Dr. King ‘Lending Library’ Helps ENL Students Improve Literacy

     Published on 3/13/17   Tagged under:    District News    Academics    Dr King Elementary School   

With 91 Dr. King students – about 20 percent of the student body – receiving English as a New Language (ENL) services, ENL teacher Julia Schooler knew there was a need to make a home-school connection to help these students improve their English proficiency.
As the result of a grant funded by the SCSD Educational Foundation, Ms. Schooler was able to purchase a collection of books specifically for this group of ENL students. While the school library allows students to check out books for classroom use, Ms. Schooler’s lending library lets ENL students check out books to bring home.
“My favorite part of the lending library is reading books,” fifth grader Ramazani Hassan said. “Reading helps me pronounce words correctly and learn more words and their meanings.”
Classmate Abdi Adan said his favorite thing about the library is being able to read at home. “It feels good to bring books home, because when you’re done with your homework, you can read!” he said.
“Bringing the books home lets me read to my little sister, who is two,” Isha Musa added. “It helps me become a better reader, pronounce words I don’t know and use my imagination!”
Ms. Schooler pointed out that the books in the lending library are high-low books: books of high interest to the school’s older students but targeted at students with a lower reading level. Think of a Goosebumps or Diary of a Wimpy Kid book, but with larger print and easier words. The library is full of step into reading books, as well as several series of phonic books that focus on vocabulary and what words mean -- each book even focuses on a select group of sounds (for instance, aw, awe, al, au, ough) to help boost familiarity.
Thanks to a Schramm grant that fellow ENL teacher Staci Schaffer received, the lending library also received some new additions: bilingual books targeted at the whole family! Books in Somali, Swahili, Arabic, Nepali and Spanish are also available to students to check out. Each month, when the ENL teachers host Family Hour events, families are able to check out books that will allow them to read with their children at home while also maintaining their home language and improving their own English!
“I’m really proud of these kids,” Ms. Schaffer said. “They’re really running this library independently! They’ll be able to help train their younger siblings and families as we expand and add new bilingual books.”
Students each have their own canvas tote bag to bring the books home, and they have even learned to use a computer to check their books in and out on their own. Thank you to Ms. Schooler and Ms. Schaffer for finding such a fun way to help ENL students learn! This is one of 20 projects funded by the SCSD Educational Foundation in 14 schools this year, totaling $53,000. Thank you for the continued support!