With the rise of technology our world is becoming increasingly smaller; today’s students are truly global citizens, and having an understanding and appreciation of different cultures is enormously beneficial. Bilingual programming is one way to help prepare students for a wealth of opportunities post-graduation, and Calgary Board of Education (CBE) schools have an ever-increasing range of additional language options.

Midnapore School’s Mandarin Bilingual Program is one of the CBE programs providing students with the opportunity to master an additional language during their time in full time education. Instruction is given in both English and Mandarin to help students develop fluency through their daily classes and routines.

To support the program, Midnapore School received an EducationMatters grant to purchase 50 new books to supplement their school library. The books specialize in encouraging language learning through guided reading and have been shown to improve word recognition, fluency and comprehension throughout a range of grade levels. As the students grasp of the language increases, the complexity of the books do too. It allows students to advance at their pace and be appropriately challenged at each stage of fluency.

Some books purchased were ‘Meimei the Panda’ series and ‘It’s My Book series.’ Books were chosen with Midnapore’s students in mind and include stories relevant to their daily lives to help provide the greatest range of useful vocabulary for the more than 200 students working to learn Mandarin.

“I read my book with my little brother all the time. He’s in grade one right now, but he’s learning so much from me,” says a Grade 4 student from Midnapore School.

As with all additional languages, learning Mandarin provides a lot of benefits for students. They develop their self-esteem by having a usable skill they worked so hard to improve, increase future employment prospects, and develop an understanding of another culture.

“More books for my son to choose from will only deepen his love of reading and now in both languages. Thank you so much for adding this to our program,” says Susan Lam, a parent of a student from the school.