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“1000 Books” Completes Successful Cycle of Bilingual Reading

Perth Amboy Students Celebrate Dual Language and Bilingualism

Press Release 3/30/16

PERTH AMBOY – On Thursday, March 31, 2016, the Jewish Renaissance Foundation’s School Based Youth Service Program and Casa Argentina de New Jersey will celebrate the end of its spring cycle of their “1000 Books” project at the Perth Amboy Public Library, located on 196 Jefferson Avenue, Perth Amboy, NJ 08861.

*Photo Submitted

*Photo Submitted

“1000 Books” is a grassroots collaboration between the Perth Amboy Public Library, Casa Argentina de New Jersey and School Based Youth Services Program. The reading initiative provides an opportunity and a place for high school students to read to younger children in both English and Spanish.

While dual language exposure and bilingualism are common experiences for 95% of the children in Perth Amboy, by the time these children reach adolescence, only about 10% of them remain fluent in both languages. “Most children that lose their ability to speak in their native language do so because they do not have the environmental incentive to speak in their mother tongue, “said School Based Youth Services Program’s Interim Program Director, Jusleine Daniel. “As a result, fewer second generation immigrants can be described as bilingual.”

In the 1000 Books program, students find an environment where they can feel proud of their heritage by reading books in both, English and Spanish. “I particularly like that we are given a chance to restore pride in the community we live,” said Marialis Savinon, a program participant and high school junior at The Perth Amboy High School.

On Program Design

In the 1000 Books program, children are provided opportunities to develop a love of reading in English and Spanish, which brings pride and connection back to the community. A Perth Amboy High School student mentor reads to the younger children in English and Spanish. When there are high levels of bonding and high levels of feelings of belonging, as children grow, they are less likely to engage in risky behaviors. In addition, youth and children are also more likely to stay in school, and experiencing greater overall success (Center for the Study of Social Policy).

High School students also increase their school readiness and job readiness skills while they also learn to value diversity. By participating in cultural continuity, high school aged students learn the value of community service.

“The children love to have the high school mentors read to them in Spanish and English,” said Raul Pretto, Casa Argentina’s President. “We know our program is having an impact when we have the children who, at the beginning would not speak in Spanish, want to learn more about their native language.”

The program will celebrate the end of its spring cycle on March 31, 2016, from 4:00 pm to 4:45 pmat the newly renovated Perth Amboy Public Library, located at 196 Jefferson Avenue in Perth Amboy.  During this time, the high school student mentors will receive a Service Learning Certificate and a scholarship.

This will be a public event open to the community and participate in the final day of the spring reading cycle in a theatrical and fun reading activity of Dr. Seuss’ books, in both English and Spanish.  For more information about the event, please contact Jusleine Daniel at (732) 376-6030 x 23510 or by email at jusleine.daniel@jrfnj.org

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