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Monday, January 31, 2011

The National Imperative for Language Learning

Are you aware that "International business leaders are warning that American graduates may be technically competent but are increasingly culturally deprived and linguistically illiterate compared with graduates from other countries competing for the same jobs"?

Today, by way of The Center for Applied Second Language Study, I was directed to an excellent article in Education Week, "The National Imperative for Language Learning."  You can click there to see the whole article, but what impressed me most was how rare it is to hear people within the U.S. recognize that our supposed linguistic dominance (i.e. English becoming the world language), is actually depriving our children of opportunities.

Whatever your opinions are on learning languages, I hope you would consider reading this article.  It makes a good case for the need to continue promoting multi-lingualism here in the U.S.  And at a time when language programs are being cut left and right due to budget limitations, it's important to make your opinions known if you value language education for your child.

Any thoughts?

Monday, January 3, 2011

4 Reasons Why Every Child in the U.S. Should Speak Spanish

I was just introduced to a great blog--Spanglish Baby through an article sent to me by a local bilingual parenting program.  Entitled, 4 Reasons Why Every Child in the U.S. Should Speak Spanish.  Now as a Spanish teacher, I am always thrilled when someone else tries to encourage people to learn Spanish, and it's also great because in the article, they refer to the trend of learning Chinese as the next up and coming world language.  But I love how the authors say that "Chinese makes a great addition to Spanish, but not a substitute."  Imagine that--learning more than two languages!  I love it!  My other favorite quote was, "I really hope there comes a day when it will be absurd to write a post listing reasons, as if convincing people, about the need to learn Spanish at an early age.  I know that if you are reading this you probably have more personal reasons–such as heritage, family connections, academic benefits, etc–to teach your child Spanish."

Check out the article to find out their top 4 reasons for learning Spanish--and share it with a friend or two or three!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

L.E.E.R. and Columbia College

Hola amigos/Hello friends,
Here is a link to an article written by one of my students (a Spanish and Communciation double major), Lea Stapleton, who completed a teaching internship with me last semester, and also an internship with L.E.E.R. through her major in Communication.  It was published in the Post Script, Columbia College's newspaper, and it explains a lot about L.E.E.R. and how we partner with CC students.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Our latest events

Since our inception in 2002, L.E.E.R. has undergone many different phases of development as the needs of the community have changed, and as our leadership has changed.  I would like to tell you about our most recent initiative--Bilingual Story Time.  This is a program that has grown out of a class I teach called Spanish in the Community.  Columbia College students work in a mutually beneficial tutoring relationship with pre-K ESL students at Arden Elementary School reading stories together in English and Spanish.  Out of this class grew our annual celebration of Día de los niños, día de los libros, or DIA (Diversity in Action) as we called it, which is a celebration of children, culture and books.  And our bilingual story time grew out of this event.

What is it?  Traveling bilingual storytime in Spanish and English--volunteers will come to classrooms, after-school programs, pre-schools, or libraries and share a story and a fun craft or activity with your students.

How do I book a story time?  Check out our website and send us an email with your information, requesting a bilingual story time.  We will work with your schedule as we have volunteer availability.  Easy as that!

How do I become a volunteer?  Visit the volunteer page on our website and send us an email with your contact information.  You will receive an application and then schedule an orientation and training session.

West Columbia/Cayce Library

Craft time after the story

North Main Library

North Main Library

Cane Creek Community Center--Día de los Muertos

Monday, March 22, 2010

DIA: A Celebration of Children, Culture and Literacy

Calling all Columbia area kids and their families!
Join us for DIA (Diversity in Action)—a free, fun-filled festival celebrating children and culture through books.  Enter the Storybook House or “Casa de Cuentos” for an afternoon of adventure. Your children will participate in interactive storytelling in English and Spanish, as well as dancing, music, crafts and food from many different cultures.

It will take place on April 24th from 1-4pm at the Keenan House in Columbia, SC (801 Wildwood Ave. Columbia, SC 29203). For more information on the event or if you would like to participate through song, dance, storytelling or crafts, contact Shelley Whipple at

Presented by:  Columbia College Division of Languages and Literatures, L.E.E.R. Family Outreach, Palmetto Luna and Maria Palito USA

Friday, March 5, 2010

DIA: Diversity In Action

A Columbia Event Celebrating Diversity, Literacy, and Bilingualism:
April 24th from 1-4pm at Keenan House in Columbia, SC.The Division of Modern Languages and Literatures of Columbia College, in collaboration with L.E.E.R. Family Outreach and the Palmetto Luna Association invite you to attend or participate in a celebration of diversity, literacy and bilingualism.

History of the event:

Día del niño is a holiday commonly celebrated in Mexico on April 30th. Acclaimed children’s author, Pat Mora fell in love with this idea in the mid nineties, and decided to link this holiday with literacy and promoted its celebration in the U.S. It is intended to note the importance of children and literacy in society and is aligned with the global holiday Children’s Day.

The Event:

In celebration of Día de los niños/Día de los libros, our event is called DIA, which stands for Diversity In Action. We will be celebrating the theme, “Casa de Cuentos.” The event is geared toward the families of elementary students and young children of all backgrounds, and it will involve bilingual storytelling in English and Spanish, dancing, music, food and crafts from many different cultures. We encourage you and your students to attend or participate in the event. Our focus is the Latino community, but we’d like to include everyone in the hopes of encouraging bilingualism, reading and education both within the Latino community, and the community at large.

For more information on the event or if you would like to participate, contact Shelley Whipple at

image via Pat Mora

Monday, August 24, 2009

Under Construction

Not only is our new website under construction, but so are we. We just had our first board meeting of the NEW Board of Directors, and I'm so excited about where we're headed. Stay tuned for more info about LEER.
Estamos construyendo nuestro sitio web, y también el programa. Acabamos de tener la primera reunión de la junta directiva nueva y estoy emocionante sobre el futuro.

Who Are We? / ¿Quién Somos?

We are currently working in partnership with the Columbia College Clubhouse. This is an after-school program working with students from Arden Elementary. We're focusing on the ESOL students who are learning English, as well as teaching Spanish to the other students, and helping them to discover the cultural richness each individual represents.
Trabajamos juntos con Columbia College Clubhouse. Es un programa pos-escolar que enseña estudiantes de Arden Elementary. Enfocamos en los estudiantes quienes aprenden ingles como segunda lengua, y enseñamos español a los otros estudiantes. Tratamos ayudarles a todos descubrir la riqueza de su propia cultura.