San Angelo ISD Bilingual Program Develops Students Dual Language Literacy Skills

To continue our celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, this week San Angelo ISD proudly provides a glimpse into our impactful Bilingual Program by featuring some of the engaging work in these special classrooms - Orgullo bilingue en SAISD! 

Our Bilingual Program is designed to provide Spanish-speaking students the opportunity to be English Proficient by the 3rd grade. The program builds knowledge and learning of academic subjects in a child's first language and English while instilling self-assurance, confidence and cultural pride. 

One area of focus is regular reading instruction in both the child’s first language and English.  Research shows that children who are read to in their native language will have an easier time learning to read in their second language. Bilingual Program teachers provide meaningful ways for students to develop literacy skills that are important to the success of all students, like recent activities by Glenmore Elementary first grade teacher Ms. Anna Munoz and Bradford Elementary first grade teacher Ms. Lourdes Pasillas-Cuevas. 

Ms. Munoz and Ms. Pasillas-Cuevas led their 1st graders in reading “The Three Little Tamales” by Eric Kimmel, a fun book about three little tamales that make their escape from a taqueria in Texas. The selected book uses Spanish vocabulary intermixed with English text and includes a glossary of Spanish terms. The teachers worked with students on understanding and comprehension of the vocabulary terms as well as the overall story. To further engage students in reading while also celebrating the rich Hispanic culture, Ms. Munoz had her students create their own tamale characters like those featured in the story and sample tamales, a traditional Mexican dish. Ms. Pasillas-Cuevas’s Bilingual class created their own amate paper paintings, a Mexican folk art developed in Puebla, Mexico. 

“I love the creativity of our teachers in how they are strategically incorporating literacy in the classroom and tying it into the students' culture. This allows for the students to show pride in their culture, Orgullo Bilingue!” said SAISD Director of Bilingual and English Language Learners Christy Diego. 

Entering its second year, the bilingual program utilizes the students' primary language of Spanish as a resource while acquiring full proficiency in English including listening, speaking, reading and writing skills. Developing a child’s home language is critical for developing their English language skills. Research has shown that English Learners who receive bilingual instruction at an early age are more successful academically and have higher achievements in later grades. 

 “After only being a bilingual program teacher for this school year, the advantage that I have seen is tremendous growth in our students' communication skills,” said Bradford Elementary teacher Lulu Cuevas. “Students listen to each other and most importantly they have confidence and respect.” 

Events and activities in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month will take place on many of our campuses to highlight the contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans to the nation and the local community. To stay up-to-date on San Angelo ISD, please visit the SAISD website at www.saisd.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter, , and for more information on the Bilingual Program click here.