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CCSD59 Dual Language Program Gets a Holiday Gift

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There is no such thing as a child who hates to read; there are only children who have not found the right book.
—Frank Serafini

In December, the first-ever CCSD59 Spanish Dual Language Teacher Book Fair was hosted at the administration center. Eighty CCSD59 teachers involved with the Spanish Dual Language program were each able to select thirty new books in Spanish for their classroom libraries. The cost of the books was entirely funded by a Title III grant CCSD59 receives.

The initiative started mainly from feedback received by Spanish Dual Language teachers that their Spanish classroom libraries were limited, and they wanted books that were more reflective of work the district is focusing on in Literacy Learning Experiences. Beginning over the summer, a team of Dual Language teachers worked together to select authentic Spanish books from various vendors. The teachers started purchasing the books over the summer, continued through the beginning of the school year, and just finished in November.

“We strived for selecting books that most teachers don’t already have in their classrooms and made sure that the books were from various levels and genres,” said Griselda Pirtle, director of English Language Learners at CCSD59.

“We talk about literacy, books, and the importance of reading on a daily basis,” said Bavarro. “Being able to give a kid a book, in Spanish no less, and send them off to engage with it is just about the best gift a literacy teacher can get, and then in turn, give.”

To make the experience even better for the teachers, the book fair had a holiday-themed, festive flair. Paper footprints taped to the floor led the way to the event. Colorful festive balloons, decorated gift boxes to hold the books, a “bonus raffle” that gifted teachers an extra book for their classrooms, and colorful treats to enjoy as the teachers browsed the vast book selections made the experience special.

Deanna Bavarro, dual language teacher at Grove Junior High, said she is thrilled to expand her classroom library with the new books. “One of the biggest struggles as a Dual Language teacher is finding quality materials in Spanish that are appropriate for classroom use,” she said. “Finding even just one good book can take hours. Having the opportunity to choose thirty books from a collection that has already been marked with a stamp of approval is amazing!”

The event was a huge success, with teachers smiling, singing along to the music, and leaving with their large box full of books. Many said the best part of the experience will definitely be bringing them back to the classroom.

“We talk about literacy, books, and the importance of reading on a daily basis,” said Bavarro. “Being able to give a kid a book, in Spanish no less, and send them off to engage with it is just about the best gift a literacy teacher can get, and then in turn, give.”

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