Mayra and I are so excited to finally have this project come to fruition. We hope that with this book, you as a teacher, feel better able to provide your students with practice in areas of literacy that are essential for beginning Spanish readers.
Many people have asked what prompted us to start creating materials for bilingual/dual classrooms. For me, I can tell you that it is an embarrassing story to recount. I was hired on as a first time teacher in the mid-1990s. As a quick history lesson here, I was hired pre ESEA (Every Student Succeeds Act signed in 2015) and pre NCLB Act (No Child Left Behind Act signed in 2002). This means that accountability for the successful education of ELs (English Learners) was at a minimum and there were no standards such as WIDA (World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment) or ELPA-21 (English Language Proficiency Assessment for the 21st Century) which states could choose to adopt and implement.
When my district chose to implement a Transitional Bilingual Education program I did not receive any training on Spanish literacy. It was a common assumption that simply because I spoke Spanish, I would be able to teach Reading and Writing in Spanish. I tried to teach my first graders how to read using Spanish vocabulary and English Literacy pedagogy.
SPANISH VS ENGLISH LITERACY
Instead of using my student’s natural linguistics strengths in syllable formation and recall, I tried teaching my students individual letter sounds like we do in English. It wasn’t until we hired Mayra on as a bilingual teacher the following year that I learned about the differences between English and Spanish literacy development. MA ME MI MO MU! I had unknowingly done a disservice to my students and didn’t want other teachers making the same mistake. So that is when the inspiration to create READ products began!