Hollie Ivey, Staff Writer
On Tuesday, the Children’s Corner at the Houston Cole Library offered “Había una vez – Stories in Spanish,” which featured special videos and books read in both Spanish and English.
“This is a place where the kids can celebrate knowing two languages and can read books in Spanish,” said librarian Laurie Heathcock, who organized the event. “This is our first time doing the story time program, but we are going to try and do [the bilingual night] every month”
The Children’s Corner, which was established last year, hopes to promote and encourage cultural education and literacy within the youth community of Jacksonville and surrounding areas.
Spanish major and Child Development minor Kristen Gentry read two books to the children in attendance, including “Mis Colores, Mi Mundo” and “¿Qué puedes hacer con una paleta?” (“My Colors, My World” and “What Can You Do with a Paleta?”)
Gentry studied Spanish at The University of Salamanca in Spain and wants to use her proficiency in the Spanish language to help others.
“Parents at home who don’t know English very well can’t help their children like they want to, and it can be hard on daycare workers, but having someone who is bilingual or having a bilingual daycare can help prevent the children from starting school and being behind in class,” Gentry said.
Multiple studies show that there are significant benefits for children who grow up bilingual or are exposed to a second language.
Research published in Psychological Science shows children in multilingual households and children exposed to a second language communicate more efficiently from discerning between different social and speech patterns.
Bilingual children also excel in problem-solving skills and are better able to filter out distractions, according to a study by Strathclyde University.
Feliza Camarillo, a Spanish major, agrees. “I think it is very important, having a bilingual mind. Your mind works a lot faster than a monolingual person, you can deal with things a lot faster, and it is easier to communicate with people.”
The Children’s Corner will next host JSU music professor Dr. James Woodward on March 27. Woodward, musician and author, will be reading his book “When Rebecca Woogie Came to Town.” Children will have the opportunity to play instruments alongside the reading.
Read this article in Spanish here!
*Hollie Ivey is a senior majoring in Public Relations with a minor in Spanish. She will be graduating in May 2018. Dr. Eduardo Pacheco, an associate professor of Spanish at JSU, kindly proofed the Spanish translation of this article before it was printed.*