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May 16, 2023 / North

North celebrates Latino Family Literacy Project

On April 19, North Elementary School celebrated with families participating in the Latino Family Literacy Project. Gathering at Villa Park Public Library, parents of seven families received a certificate of participation for completing the program. The families were surprised with gifts and treated to traditional Latino dishes to celebrate their efforts in promoting literacy at home.

Over nine weeks, parents with Transitional Bilingual Education students at North met to read culturally relevant books aloud in both English and Spanish. With the help of Monica Guerrero, a 4th and 5th-grade TBE Resource teacher at North School, and Leticia Carmona, D45’s parent liaison, parents grew their English vocabulary while learning reading strategies to implement at home, including skimming, predicting, and using context clues.

While parents learned, children worked with Ruth Ebbinghaus, outreach and school liaison librarian at the VPPL, and Amiley Gonzalez Garces, program assistant at North, to work on art and STEM activities related to the book parents read each week. At home, parents read the book covered during the week with their student participants, and both parents and students applied the skills each learned at their sessions.

As part of the celebration to recognize the efforts of families that completed the program, parent participants sat with D45 administrators and community members to share family albums they each created by completing activities related to the books they read. Albums included family trees and photos, making it a keepsake to continue to build upon.

Ms. Guerrero, who led the program for the first time, enjoyed seeing new family bonds and school engagement created through the program.

“I loved how excited the students were in sharing time with their parents. The program allowed parents to be more purposeful in their time with their children,” said Guerrero. “The parents felt more confident in reading with their children, and they were always eager to share the experiences and connections they made. It gave them a space to express their questions, uncertainties, and struggles as it pertained to their child’s academic growth.”

Parents genuinely enjoyed the program’s activities. “I had a lot of fun making my family album,” said parent Nancy Taboada. “In the future, I want to improve it and make my own photo albums.”

Another parent, Virginia Alonso, who participated with her husband Gerardo Alcala, appreciated that the program encouraged building English skills.

“We liked it because we were able to read in Spanish but also in English, which is also very important to get more involved in our children’s reading and homework,“ said Alonso.

For Taboada, her participation in the program has changed how she reads at home with her children, primarily by driving her to accommodate a designated reading time at home.

“We also try to connect the books to our lives and discuss the pictures,” said Taboada. “My children are starting the habit and love of books. We already go to the library a little more.”

Congratulations to all program participants and staff! And a special thank you to the Villa Park Public Library for supporting families from North School and to the D45 Foundation for Excellence in Education for generously funding the program.