ALA 2020: Supporting English Language Learners
On January 25th, The Awesome Libraries chapter held a live pitch event at the American Library Association's Symposium on the Future of Libraries in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Nestled inside the Philadelphia Convention center, 9 presenters from around the country pitched their ideas to an audience of 47 librarians. After three rounds of voting, Supporting English Language Learners by Samantha Marker at Ridgway Middle School emerged as the winner.
Samuel M. Ridgway Middle School is a small school in New Jersey with a total district K-8 enrollment of 832 students, but they have experienced a 30% increase of students who do not speak or read in English in the last 5 years. Unfortunately, the library's collection has not been updated to reflect this change in demographics.
Unfortunately, the county library system does not have books in Portuguese or Turkish, and the materials available in Spanish are very limited. These are the languages spoken by the majority of English language learning students at Ridgway. Studies show that students who are literate in their primary language will demonstrate stronger reading skills in a second language. By providing choices for them to read in their own language, they will build stronger readers both in skill and love of learning.
Funds from this grant will be spent on developing a collection of graphic novels and other books in Portuguese, Turkish, and Spanish. By providing high interest reading choices, the library will allow their ELL population to grow into proficient readers.
Funded by Libraries (January 2020)