Monday, January 31, 2011

Families That Learn Together

Boston University has a program to teach English and other skills to immigrants and refugees, teaching all members of the family. - - Donna Poisl

by Kimberly Cornuelle

Griselda Madronero has just finished work—boxing food on the late night shift at a bread factory in Chelsea. It’s 7 a.m. and by 8:30, she’s sitting in a classroom at Chelsea’s John Silber Early Learning Center, sounding out words in English. “Enemy,” she says, “friends,” and a new one today: “pose.” The class is one of several in the Intergenerational Literacy Program, an enduring component of a two-decade collaboration between the Chelsea Public Schools and Boston University.

Founded by Jeanne Paratore, a School of Education associate professor, as part of the Boston University/Chelsea Partnership—where BU educators helped rebuild the Chelsea public education curricula and managed the school system—the program is designed to teach English language literacy skills to entire families, children and parents. It usually serves between 75 and 90 families at any one time, and over the years has helped equip more than 2,400 families with the reading skills needed for life in a new country.
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