Washington Reading Corps helps Spanish speaking families on Vashon

This article highlighting the efforts of Washington Reading Corps Members is by Amelia Heagerty of the Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber Reporter, and appeared on Apr 07 2010:

Seven Spanish-speaking parents gathered in a third-floor classroom at Chautauqua Elementary School one recent Thursday evening, chatting easily as they waited to hear presentations in Spanish about the school’s English Language Learning program and the U.S. Census.

One parent filled out her census questionnaire; others discussed how many native Spanish speakers live on Vashon Island.

It was the fifth weekly informational evening for Spanish-speaking parents at the elementary school, where special topics are discussed and dinner and child care are provided.

Put on by the school’s two AmeriCorps volunteers, the weekly programs provide needed and appreciated outreach to a Spanish-speaking population that’s growing in Island schools, said Chautauqua Principal Kate Baehr.

The Vashon school district received the yearlong support of two AmeriCorps volunteers, who are also a part of the Washington Reading Corps, in part because data showed a disparity in reading levels between native English-speaking children on Vashon and their native Spanish-speaking peers.

As part of their work on Vashon, the two AmeriCorps members, one of whom is a native speaker of both Spanish and English, have worked hard to reach out to the Island’s Spanish-speaking families and children, Baehr said.

“This is really important outreach,” she said. “We’re trying to help meet the needs of our Latino families, because it’s so important for us to support all our families however we can.”

The events have drawn a good deal of interest from the Island’s Spanish-speaking families — about 20 parents turned out to the first information night in January, said Esteban Cisneros, one of two AmeriCorps volunteers at Chautauqua this year.

Here’s the rest of the article

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