YCL, Cornerstones Co-Host Bilingual Story Time

Nakita Maddox of Yankton’s Cornerstones displays the bilingual story book, “Mouse Paint/Pintura De Raton.”

A bilingual story time event at the library reaches out to both parents and kids.

The bilingual story-time event is set for Monday, Sept. 23 at 6 p.m. at the Yankton Community Library (YCL) in recognition of National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week.

The free event is the result of a collaboration between YCL and Cornerstones Career Learning Center and open to all families and children. It will feature two story tellers reading, singing and doing finger plays by turns as they read — one in English, one in Spanish —from a bilingual book. There will be a related art activity and each child will receive a copy of the book to take home.

Cornerstones specializes in adult education and employment training services, including English language and General Education Diploma (GED) classes, fee-based computer classes and work-ethic classes.

"We received a grant from the Statewide Family Engagement Center (SFEC) to do some kind of family literacy activity, and since our largest classes are English language classes, we thought that would be a fun direction to take it," said Nakita Maddox, program coordinator for Yankton’s Cornerstones. "Right now, we have a morning class and an evening class where we teach English to adults, and we just started two classes over at Cimpl Packing Co. in their training trailer."

The idea behind the bilingual story time is to give families who are learning English the opportunity to get out into the community and do something they could enjoy and participate in together, Maddox said.

"Since we serve so many students who are Spanish-speaking students, we thought a bilingual story time would be a cool activity," she said. "’Maybe I’m not fluent in English and maybe my kids go to school and they’re learning English, but we can go to the library and we can get a book that we can both read together.’"

Maddox reached out to Amanda Raiche, YCL Youth Services Librarian and resident story reader, with the idea of turning one of the library’s regular story-time sessions into a bilingual story time with Cornerstones providing the reader for the Spanish version of the book and the Spanish songs.

"This was a perfect opportunity. Cornerstones brings to the table a Spanish speaker that can participate with us, so we can have both options, because that was always the portion that we needed to make sure we added," Raiche said. "It was really good timing and it sort of pushed us to get it on the calendar and provided some great funding to provide some books and other things throughout the story time."

Feedback so far has been positive, both women said.

"Everything in Yankton is in English, most of our print material is only in English, so I think a lot of people think it’s neat that you are starting to see things available in more than one language," Maddox said. "Connecting Cultures did an event with Music at the Meridian, there was a Market at the Meridian event that incorporated Hispanic food and I think those things have been responded to very well."

The library has a bilingual section with many Spanish-English books and a Spanish section that includes sections for adults, juniors, young adults (YA), child readers and picture books.

"Last calendar year, every month I made sure I added to the children’s, junior and YA in the Spanish or the Spanish-English bilingual, just to get some new titles in there — even just a handful each month," Raiche said. "We want to make sure that families that we aren’t reaching as regularly feel like there are things here for them, that they are welcome and that there are resources here that they could use."

Bilingual story time seemed like a good opportunity to reach out specifically to the Spanish speakers in community at this time, she said.

Both Maddox and Raiche agree that they would like to do more events like this one.

"Once we have the structure down, I think it would be easy to repeat," Maddox said. "All we have to do is find the book and a reader. If there’s a demand for it in the community, we’d be willing to help out with readers."

Feedback from the community will be a deciding factor as to whether or not another bilingual event will materialize, Raiche said.

Individuals with comments are encouraged to drop by the library and talk to a staff member.


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