Our school's preK to grade 5 students come from one of the most disadvantaged school districts in New York City, and one of the poorest congressional districts in the country.
Our students arrive in the morning hungry for breakfast and then, once fed, full of curiosity and ready for learning.
Nearly all receive free lunch in the afternoon. Many remain after dismissal for after-school programs. The grown ups are committed to teaching, and to learning - from our students and professionally, from each other. While only sixteen percent of the students are officially classified as English language learners with ELL services, many more are from Spanish-speaking homes with the vast majority of students identifying as Latino.
I write some generalizations to describe our students, yet of course every child is so individual. Each has their own preferences and experiences, but each eager to experience, connect, and learn.
Our prekindergarten students become immersed in the world of fiction and nonfiction literature through read alouds, listening centers, dramatic play and song. As the school library teacher, I help to introduce the preK students to the world of literacy and to our library, which lacks the list of books I am requesting. This list contains the recommended Spanish-language titles from our city's preK curriculum Units 1 - 5.
Our youngest and newest preK dual language students need books in their own home language in order to flourish as future readers and writers.
Studies show that literacy in the home language translates to literacy in the new language. If we receive these books, our prekindergarten English language learners - indeed, also our older kindergarten ELLs - will be able to gain literacy skills in their native language they can transfer to English. These books will specifically benefit the dual language prekindergarten class of 18 students but also be shared across prekindergarten (54 students total) and with the ELLs in Kindergarten (approximately 30 more students).
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