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Bilingual Storytime gets kids excited about literacy

Memphis Public Libraries hosts the events, using books in both English and Spanish and translating the words in an interactive way with the kids.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis Public Libraries hosts Bilingual Storytime to get kids excited to learn about language.

“It’s usually toddlers, three or four-year-olds, but everyone’s welcome,” Anna Guthrie with the libraries Connect Crew said.

For four years they’ve offered this free unique event at many different places across the Mid-South, like at the Crosstown Concourse.

“I wouldn’t be able to do it if it wasn’t free. We’re always looking for things like this to do,” Memphian Marilyn League said.

“The city has a pretty big Latin American, Spanish-speaking community. It’s important to meet them and show them we value them,” Guthrie said.

Guthrie said what they do is take books in both English and Spanish and translate the words in an interactive way with the kids. The kids pick up basic words in both languages without even realizing they’re learning.

“To know that there’s another world where people are thinking and saying different things, and talking in different languages, is important for kids to understand that,” League said.

They also use the power of songs and old nursery rhymes like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

“Little Amia is just two-years-old and she can sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star maybe not perfectly all the way through, but she knows that’s a song and that it’s in another language. I think the fact that’s already hitting her, shows the impact,” Guthrie said.

In many cases the kids even get to take the books home, so learning doesn’t have to stop when they leave.

“Get that kid from in front of the TV and come listen to the stories,” League said.

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