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Library’s World Language Collection supports foreign language literacy

The Naperville Public Library has put together a World Language Collection.  |  Submitted
Children participate in the Naperville Public Library's Language Stars program.  |  Submitted

After studying Spanish throughout junior high, high school and college, you’d think I would be fluent in the language. However, I am so far from stringing words together to form a decent sentence.

If I had regularly spoken and practiced Spanish on a day-to-day basis, I might have had a chance at being bilingual. It’s sad to say, but alas, I now will need to shake hands with Miss Rosetta Stone if I want to refine my foreign language skills.

It is encouraging to know Naperville Public Library recognizes the importance of teaching foreign languages at an early age. In fact, the library has a range of books focused on foreign languages.

“The World Language Collection is a collection of children’s books written in some of the languages that our patrons speak,” said Stephanie Rivera, children’s services librarian. “We currently have books in Spanish and Hindi, and we will have books in Mandarin in the near future.”

Rivera said the collection contains bilingual titles as well as titles written entirely in Spanish or Hindi. The collection showcases a variety of books for infants to children in fifth grade.

“There are a variety of nonfiction and fiction titles as well as books that support both recreational and academic needs,” she said. “Popular titles available in the World Language Collection include ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid,’ ‘Harry Potter,’ ‘Goodnight Moon’ and ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar.’ We are always looking to include more titles that will benefit Naperville library users.”

In addition to the World Language Collection, Naperville Public Library also offers a children’s program called Storytimes from Language Stars, a Chicago-based provider of early foreign language education. The workshops help teach foreign language vocabulary and grammar through a variety of hands-on activities, sing-alongs and story times.

The next Language Stars workshop will take place from 11:15 to 11:45 a.m. Tuesday, May 20, at 95th Street Library, 3015 Cedar Glade Drive. Teachers from Language Stars will conduct the free program in German. All ages are welcome, but the workshop is recommended for ages 1 to 6 years old. For information about future Language Stars programs, go to naperville-lib.org/content/eventskids.

Because children are better able to absorb language and grammar at an early age, the library is the perfect place to get started on early foreign language literacy. From the Language Stars workshops to the library’s World Language Collection, children are more able to pick up another language.

“Our hope is that our collection will continue to expand to represent additional languages that are spoken in the Naperville community,” Rivera said.

Mary Rakoczy is a multimedia associate for the Naperville Public Library.

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