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SAUGUS, CA, October 20, 2021 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Raising bilingual children is a unique challenge for parents that speak only English. When the opportunity of a Spanish Dual Language Immersion program opened at Highlands Elementary School, one Saugus parent jumped at the chance. At the height of the Pandemic, Marie Urquidi had a Kindergartner and a First Grader in the DLI Program when the school went to digital learning. With only a couple of years of high-school-level Spanish, she didn't feel equipped to help her children with their lessons in Spanish for the remainder of the 2020 school year. "I enjoy doing something together as a family, and I wanted to create something that enabled monolingual families to experience a second language together," she explains. While her kids are enrolled in bilingual education, she wanted to find a way to keep up with them.
"I'm so thrilled my children are broadening their world by becoming proficient in a second language through school," Marie explains. "During the Pandemic, I was so overwhelmed with recalling my Spanish from oh so many years ago, that I wanted something quick and easy for me to be able to speak it with my kids. After chatting with several moms, I realized I wasn't alone in the struggle." From this, the books were born.
She created DLI Parent Books, where scripted prompts and phonetic translations enable parents to model the language with their children – just like a teacher would in a classroom. The children can repeat simple phrases, respond in English, or respond in Spanish while working on activities with their parents.
She has donated copies of "Speaking Together in Spanish" to the Kindergarten class at Highlands Elementary School. Beth Jensen, a parent of two children in the program says the book is, "the perfect compliment to my own studies and a fantastic way to involve my youngest child in the process as well."
Dual language studies are essential, and in California, with the Global California 2030 Initiative described on the California Department of Education website, "The CDE has set specific goals in the Global California 2030 Initiative. By 2030, half of all Kindergarten through grade twelve students must participate in programs leading to proficiency in two or more languages, either through a class, a program, or an experience. By 2040, three out of four students will be proficient in one or more languages, earning them a State Seal of Biliteracy."
With the dual language program at Highlands Elementary School in its third year, principal, Susan Bender, likes to visit the first class of Dual Language Immersion students, now in second grade. She explains, "The 2021-2022 school year marks the third year of our program and we are seeing that our students who initially began the program are now able to hold reciprocal academic-based conversations with their peers, and their understanding of both reading and mathematical concepts is above the national norm. Our dual immersion students are not only becoming bilingual, but bi-literate and bicultural."
Along with Spanish, Marie has also recreated the books for her children to learn Tagalog, their heritage language. As for Marie's concerns of her children being behind due to digital learning, "They're resilient," she says, "my books are only meant to enhance any family's language learning journey and being back at school is the best way for my kids to learn Spanish."
For more information on how you can enroll your child in the upcoming dual language program at Highlands Elementary School, please contact the Saugus Union School District.
To pick up a copy of "Speaking Spanish Together," visit www.DLIParentBooks.com.
The Primary Level books are for young children whose adults will model the language. Reader Level books are currently being developed. Sign up on the website to be kept up to date on upcoming products and new book releases.
About DLI Parent Books:
DLI Parent Books focuses exclusively on offering families that speak only English an opportunity to talk together in a new language. Without using electronics or private tutors, DLI Parent Books is a unique workbook supplement to any other language-learning program that will help encourage the practice of conversation skills in the home. "Speaking Together in Spanish" and "Speaking Together in Tagalog" are available with more languages being available in the future. Primary Level Books 1 & 2 is meant for parents to model the language for children 4-6 years old. Reading Level books will be available in the Spring. DLIParentBooks.com
SOURCE DLI Parent Books and California Department of Education
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