Deanna Frazee, director of the Killeen library system, has always been a proponent of summer reading for children. Only recently has she discovered the importance of reading in other languages.
For the first time this summer, Killeen will offer special summer storytime sessions exclusively in Spanish and Korean.
The idea is to encourage young children — ages 6 months to 5 years — to carry on the tradition of speaking their parents’ native language, Frazee said.
Spanish and Korean reading sessions will be in addition to the library’s English language Summer Reading Storytime.
“Being bilingual is a good thing, and this program is meant to promote that,” Frazee said.
She said the program is designed to do two things — to encourage children to tap into language resources at home and welcome to the library parents who may be apprehensive because they do not speak English.
“We do have parents in this community who do not speak English, and we hope this will make them more comfortable coming into the library,” Frazee said.
“Now they will know that we do have staff that can speak to them in their native language.”
Children’s books will be read to the children by two bilingual librarians, Annie Lowe, who speaks Korean, and Jessica Mancota, who speaks Spanish.
Mancota said she wants to help the younger generation of children born into Spanish-speaking households carry on their legacy and tradition.
“If they can, they all should learn Spanish because they will need it later on in the work they do,” said Mancota, who learned Spanish at home speaking with her Mexico-native mother.
Mancota said if it weren’t for her Spanish ability, she could not communicate with her grandmother, who only speaks Spanish. “(My mother) kept Spanish alive, and without it I could not communicate with my grandmother,” Mancota said.