She discovered there existed very few bilingual books to help her teach her class.  Indeed, because the thought of bilingual education was so new, Tabor struggled to find any resources or even support as she developed her teaching program.  One night, Tabor expressed her frustrations to her daughter who replied, “Why don’t you write your own book?”  That same night, Tabor sat down and wrote her own book.  She cut out her art from construction paper.  And an author was born!

 

Tabor went on to write several more books, creating her own beautiful and colorful artwork for each.  A huge fan, bububooks offers all of Tabor’s books.

Inside look to Albertina Goes Up: An Alphabet Book/Albertina anda arriba: el abecedario

Inside look to Albertina Goes Up: An Alphabet Book/Albertina anda arriba: el abecedario

 

 

*The information provided in this blog was gathered from a presentation Tabor gave at the Multicultural Children’s Literature Conference in San Francisco, March 2009.

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16. 5 Easy Activities for Summer Learning


Colorin Colorado

Colorin Colorado

Below is an article taken from Colrín Colorado, a bilingual (Spanish and English) website for families and educators of English Language Learners.  It offers five tips for helping your child continue to learn over the summer break.  Scroll down for the English version.  Enjoy!

 

Cinco consejos gratuitos y sencillos para el aprendizaje de verano

Por: Brenda McLaughlin y Jane Voorhees Sharp (2008)

Existen estudios bien documentados sobre cuánto de lo ya aprendido pierden los niños durante el verano. Harris Cooper de la Universidad Duke observa que “en general, durante el verano los niños experimentan una pérdida promedio de lo aprendido en lectura y matemáticas que equivale a un mes de aprendizaje” (1996).

La cuestión es que los niños no tienen por qué perder nada de lo aprendido durante el verano. En realidad, usted puede alentar a su hijo a disfrutar del verano y a aprender siguiendo estos cinco consejos gratuitos y sencillos. ¡Pruébelos!

1. Leer todos los días

Estudios de investigación

A nivel de la escuela media, leer cuatro o cinco libros durante el verano influye de manera positiva en el nivel de lectura que puede alcanzar el niño en otoño, comparable con la asistencia a la escuela de verano. (Kim, 2004)

Sugerencias

Lleve a sus hijos a la biblioteca con frecuencia y permítales que escojan sus propios libros. Escuchen libros en audio. Suscríbanse a una revista. Túrnense para leerle el uno al otro. Permítales a los niños quedarse despiertos hasta media hora más si es para leer.

2. Usar las matemáticas todos los días

Estudios de investigación
 

El área donde se registra la mayor pérdida que sufren los niños durante el verano es en el área de los cómputos matemáticos, a un nivel de 2.6 meses promedio de aprendizaje. (Cooper, 1996)

Sugerencias

Practiquen las tablas de multiplicar aumentando 7 veces (o hasta 8 ó 9) el valor de cada punto en un juego de baloncesto. Pídales a los niños que pidan cambio en la ventanilla de autoservicio. Enséñeles a los niños cómo ingresar en www.coolmath.com en inglés) para jugar juegos de matemáticas. Invente problemas de matemáticas cuando viajan en automóvil o durante la cena.

3. Salir a jugar

Estudios de investigación

Los programas de actividad física intensa tienen efectos positivos en los logros académicos, además de mayor concentración, mejores calificaciones en pruebas de matemáticas, lectura y escritura, y menos casos de mal comportamiento. (Journal of School Health, 1997)

Sugerencias

Busque opciones para que su hijo haga actividad durante 60 minutos por día. Sugiérale pasear el paseo del vecino, ir a nadar, jugar al badminton o al fútbol, salir a caminar o andar en bicicleta en familia. Busque formas seguras y divertidas de salir a jugar durante todo el año. Visite los sitios de Internet Los niños en su casa, PBS Padres, y los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades para consultar más ideas y información en español.

4. Escribir todas las semanas

Estudios de investigación

La mayoría de los estudiantes de primer año que ingresan en instituciones postsecundarias para cursar un título de grado deben tomar clases de refuerzo de escritura más que clases de lectura. (NCES 2003)

Sugerencias

Pídale a su hijo que les escriba una carta por semana a sus abuelos, parientes o amigos. Anímelo para que escriba un diario de verano. Pídale que escriba la lista de las compras para la familia. Organice un proyecto del amigo invisible por carta para adultos y niños en su iglesia o comunidad.

5. Hacer una buena acción

Estudios de investigación

Los estudiantes aprenden más y “actúan” menos cuando participan en actividades que ayudan a su desarrollo socioemocional, como el servicio comunitario. (The Collaborative for Academic Social and Emotional Learning, 2004)

Sugerencias

Incentive a su hijo para que ayude a sus vecinos o amigos. Puede ofrecerse como voluntario de un grupo local o participar de un proyecto educativo de servicio. Sugiérale que reserve parte de su asignación para donarla. Miren juntos el sitio de Internet Big Help de Nickelodeon (en inglés) y el sitio de Parent Link Rhode Island (en español) para tener más ideas.

 

Five Free and Easy Tips for Summer Learning: Research Pointers and What You Can Do

 

By: Brenda McLaughlin and Jane Voorhees Sharp (2005)

Research about how much children lose ground over the summer is well documented. Harris Cooper of Duke University notes, “Overall, children experience an average summer learning loss across reading and mathematics of about one month” (1996).

The thing is, though, kids don’t have to lose over the summer. In fact, you can encourage your child to have a summer of fun and learning with these five free and easy things to do. Try them out!

1. Read Every Day

The Research

At the middle school level, reading four to five books over the summer has a positive impact on fall reading achievement comparable to attending summer school (Kim, 2004).

Suggestions

Take your kids to the library often and let them choose which books to check out. Listen to books on tape. Subscribe them to a magazine. Take turns reading to each other. Allow your kids to stay up a half hour later at night as long as they’re reading.

2. Use Math Every Day

The Research

The largest summer learning losses for all children occur in mathematical computation, an average of 2.6 months (Cooper, 1996).

Suggestions

Practice the multiplication tables by making each point in a basketball game worth 7 points (or 8 or 9). Ask your kids to make change at the drive-thru. Show your child how to go to Cool Math to play math games. Make up math word problems in the car and at the dinner table.

3. Get Outside and Play

The Research

Intense physical activity programs have positive effects on academic achievement, including increased concentration; improved mathematics, reading, and writing test scores; and reduced disruptive behavior (Journal of School Health 1997).

Suggestions

Find ways to ensure your child is active for 60 minutes each day. Have him or her walk the neighbor’s dog, go swimming, play badminton or soccer, take walks, or go for family bike rides. Look for safe, fun ways to play outside together year-round. Go to Family Corner Magazine and PBS Parents for more ideas.

4. Write Every Week

The Research

More freshmen entering degree-granting postsecondary institutions take remedial writing courses than take remedial reading courses (NCES 2003).

Suggestions

Ask your child to write a weekly letter to his or her grandparents, relatives, or friends. Encourage him to keep a summer journal. Have her write the family’s grocery list. Organize a secret pal writing project for adults and kids at your church or in your community.

5. Do a Good Deed

The Research

Students learn better and “act out” less when they engage in activities to aid in their social-emotional development, such as community service (The Collaborative for Academic Social and Emotional Learning, 2004).

Suggestions

Encourage your child to help out neighbors or friends. He or she can volunteer with a local group or complete a service learning project. Suggest that your child set aside part of his allowance for charity. Look at Nickelodeon’s Big Help web site together for more ideas.

Adapted from a presentation by Brenda McLaughlin, Director of Research and Policy, Center for Summer Learning, Johns Hopkins University and Jane Voorhees Sharp, Office of Early Care and Education, New Jersey Department of Human Services.

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17. New book at bububooks: The Frog in the Well/井底之蛙


 

The cover of The Frog in the Well

The cover of The Frog in the Well

The Frog in the Well retells a Chinese idiom.  Chinese idioms tend to be four characters long and paint a moral teaching.  The frog that lives in a well believes the well encompasses the entire world and that he understands it better than anyone else.  One day the frog meets a sea turtle that introduces the wide, deep ocean full of much more life than the well.  From this experience, the frog realizes a world exists outside the well.

New author Irene Tsai highlights the moral lesson that one should not be narrow-minded and, instead, be aware of the “ocean of knowledge for him to learn.”  She does so in this beautifully and clearly illustrated book—by Pattie Caprio—that includes both traditional and simplified characters along with pinyin and zhuyin.   Irene also succeeds in offering imagery for the life the frog is living, something that will certainly capture the attention and imagination of children.

Indeed, The Frog in the Well has won the Reader Views 2009 Reviewers Choice Award and has received rave reviews that are copied below.

“What a delightful book!  It has a meaningful message, and the illustrations are charming!  My father attempted to teach me Chinese when I was a child.  I would have loved this book!  I know that The Frog in the Well will be enjoyed by aspiring language students, their parents, and teachers.”
                                                                 –Dominie Soo Bush, Writer and Educator, FL

 “Irene Tsai tells stories that speak to readers of all ages.  She has a unique ability to convey classic Chinese stories by using language and tone that children today can appreciate.  She expands cultural boundaries and provides an avenue for nurturing your child’s emotional development.”
                                     –Harsh K. Trivedi M.D., Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist
                                     Brown Medical School, RI

The Frog in the Well is both beautifully written and illustrated.  The story of how the frog views his world will jump off the pages for children while educating them about Chinese culture and language.”
                                      –Tom Watkins, Michigan State Superintendent of Schools (2001-2005)
                                       Honorary Professor, Mianyang University

The Frog in the Well is now available at www.bububooks.com.  Check it out today!

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18. More tips for reading at home with your child


I enjoyed these tips so much I had to share them with you.  They were written by Deanna Lyles, cofounder of Bilingual Readers, a brand new publishing company which provides resources for bilingual and multilingual families and communities.  This article was taken from www.SpanglishBaby.com.

A very patient Spanish speaking mom has been reading her daughter Sara’s favorite book Yo Tigre out loud to her in Spanish every night at bedtime for the last month. But tonight Mom’s out with some friends, and it’s English speaking Dad’s turn to read Sara to sleep. He dutifully pulls out adorable children’s book after adorable children’s book, but it’s no use: Sara wants Yo Tigre, and Where the Wild Things Are just isn’t going to cut it. What’s a bilingual Dad to do? Is it alright for a parent in a One Parent One Language home to break his commitment to speaking to his child only in his native language when the child’s love of reading is at stake?

Most of us are aware that reading aloud to small children is one of the greatest tools parents have for helping their children’s language development along. But when it comes to reading aloud in a bilingual home, many questions arise as to who should read to children in what languages. In OPOL homes the easy answer is that each parent should read to the child in his or her native language, but putting this principle into practice is often anything but simple.

Although they are sometimes hard to find for certain language combinations, bilingual books are one of the best tools for getting the most out of storytime in a OPOL home. While reading monolingual books to your children is certainly beneficial, bilingual books are an especially useful tool for bilingual families. Bilingual books allow both parents to take turns reading the same book to their kids, each parent in his own language. If one parent reads a book to a child in English and the other parent reads the same book in Spanish, the child will automatically begin to associate both languages with the stories and objects on the pages of the book. We all know that children love to read and be read the same stories over and over again, so hearing the exact same text in each language every time a book is read is an easy way to reinforce vocabulary and sentence structure for the bilingual child.

In addition to taking advantage of bilingual books, there are also other strategies for reading consistently to your kids while sticking to the OPOL method. Regardless of whether or not you read monolingual or bilingual books (most families will read both),establish a routine to make sure that each parent is reading to the kids in his or her language every single day. If you stick to this routine, it’ll be a great tool for developing your child’s language abilities in both languages. You can also make recordings of your voice reading your kids’ favorite stories out loud. This way your child can still listen to Mom’s soothing voice read a story in Spanish or Dad doing all the fun voices in English anytime, anywhere. (A friend confessed that these recordings are also great for long trips in the car).

Last but not least, if you’ve broken the rules and read a story to your child in your second language, don’t beat yourself up over it. While consistency is key in any bilingual home, nobody’s perfect and slipping up every once in a while will not scar your child for life. The same thing goes for those of you who may not have been consistent readers in the past. Thankfully each day is a new opportunity to read to and with your children. Happy reading!

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19. Two reasons for bububooks


bububooks' logo

bububooks' logo

After a great weekend at Latino Expo USA and the Chicago Chinatown Dragon Boat Race for Literacy, I thought I would use today’s blog to offer two reasons to shop at www.bububooks.com

1)   Reading skills transfer across languages. Even if your child learns to read in Spanish or Chinese, they’ll be able to transfer those reading skills once they start to learn English.  Therefore, read to your child in the language you’re most comfortable.

Also, children like to read the same books over and over.  If you have two languages at home (each parent has their own dominant language), use bilingual books to read the story to your children in both languages.

The most important thing is to read to your child!  It does not necessarily have to be in English.  Read in the language you are most comfortable.

2)   These books help your child to develop their cultural identities.  The main character in most children’s books is Caucasian.  bububooks strives to offer storybooks that highlight aspects of Latino (mostly Mexican-American as of now) and Chinese culture.  Even if your child doesn’t speak a foreign language, the lack of children stories that discuss topics related to your culture will affect how they view themselves and your culture.

Thanks for your continued support.  We hope to see you at our next event or online!

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20. Getting your preschooler ready to read


A man reads with his son

As the start of school approaches, you and your preschooler may be nervous!  So many firsts will occur during the preschool years—how exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time.  One of those many firsts will include learning to read.  Below is a checklist from the National Institute for Literacy that offers ways to help your child “get ready to read” during the ages of 4 and 5.

√ I help my child hear and say the first sound in words (like “b” in boat), and notice when different words start with the same sound (like “boat” and “book”).

√ I help my child hear words that rhyme (like moose, goose, and caboose).

√ I introduce new words to my child, like “bow” and “stern,” which mean the front of a boat and the back of a boat.

√ I talk with my child about the letters of the alphabet and notice them in books, like “c” for canoe.

√ I point out signs and labels that have letters, like street signs and foods in the grocery store.

√ I encourage my child to find the joy and fun in reading.  Usually, I let my child choose the books we read.

√ I let my child pretend to read parts of the books when we read together.

√ I talk with my child about stories and make connections to things that happen in our own lives.

√ I ask “what,” “where,” and “how” questions when I read with my child to help her follow along and understand the stories.

√ I help my child write notes or make books (like an alphabet book), even if his writing only looks like scribbles or marks.

For checklists on other age ranges and for more information, visit the National Institute for Literacy at http://www.nifl.gov/nifl/publications.html

Literacy begins at home!

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21. Getting your toddler ready to read


Hello there! This blog posting serves as a ‘prequel’ of sorts to the last blog posting and focuses on getting your toddler (2 or 3 years old) ready to read.  Below is a checklist for you as you help your toddler grow with strong reading skills.  And REMEMBER: you can follow this checklist in the language YOU feel most comfortable!  Literacy skills transfer across languages, so be sure to expose your children to your native language.

√ I read with my child every day, even if it’s only for a few minutes.

√ I encourage my child to bring his favorite books to me so that we can read together.

√ I point to pictures and name them out loud, and encourage my child to point to pictures while we read.

√ I watch to see if my child sometimes makes eye contact with me when I read aloud.  That tells me she is paying attention to me and the story.

√ I talk with my child throughout the day about things we are doing and things that are happening around us.

√ I try to be patient when my child wants to read the same book over and over again.

√ I encourage my child to “play” with books—pick them up, flip them from front to back, and turn the pages.

√ Sometimes I listen when my child “pretends,” to read a book—he holds the book, goes from page to page, and says words, even though they’re not the words on the page.

√ I give my child paper and crayons so she can scribble, make pictures, and pretend to write.

This checklist was taken from the National Institute of Literacy.  More information can be found at www.nifl.gov/nifl/publications.html.  Happy reading!

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22. Teaching your kindergartener to read


As school swings into session, we thought we should continue the learning to read checklists.  Below you’ll find Part 3 in our series.  Your child should develop the following skills throughout her kindergarten year.   Keep in mind, she won’t have these skills right away, but usually develops them by the end of kindergarten.  Be sure to talk with your child’s teacher for more details or if you have any questions while your child enters the magical world of reading!

√ My child listens carefully to books read aloud.

√ My child knows the shapes and names for the letters of the alpahbet and writes many uppercase and lowercase letters on his own.

√ My child knows that spoken words are made of separate sounds.

√ My child recognizes and makes rhymes, can tell when words begin with the same sound, and can put together, or blend, spoken sounds.

√ My child can sound out some letters.

√ My child knows that the order of letters in a written word stands for the order of sounds in a spoken word.

√ My child knows some common words such as a, the, I, and you, on sight.

√ My child knows how to hold a book, and follows print from left to right and from top to bottom of a page when she is read to in English.

√ My child asks and answers questions about stories and uses what she already knows to understand a story.

√ My child knows the parts of a book and understands that authors write words and text and illustrators create pictures.

√ My child knows that in most books the main message is in the print, not the pictures.

√ My child predicts what will happen in a story and retells or acts out stories.

√ My child knows the difference between “made up” fiction and “real” nonfiction books and the difference between stories and poems.

√ My child uses what he knows about letters and sounds to write words.

√ My child writes some letters and words as they are said to her and begins to spell some words correctly.

√ My child writes his own first and last name and the first names of some friends and family.

√ My child plays with words and uses new words in her own speech.

√ My child knows and uses words that are important to school work, such as the names for colors, shapes, and numbers.

√ My child knows and uses words from daily life, such as street names and the names for community workers–teacher, mail carrier, etc.

This information is provided by the National Institute for Literacy.  For more, please visit www.nifl.gov/nifl/publications.html.

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23. Tips for teachers of English language learners


As teachers get ready for school to start in the fall, they might consider a few tips on making students welcome who don’t speak English as a native language. More students speak Spanish as their first language than any other group in the U.S., but there are over a hundred other mother tongues spoken by kids from kindergarten to twelfth grade around this country. No one teacher can possibly know all of these. So, what’s a teacher to do? Two websites offer some practical advice:

http://www2.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=3747021&FullBreadCrumb=%3Ca+href%3D%22http%3A%2F

and http://www.colorincolorado.org/educators/reachingout/welcoming

There is plenty of research demonstrating that English language learners (or ELLs for short) learn best by drawing on what they already know. That means, they learn best when they start with the language they already speak, their native language (or L1). Children are not blank states when starting kindergarten. This tends to be an unpopular notion in many places, as it was in the Word Geek’s childhood. The idea back in the Olden Days was to punish a child for speaking anything but the “best” meaning the textbook or Standard version of English. The result was, predictably, that kids who didn’t already speak a pretty standard version quit talking altogether in school and made very little progress, then stopped going to school as soon as they could get away with it. This tended to be around the fourth grade (age 8 or 9). Or, because these children struggle to learn math and science in their L2, they get placed in special education classes in which they become bored and disgruntled. This pattern is NOT recommended!

Instead of following this mournful and unsuccessful pattern, consider the tips described by David and Yvonne Freeman at the first site above:

1. Pair a newcomer (an ELL with little or no English) with a partner who speaks his or her L1 as well as some English. Make sure the partner knows this buddy position is a prestigious job and you are very impressed at how well he or she carries it off. The buddy’s job description should include making sure the newcomer knows the class rules, gets the class assignments, and, hopefully, this buddy does some translating.

2. Invite a parent volunteer into the classroom to read aloud to the class in the L1 of the newcomer(s). If this involves showing lots of pictures, even the English speakers should get something out of it. Plus, they’ll get some idea of what it’s like to be unable to understand every word of what’s going on – empathy, in other words. Not a bad idea!

3. Let the kids speak in their L1. The Word Geek wishes to put this one up in lights, so she will repeat it in capital letters and add an exclamation mark: LET THE KIDS SPEAK IN THEIR L1! Maybe she should throw some firecrackers in to get some people’s attention here, adding extra exclamation marks for more emphasis. LET THE KIDS SPEAK IN THEIR L1!!!

4. Build a class library in the students’ L1s. It’s especially helpful if some of these books are what we once called “ponies,” in the Olden Days. That means, there is the L1 on one page. On the facing page, the same text is in English. This way, a student sees that his or her native language is respected and supported, and the child can go from the known (L1) to the unknown (L2), with a lot less pain and hassle. The Word Geek was once very fond of such ponies and still has a few in her possession.

5. Organize bilingual tutoring, for example by partnering with a teacher of a class a year or two older than your own, in which there are students who speak the same L1 as your students. These older kids who presumably also speak a little more English can help tutor your students, do a little translating. It’s good for their education and self-esteem as well as helping your students along. A person never learns better than when helping someone else learn.

6. Provide students pen pals, whether in their L1 or L2, and whether through e-mail or by means of old-fashioned pen and paper. Go to the first website above to find a couple of online sites to locate e-mail pen pals. This type of writing is a lot more interesting than writing boring sentences in response to even duller reading exercises.

7. Encourage writing in a journal, whether in the L1 or L2. Sometimes, writing about the acquisition of L2 (namely English) in the L1 is one of the best ways to get a student to think about it after school.

8. Create books of students’ own writings. That is to say, with the computer it is relatively easy to type up things that students write, duplicate them, print them out, and even bind them in inexpensive ways. These can be done in the L1 or L2. “Ponies” created in this way can be distributed to the entire class, giving a newcomer a new feeling of being part of a class, not an outsider. Many of the fonts required to print, say, Vietnamese or Arabic or whatever are already available on the internet for free – or relatively cheaply.

9. Use L1 storytellers to support the ELLs language and culture and share with the rest of the class. The teacher can help bring in the rest of the class by teaching a story ahead of time, or having the class read the story or act it out, if they are too young to read it yet. That way, no one need feel left out when the storyteller comes and speaks another language.

10. Put up the signs that are displayed in the classroom in both English and any L1s spoken by students. This shows that the L1 is valued and, therefore, the student who speaks it is also valued.

Time for an object lesson:  When the Word Geek took an introductory linguistics class in college, years ago, the professor told of taking a rabbit in a cage to a first grade classroom. The children in the classroom seemed inordinately quiet and the regular teacher agreed, saying that the kiddies were all “culturally deprived” (using the parlance of the times).

The linguistics professor said that she had a cure for that dread condition. The rabbit was part of it. She put the cage on the teacher’s desk and told the silent students that she and the other teacher had to leave the classroom for a moment. “But I need you kids to help me out,” she told them. “Mr. Bunny will get very, very sick if I go away and nobody talks to him. So, while we’re gone, you need to talk to him and keep talking until I get back. Will you do that for me?” 

The kids silently nodded.

The professor and the teacher silently left the classroom. The kids did not see, but the professor had silently started a tape recorder behind the desk.

When the professor got back, as soon as she opened the door of the classroom, the kids were quiet, so she had no idea if her plan had worked. But later, when she played the tape for the teacher, the two adults heard a great cacophony of noise. The whole time the grownups had been out of the room, all the children had been talking to that rabbit, calling him “Mr. Bunny,” telling him not to be scared, letting him know he would be all right. They did not speak perfect Standard English. But they could speak all right and their meaning was clear enough.

Why wouldn’t they talk when their teacher was there? As the professor pointed out to us, when someone gets onto you every time you open your mouth, you stop opening your mouth. So, at the risk of beating a dead horse, LET THE KIDS SPEAK IN THEIR L1. They’ll eventually get to L2 that way. But if they stop talking altogether, they’ll never get anywhere.

This article was written by Diana Gainer, the Word Geek Examiner, on www.examiner.com.  Laura Renner added some of her own thoughts as well.

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24. Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, Sept 15-Oct 15


iStock_000006456892SmallHispanic Heritage Month began this week.  It originally began as a week long celebration in 1968 when Congress authorized President Lyndon B. Johnson to proclaim it.  During this month, we celebrate the cultures and traditions of Americans who trace their roots to Spain, Mexico and Spanish-speaking countries of Central and South Americas and the Caribbean.  Hispanic Heritage Month begins on Sept 15 because five Latin American countries gained independence from Spain on this day: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.  Also, Mexico celebrates its independence day on Sept. 16th, while Chile celebrates its on the 18th.

National Activities
You can use this month to celebrate Hispanic culture in America and to learn more about it.  There is so much to do!  For a list of events throughout the nation, be sure to check out http://www.hispanicheritagemonth.net/calendar.html.

Children’s Activities
colorin coloradoOf course, with us being a children’s bookstore, we need to focus on activities for the kids!  For that, we turn to our all-time favorite, ¡Colorín colorado! On this page, you can find fun activities for your kids, including word searches and crossword puzzles as well as other activity sheets focusing on words and language.  Also, ¡Colorín colorado! has set up a link where you can send e-cards to your friends and families!  Now, for the adults, this awesome website offers information, history, teaching materials, classroom activities, lesson plans and other resources and links for you to use.  Be sure to bookmark that page!

Children’s Reading List
We at bububooks have also created a book list to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with your children.

Celebrations / Celebraciones: Holidays of the United States of America and Mexico / Dias feriados de los Estados Unidos y Mexico

Celebrations

Explore the ways Mexicans and Americans observe holidays throughout the year and learn how the common values and beliefs these countries share are reflected in their special days.

Purchase this bilingual book

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Somo un arco iris / We are a Rainbow

Rainbow “Are we as different as we might think? I say sol. You say sun. No matter how we say it, it is the same one.” Nancy Maria Grande Tabor, via a simple text and vivid art, establishes that children of two entirely different cultures are really quite similar. We Are a Rainbow helps young readers begin building the cultural bridges of common human understanding through simple comparisons of culture from breakfast foods to legends. Colorful cut-paper art and gentle language deliver this universal message eloquently.

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El gusto del mercado Mexicano / A Taste of the Mexican Market

Mexican Market

Let’s visit a Mexican market!

Along the way you can compare, weigh, count, and learn about culture and customs. From bunches of hanging bananas and braids of garlic to pyramids of melon and baskets of sweet cheese, this Mexican market is full of fun and surprises.

Colorful cut-paper art sets the scene for a creative way to build new vocabulary for beginning readers of Spanish or English.

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Laughing Tomatoes and Other Spring Poems/ Jitomatesrisueños y otros poemas de primavera

Laughing TomatoesFrom the imagination of poet Francisco X. Alarcón comes this playful and moving collection of twenty poems about spring in English and Spanish. Tomatoes laugh, chiles explode, and tortillas applaud the sun! With joy and tenderness, delight and sadness, Francisco’s poems honor the wonders of life and nature: welcoming the morning sun, remembering his grandmother’s songs, paying tribute to children working in the fields, and sharing his dream of a world filled with gardens. Artist Maya Christina Gonzalez invites us to experience the poems with her lively cast of characters—including a spirited grandmother, four vivacious children, and playful pets who tease and delight. Follow them from page to page as they bring the spring season to colorful life.

Purchase this bilingual book

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Ve lo que dices / See What You Say

See what you say

In this entertaining, bilingual exploration of language, children are introduced to a second language and get a glimpse of another culture. Ve lo que dices/See What You Say explores the ways two different cultures view their own languages through familiar idioms. Sometimes the words we use have a different meaning from what we say. For instance, if a person becomes hasty and does things out of order, in English we say he has put the cart before the horse. In Spanish he is starting to build the house at the roof. Although they mean the same thing, the literal sense of these phrases is quite different. In Ve lo que dices/See What You Say, these contrasting expressions become charming and vivid vignettes.

Nancy María Grande Tabor’s signature cut paper illustrations are remarkable in their three-dimensional quality and light-hearted presentation of some very off-the-wall phrases. Children and adults alike will have a great time guessing what idiom each illustration represents.

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Where Fireflies Dance / Ahí donde bailan las luciérnagas

where fireflies danceIn her first book for children, award-winning author Lucha Corpi remembers her childhood growing up in Jáltipan, Mexico, where the moon hung low and the fireflies flickered in the night air. In vivid and poetic detail, she recalls exploring with her brother the old haunted house of the legendary revolutionary Juan Sebastián, discovering the music that came from the jukebox at the local cantina, and getting caught by their mother for their mischievous adventures. Most of all, she remembers the ballads her father sang and the stories her grandmother told. In her stories, her grandmother passes on an important message about growing up—each person, like the revolutionary Juan Sebastián, has a destiny to follow.

Purchase this bilingual book

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Flag Quiz
Click here to test your knowledge of flags throughout Latin America, provided by WTXL ABC 27 in Tallahassee, Fla. Bet you’ll beat Laura!

Fun Facts
For some interesting statistics on the Hispanic population in America, click here.  Test your knowledge and learn more too!

Activities in Chicago
For events occurring throughout Hispanic Heritage Month in Chicago, check out ABC 7 Chicago’s The Ñ Beat with Theresa Gutierrez. Click here for more information.

Activities in South Georgia
Valdosta State University will host several events throughout month.  See the list here–hope to see you there!

We hope you’ve enjoyed this posting and are excited as we are to check out some of these events.  Feel free to share more!

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25. Book Review: Prisoner in Alcatraz by Theresa Breslin


prisoner in alcatrazTheresa Breslin wrote this book based on real experiences from when a group of prisoners attempted to break out of Alcatraz in the late 1940s. The story is told from the point of view of Marty King, a young, simple man who wants to grow tomatoes in the warm sun of Mexico and somehow manages to get into bad situations that ultimately land him in Alcatraz. Because he is small, some other prisoners convince him (as if he really had a choice) to help prepare for a break out by crawling through an air vent and making an imprint of a key on a bar of soap. Without ruining the story, Marty shares his insights into the legendary prisoners at Alcatraz and his own life.

The first element that stuck out to me was Breslin’s use of structure in this story. We first meet Marty after he’s in Alcatraz and subsequently learn how he grew up with his Ma in Chicago and, in between, how he gets bullied into the escape party and how he got into Alcatraz to begin with. The next element Breslin exceeds it that her use of voice. We can picture Marty as he speaks, through the way he speaks, as well as Marty’s cohorts and fellow prisoners. We sense who they are simply through their dialogue. Because of these two elements, Breslin presents an entertaining and highly impactful story in slightly more than 80 pages.

Now this book is not bilingual and we do not carry it at bububooks (yet). However, we wanted to share it with you because not only is Theresa Breslin an amazing author, but also because the publisher of this particular book is special to us. They are known as Barrington Stoke and are located in Great Britain. Barrington Stoke uses its own font and paper that are designed to help dyslexic people read. The font, with its “a”s and “g”s shaped more like how we write them rather than type them, is also useful to English Language Learners who may need to reconcile the difference between handwritten English letters and typed English letters. Further, Barrington Stoke uses readers as consultants on titles before they’re published. If you’re interested in becoming a consultant, email them at [email protected] or visit www.barringtonstoke.co.uk.

For more information on Theresa Breslin and her work, please visit: http://www.theresabreslin.co.uk/

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