Frazer Students Share Native Culture through Bilingual Storybooks
Published on 4/5/21
District News Frazer K-8 School
Frazer English as a New Language (ENL) teachers Nicole Tabolt and Kendra Powell were on a mission to help provide their students who are learning English with extra tools to help them succeed.
Thanks to two grants funded by the SCSD Educational Foundation, they were able to do just that. The grant funding enabled them to order visual/picture bilingual dictionaries to meet the needs of almost all the students in the school: with some in Dinka, Somali, Spanish, Arabic, Swahili, Karen, Vietnamese, Nepali, Ikinyarwanda, French, Farsi and Burmese! They were also able to purchase 11 iPads, which will be loaded with apps to help with translation and language acquisition skills, allowing the school’s English Language Learners (ELLs) to research, read and view stories in their native language and from their homelands.
To help students put these new resources to work, the teachers assigned a bilingual cultural storybook project where students listened to stories from their home country and rewrote them in English and their home language, then illustrated hard cover books that they shared with the class. The stories, all fables or fairytales, included morals like being yourself and not being afraid of what you don’t know. In third and fourth grade alone, students presented 17 different stories in 9 languages!
“A lot of students were very proud of their stories,” Ms. Powell explained. “Part of this project involved students recording themselves reading the stories, and everyone was excited to share their stories in English or their home languages. It helped build their confidence about speaking in a second or third language and allowed others to experience their culture or language.”
In addition to the storybook project, Ms. Powell also received an additional Educational Foundation grant to purchase 20 C Pens, text-to-speech reading pens. All entering and emerging English Language Learners in third and fourth grade received one to keep in the classroom with them, using them to help read shorter story books, scan unfamiliar vocabulary or read directions.
Thanks to these creative teachers and the SCSD Educational Foundation for helping to make learning a new language fun!