A group of 5 Congolese college students ought to rarely comprise their excitement as they sifted via a pile of storybooks brought to Paxson Elementary School on Friday morning.

The college students peered thru the books with joy, analyzing textual content that alternated between English and Swahili, their local language, at the accompanying page.

“You can read that after which I can read,” said Shirley Lindburg, the English language getting to know coordinator for MCPS.

One of the brand new books instructed a rendition of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.”

Suzana Sifa, a Congolese student, examine at the side of Lindburg as her fellow Congolese classmate, Olivia Musehenu, listened eagerly.


Hall Passages: Dual language books build bridges for refugee college students 1

“Alipokuwa amelala, Simba Ahuja nyumbani,” Sifa and Lindburg read collectively, with Sifa correcting Lindburg on the pronunciation of “nyumbani.”

The passage translated to “As she turned into sound asleep, the lions got here domestic.”

Lindburg lately bought the books with a $1,500 supply from the Missoula Education Foundation. She hopes the books can help both refugee college students and their tutors learn to study and speak different languages.

Missoula County Public Schools has nearly 70 refugee students who got here to the district after the International Rescue Committee opened an office in Missoula inside the summer season of 2016. The college students come from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Syria, and Eritrea, and the tutors they work with aren’t generally fluent within the diverse languages.

The tutors educate refugee college students on English phrases and terms through pointing, studying, and looking at them. Jodee Zinker, a coach at Paxson, said the more youthful the students are, the less complicated it commonly is for them to learn English.

Olivia Musehenu and her brother, Christian, had been in Missoula a little, much less than 12 months, but each is already fluent in English, alternating between it and Swahili easily.

“One of the matters is for them a good way to keep their own language,” Lindburg stated. “Some of them can examine English now; however, they war with studying Swahili.”

In addition to keeping their native language, the books assist bridge college students’ lives lower back domestic and their lives in America.

Some of the stories are geared toward starting up conversations approximately college students’ experience in refugee camps, together with “The Banana-Leaf Ball” using Katie Smith Milway.

The book tells a young East African boy in a refugee camp in Tanzania who becomes friends with different youngsters on the camp by gambling soccer with a ball made from banana leaves.

Zinker these days study the book to the Congolese college students and even made a banana leaf ball with them.

MCPS tutors work with refugee college students for about an hour every day. The students spend the relaxation in their day in the classroom with English-speakme peers.

Lindburg stated the books might even assist facilitate classroom dialogues on tough topics and foster empathy among students.

“Other youngsters inside the lecture room see those books, and they apprehend cultural diversity better after they see, ‘They’re pronouncing this in this language and this is what it in reality manner,’” Lindburg said.

“Something we genuinely need more in schools is booked with extra cultural range so that children see books with humans that seem like them,” Lindburg stated.

Without prompting, college students additionally tested the books’ software remaining week as a device to analyze English.

Patrick Hamisi, a Congolese student who’s almost fluent in English, translated one of the new books to Majambe Nhena, whose circle of relatives moved to Missoula months ago.

Sifa and Olivia Musehenu additionally alternated studying a ebook known as “I’m new here” by using Anne Sibley O’Brien, which tells the story of three refugee college students new to American essential colleges where they come upon problems talking, writing, and sharing ideas in English.

Lindburg said she’s waiting to find out if she received some other supply she lately carried out to buy more storybooks for classrooms so that instructors can read to the whole elegance.

“So you could teach other children phrases in Swahili or Arabic or Tigrinya,” that’s spoken in Eritrea, Lindburg stated. “It blessings all and sundry.”