My students need 47 world language dictionaries and language learning books in their school library in order to better accommodate the spectrum of languages students speak, and those they want to learn.
We have students from just about everywhere on the planet, Mexico, China, Iran, Somalia, India, the Philippines, Haiti. The list goes on. Our district has become the new home of thousands of immigrant families from around the world; this is reflected in our high immigrant population within our school.
Our school is a microcosm of the world.
English might be the common language for learning, but for many of our students English is their second, third or even fourth language to master. For this reason, we take language learning and understanding very seriously. In addition, our students are encouraged to take pride in, and continue to study their home language(s). Bilingualism is quickly becoming the norm with students conversing casually in two or more languages.
Because students at our school either speak a first language other than English, or are learning a second, or third language to meet state or college requirements, there is always a high demand for translation dictionaries and supplemental language materials at our library. Unfortunately, when I arrived last year I discovered most of our language dictionaries were either archaic and out of touch with the living languages in the world today, or non-existent. No Arabic language dictionaries or study guides? No Chinese or Japanese? Out-dated French and German dictionaries? This needs to change!
Learning another language isn't just about words and grammar; it's also about learning about culture, traditions, a people.
Having a good number of world language dictionaries and study books is a healthy start. Our library will benefit tremendously from materials that help students understand Hindi, Haitian-Creole or Cambodian as well as the "standard" dictionaries and materials for Spanish, French and German. And for our immigrant populations, having these supporting materials can help them with English acquisition.
We need 47 world language dictionaries and language learning books in their school library in order to better accommodate the spectrum of languages students speak, and those they want to learn.
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