A new program has launched in the Midlands to help Latinx parents and children engage in literacy together. The Greater Columbia Community Relations Council (CRC) started the 6-week Bilingual Family Reading Program on May 10th to provide valuable support for families in need of developing reading and language skills.
The CRC has contracted with Celina-Maria Espinosa a doctoral student in the Language and Literacy Program at USC to lead the bilingual learning sessions. During the first session, she read the picture book “North and South/Del Norte Al Sur” out loud to families. She then had them discuss the book. The book is written in both English and Spanish and tells a story of a son who misses his mother who was deported. To promote communication skills, the participants are encouraged to share stories of difficult situations they have faced.
Dr. Eurydice Bauer, a CRC board member, professor, and director of the Bilingualism Matters Program at USC said that “the program is a partnership between the CRC and Richland Library to show families how exciting it can be to engage with texts.” She went on to say “we want to send a message that engaging with texts is fun, not just something required for school. We are all products of different stories, and we sometimes forget that.”
The CRC program is unique in this area because it focuses on both the parents and the child in a learning environment. The program addresses all elements of language arts. According to the coordinator, Ms. Espinosa, individuals often think of literacy as the ability to read and write, but it also includes speaking and listening.
The bilingual family reading program creates a space where families are not only engaging with literacy but being immersed in the ways that literacy is already a part of their lives. This program continues the connection between language and family.
The project is funded in part by a grant from Richland County’s Community Impact Fund. The Greater Columbia Community Relations Council plans to continue the program with additional funding in the future. For more information, contact Larry Salley at the CRC at (803) 733-1134 or visit the website at greatercolacrc.org.
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