Our BEAR Bags, funded by the Belk Foundation, provide our students with one-on-one exposure to model English and reading both at school and at home. The BEAR bags help to address both our desire to impart early literacy skills and improve students’ exposure to the English language.
Each BEAR Bag includes: an MP3 player holding five recorded books, one set of headphones, five sight word lists (each corresponding with one of the read alouds) and five physical copies of corresponding books to follow along. The recorded stories are introduced and read aloud by Winterfield Elementary’ s very own staff. After reading a text aloud, the recording will guide the listener in literacy reflections and comprehension questions.
It is crucial in language learning to have exposure to accurate pronunciation and use of English. In high ELL population classrooms, at times the only model English speaker is the teacher. It is encouraged constantly that students are read to at home, but a common circumstance our school faces is that families do not speak English, the family is unable to read, or there are no books in the home. The homes’ lack of language can greatly contribute to the diminished academic support and the students’ limited exposure to exemplar language.
We were joined by Anne Banks, Education Coordinator, from Refugee Support Services. She spoke with our families about the services her organization provides and we look forward to expanding our relationship with this amazing organization and powerful resource to expand our support for our families.
We are so grateful and privileged to have such a unique population at Winterfield. Being in the room with Spanish, Nepali, Arabic, & Burmese translations all happening at once is a moment few of us will forget.
“There’s a Tibetan saying: ‘Wherever you have friends that’s your country,
and wherever you receive love, that’s your home.”
– Dalai Lama, The Book of Joy