Second grade Connaught School student Charvi loves her school’s library. “Books, books, books, books, books!” she squeals. “It has all the books!”
Connaught School has an 83 per cent ELL (English Language Learner) student population, and finding books that are engaging for students while appropriately supporting their learning needs can be challenging. Dual Language books are a great way to support learning both at school and at home, but are expensive and hard to come by. Thanks to an EducationMatters grant, Connaught School has been able to add 80 dual language books to their library.
“Some of our ELL students are very capable in multiple languages and some students have limited literacy in their native language,” says Connaught’s Vice Principal, Allison Bobenic.
While the ELL students are at school using English all day, their parents may not have the same opportunities to develop their English skills. Students can take the dual language books home to share with their families and help develop their parents’ native language literacy and English skills.
“The books help you learn new things,” says grade two student Rosie, who speaks English, Thai and a bit of Mandarin. “If it’s in your language then you can read them either way!”
The dual language books can also serve to keep the students connected with their heritage. “Arabic is not my main language anymore, but I can still read it with my family at home,” says second grade student AlMamoon.
As for Charvi, who speaks English, Hindi, Gujarati and is learning French, she says she’s looking forward to getting a chance to read those books; “I love different languages!”