A place to share books, music, techniques, and all things related to bilingual storytime!

Friday, March 14, 2008

What is bilingual programming?

There are many ways to offer bilingual programs to children. Some libraries, such as the Kenton County library in Kentucky, offer bilingual storytimes using a tandem format. In this method, a programmer partners with a Spanish speaking customer or educator to provide stories in English and Spanish. They may alternate in various ways, such as reading each page first in one language and then the other. This is a great option for non-Spanish speaking programmers who serve Spanish speaking children and families. If a dedicated partner is available, such a program can be offered on a regular basis. This is also an option for large programs around holidays (such as El día de los niños). Inviting a parent to participate in such a program is a way to really involve your Spanish speaking customers in the library.

Because I speak
English and Spanish, I am able to provide bilingual family storytimes solo. I use a variety of storytelling techniques in order to reinforce vocabulary in both languages. For example, I may share a draw-n-tell story mostly in English, interjecting key Spanish words which are reinforced by the drawing, repeated throughout the story, etc. Flannels also work well for reinforcing vocabulary, and are an option for stories you want to share but do not have available in a Spanish or bilingual book. I will vary the dominant language of the storytime based on the language ability of the group in attendance. However, the books and songs we use each week are always either bilingual or in Spanish.

Though speaking Spanish clearly makes it easier to offer bilingual programs, I really encourage non-Spanish speaking programmers who work with Spanish speaking families, or have large numbers of Spanish speaking residents in their service areas, to give Spanish a try in storytime. Books by Susan Middleton Elya and Ginger Foglesong Guy make it really easy; just check the pronunciation of the Spanish words ahead of time!

Do you work in a library that offers bilingual programs? How do you do it?

Saturday, March 1, 2008

General Guidelines of the Blog

Seems like a necessary measure to elaborate on what is expected and what I plan to provide in this blog. Here goes:
  1. In this blog, I plan to share great books and music I come across for bilingual storytimes, storytelling techniques which work well in a bilingual format, and anything else that seems useful to share with others offering bilingual storytimes in their libraries.
  2. This blog is intended to be used by anyone working to cultivate a love of reading and an appreciation of language in children. I offer a library perspective, but I welcome the thoughts and experiences of teachers, parents, and others working with bilingual children as well.
  3. I do not have many colleagues providing bilingual storytimes near me in Columbus, OH, so I welcome comments and feedback from colleagues in other locations. This blog will work best if it is collaborative in nature, so please share your thoughts!
Thanks for stopping by the blog...my hope is that it will be a useful tool!

¡Hola compañeros!

Hello world! I'm setting up this blog to share tips, tricks and interesting stories as I learn from my work providing bilingual (Spanish/English) storytimes for families at Columbus Metropolitan Library. Bilingual storytimes are a great way to show your Spanish speaking community that there are library staff available to help in their language! Non-Spanish speakers can also incorporate bilingual techniques in order to add cultural diversity to their programs and create a welcoming environment for their Spanish speaking customers. It is my hope that this blog will be a collaborative space to gain and share ideas related to bilingual programming and general service to Spanish speaking children and their families in the library.
In this first post, I'm including a list of links to sites which have valuable information for planning bilingual storytimes, as well as libraries which are offering unique or interesting services to their Spanish speakers.
  • I attended one of the Spanish Language Outreach trainings offered by Webjunction in spring 2007. I highly recommend it! Their website is incredibily useful for any staff who work with Spanish speakers, or who have Spanish speakers in their community. Find signage, archived webinars, case studies of libraries around the country, and all the materials provided in their training by clicking their link.
  • REFORMA is the National Association for Library Services to Latinos and the Spanish speaking. A lot of great information related to serving Spanish speakers in general can be found at their website. The listserv is a great source of current information. REFORMA members have also been very helpful as I've had programming questions.
  • The Village branch of the Lexington Public Library has a completely bilingual staff with a variety of cool services, including bilingual storytime, homework help, and the bilingual café!