By Sarah Chacko

Killeen Daily Herald

When Edith Navarro first came to the United States more than 20 years ago, she knew little English.

But the Mexico native wouldnt teach her two children Spanish, either.

Now Navarro, a librarian at the Killeen Public Library, can be found floating around town with an armful of books, making up for lost time by reading to children in Spanish.

Learning a language is knowledge, she said. Its an open door for education.

The library started its bilingual program just a few months ago during the summer, and Navarro said children are already picking up so much.

They are like sponges, she said. Every single day were supposed to improve our language, not only in English.

Teaching children foreign languages at an early age gives them a jumpstart on the mandatory courses they will have to take in middle or high school, she said.

When she moved to Naples, Italy, with her husband, who was in the military, the teachers there told her not to speak Spanish to her children at home, that it would confuse them.

But in a world that is becoming more and more diverse, being able to speak more than one language can come in handy, she said.

The more you know, the more you mean something, she said. The competition is tough.

On Wednesday afternoons, Navarro takes a stack of books over to the Housing Authoritys Community and Development Center at the Moss Rose complex to read to children.

Its like a field trip for me to grab books and go read to the children, she said.

Janice Taylor, resident services director, said Navarro started coming to the center in November and has already found a captive audience.

Taylor said since Moss Rose is such a multicultural complex, it gives them an opportunity to use and hang onto their cultural knowledge.

That makes us who we are, she said. You lose a major part of your culture if you lose your language.

Navarro said just getting children interested in reading is important.

Expecting her first grandchild in March, Navarro said she already told her daughter-in-law not to expect baby clothes.

Just books.

Contact Sarah Chacko at

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