GRANT #403:

I’ll Read to You, You Read to Me

06/15/2020
Language Barriers Keeping People From Reading To Their Kids? Awesome Solution.

What languages were spoken in your home when you were a child?

Some of us heard many, others only one.

Kimberly Pirro-Robinson teaches literacy in West Hartford, Connecticut, working with small groups of children in grades K-5. The students are allowed to check out two books a week from the school library, and Kimberly encourages parents to read these books to their children. She discovered there were plenty of parents who can read – in Portuguese, the second most common home language among her students. The library has some books in Spanish (number one), Korean, Chinese, and Vietnamese.

Our AWB grant will let this dedicated educator go book shopping so her students can find plenty of books in their home languages that make them feel valued, respected, and seen. Kimberly wants all her students to experience the benefits of having books read to them, so when she has the inventory, she’ll kick off “I’ll Read To You, You Read To Me.” The idea? Children check out one book in English, which they’ll read aloud to the adult, and one book in their home language, so the person at home can read to them.

It’s one small program in one small state, and wherever you are, your community could use some similar support in expanding the languages represented. So ask, and help. Nobody knows yet how school libraries are going to operate when they reopen after the pandemic, but we agree with Kimberly that even in times of social distance, sharing a book is a good way for people to feel closer.