A literacy program for infants and toddlers will continue at an elementary school in the Indian River School District.
GEORGETOWN — A literacy program for infants and toddlers will continue at an elementary school in the Indian River School District.
When North Georgetown Elementary School concluded its second nine-week “Leamos Juntos” (“Let’s Read Together”) program for Spanish-speaking students and their families April 5, the team wanted to offer another opportunity to the Latino community — an infant and toddler reading program in Spanish.
The need to expose children to literacy in their native language at an even younger age resulted in the “Leemelo” (“Read It to Me”) initiative. The six-week course has been meeting after school Wednesdays and is designed for children under age 4. It will continue through the end of May.
“We try to stress the importance to families of reading and interacting with the child at an early age, to develop the literacy skills that will be needed once the child starts school,” said North Georgetown principal Sarah Green, who noted that research has shown it’s beneficial to expose kids to language as early as possible.
Jennifer Nein, the multilingual learner coordinator at North Georgetown, created Leemelo with family reading activities, games, interactive play, songs and crafts. It has been brought to life by a team of bilingual staff members, whose goal is to build children’s vocabulary, comprehension and fluency in Spanish.
“Having a strong foundation in their native language is hugely impactful on a child’s ability to learn a second language and become both bilingual and biliterate,” said Ms. Nein.
Nearly 75% of North Georgetown’s student population is Hispanic, and Ms. Green noted that it is crucial for parents to read to children in their native language. The hope is that this will help kids build strong vocabularies, which will transfer when they begin to learn English and literacy skills, and better prepare them to be successful kindergartners at age 5.
North Georgetown plans to continue both the Leamos Juntos and Leemelo programs when school resumes in the fall.