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World Language Storytimes: Supporting Literacy Development for ELL Students. Presenters: Marcela S ánchez and Bernie Farrell, Hennepin County Library.

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world language storytimes supporting literacy development for ell students

World Language Storytimes: Supporting Literacy Development for ELL Students

Presenters: Marcela Sánchez and Bernie Farrell, Hennepin County Library


Sponsored by the Library Foundation of Hennepin County, the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association.

Content Adapted From:

Content based on research conducted by Lillian Duran, Ph.D., Mankato State University, and Angèle Sancho Passe, BlueWater Associates

Link to presentations: and scroll down to Recent Staff Presentations

it s all about parents
It’s all about parents!
  • Let parents know the first step is taken because they are participating in their child’s school experience
  • No matter their level of education, parents are the most important people in their children’s lives and they play and important role in helping them get ready for school.
raising readers
Raising Readers

What can teachers and media specialists do to help ELL families raise children who are ready to read?

why not just learn to read at school
Why not just learn to read at school?
  • Parents’ experiences and education might be very different from yours
  • They might think that learning to read is something done only at school with teachers who are the experts
explain early literacy
Explain “early literacy”
  • Early literacy is what children know about reading and writing before they can actually read or write.
  • What does that mean?
how can parents help
How can parents help?
  • Talking with their children
  • Answering children’s questions
  • Reading together
but i don t read english that well
But I don’t read English that well!
  • Read in the languageyou know best
  • Keep learning English
  • Being fully bilingualis a great advantage
  • Many people will teach your child English, but no one else will teach her your language
what if i m not good reader
What if I’m not good reader?
  • Tell stories!
  • Oral storytelling keeps culture alive and helps your child get ready to read

Photo by Rafael Peñaloza

in english or my language
In English or my language?
  • Maintaining strong home language skills will allow youto communicate affection, discipline and teach cultural values.
  • Reading and talking in your home language gives status to your language and culture.
supporting reading
Supporting Reading
  • Researchers recommend that parents read with their children in their home language.
  • Reading in the homelanguage connectsreading to love, caringand family. It builds achild’s self-esteem andstrengthens families.
more reasons to value multilingualism
More reasons to value multilingualism!
  • In the global economy, there is a great demand forbilingualandbiculturalworkers
  • Being fully bilingual means maintaining vocabulary and understanding the grammarand structure of more than one language
  • Children need to continue to develop their home language to develop this level of bilingualism
six essential early literacy skills
Six essentialearly literacy skills
  • Print motivation
  • Vocabulary
  • Print awareness
  • Narrative skills
  • Phonological awareness
  • Letter knowledge
print motivation
Print Motivation
  • Children’s interest in and enjoyment of books.
  • Let your child pick bookshe or she likes.
  • Let your child see you read.
  • Understanding words and concepts in your language helps children translate that knowledge to English when they start school.
  • Example: abajo/arriba, up/down
  • In any language, day-to-day vocabulary is limited and children need to be exposed to more formal language which can be found in books and oral storytelling.
print awareness
Print Awareness
  • Point out letters everywhere –not just in books.
  • Have books in your home.
  • Let your child see you reading.
  • Holding and touching books helpsa child feel comfortable so he orshe can concentrate on reading.
  • Make books together
narrative skills
Narrative Skills
  • The ability to describe things and events, and to tell stories.
  • It will help children understand what they read.
  • Have your child tell you a familiar story just by looking at the pictures.
phonological awareness
Phonological Awareness

The ability to hear and play with the smaller sounds in words.

It will help children sound out words as they begin to read.

letter knowledge
Letter Knowledge
  • Knowing that letters are different from each other, and that they have different names and sounds helps children understand that words are made of smaller parts.
letter knowledge21
Letter Knowledge
  • Start with the sounds of the letters in the child’s name.
  • Choose what each childis interested in. Doesshe like dinosaurs?Start with the letter “d”.
reading is a conversation
Reading is a conversation
  • Having a conversation while reading means that you are encouraging your children to take an active part in the story
how do you do it
How do you do it?
  • Ask “what” questions
  • Follow answers with more questions
  • Ask open-ended questions
  • Expand on what the children say
be an innovator in your community
Be an innovator in your community!
  • The library is uniquely positioned to assist non-English speaking families with preparing their children for school, emphasizing the importance of home language in early literacy development.
  • Take advantage of the possibilities!
what is the role of storytime
What is the role of storytime?
  • Demonstrate to parents and caregivers how to effectively share language with their children.
  • Support families as they help their children with early reading success through home language usage.
step 1 know your neighborhood
Step 1:Know your neighborhood
  • Find organizations, however informal
  • Meet community leaders
step 2 finding a partner
Step 2: Finding a partner
  • Find the program leader, someone who is a native speaker, either paid or a dedicated volunteer.
step 2 finding a partner34
Step 2: Finding a partner
  • The librarian works closely with the community partner to train them in early literacy development, including the importance of native language programs.
  • The librarian is the expert on early literacy, storytime procedures, and resources available.
  • The community partner is the expert in the way language is shared with young children in that culture.
step 3 preparing for storytime
Step 3:Preparing for storytime
  • Start small
  • Leave your comfort zone
  • Plan and practice with your community partner
step 3 preparing for storytime36
Step 3: Preparing for storytime
  • In many cultures, reading is not done “for fun,” but more for gathering information. Use nonfiction books as part of the storytime. Explain the “fun” component of storytime.
  • In many cultures libraries are either non-existent or a resource for academic use only. Families may not be familiar with the “public library” concept and services, especially services for young children.
step 4 introducing the storytime
Step 4: Introducing the storytime
  • Give clear guidelines about how the storytime is set up and the goals.
  • Include culturally traditional stories or songs, not just translations.
step 4 introducing the storytime38
Step 4: Introducing the storytime
  • Parents and caregivers may need to be encouraged to participate and need an explanation about why their participation is so important.
step 5 doing the storytime
Step 5: Doing the storytime
  • NATIVE LANGUAGE AUDIENCE: Entire story, dialogue, and follow-up activities will be presented by the native-speaking partner in the target language, including early literacy tips.
  • The librarian may use some English to welcome families, introduce storytime, describe library resources or events and to coach the native-speaking partner.
  • Special efforts should be made to thoroughly explain library services and resources, for both adults and children.
step 5 doing the storytime40
Step 5: Doing the storytime
  • IMMERSION AUDIENCE: Librarian will lead the discussion, and the native-speaking partner will read the stories and lead songs and other activities.
  • Dual language education indicates that children learn two languages best when they are kept separate.
  • Read book entirely in target language and then discuss book in English.
  • In a sentence or two, introduce the book in English. Then have the native-speaking partner read the book entirely in target language.
step 5 doing the storytime41
Step 5: Doing the storytime
  • Use books with more literal themes
  • Themed storytimes may work well for highlighting new vocabulary words and allowing families to continue conversations at home.