Northshire Bookstore, CRLC Partner to Offer Bilingual Educational Experience
SARATOGA SPRINGS – On the third Friday of every month, children gather in a circle at Saratoga’s Northshire Bookstore and anxiously await for story time; but it’s not your average story time…books are read entirely in Spanish.
Spanish Language Story Time with Señora Gloria is a collaborative program between Northshire Bookstore and the Capital Region Language Center. Gloria Batista, an educator at CRLC, reads and speaks to the children only in Spanish.
“We have regular story time here at Northshire on Fridays at 10:30 a.m. and we discussed [with CRLC] having a foreign language story time where teachers from CRLC could come in, teach and have some fun,” said Rachel Person, event and community outreach coordinator with Northshire Bookstore. “It’s a way to promote the amazing programs they have and bring some new people into the store for us.”
Throughout story time, the children seem hooked and completely engaged with Batista, even repeating words when she asks them to -- in Spanish, of course. One word to describe the educational atmosphere: inviting.
“Gloria is very warm and outgoing and she just draws in kids,” said Vicki Tremper, children’s program coordinator at CRLC. “That really symbolizes our language program as well. We know we can only be effective language teachers for children if the children want to be there, so we focus on fun and keeping them engaged using music and games and crafts.”
Señora Gloria’s animated story telling skills definitely keep the children engaged. As a child, she says her mother and grandmother told her stories and brought the characters to life, so that’s something she enjoys doing for her students during story time as well.
“One of my favorite things to do is read to children because I get to be part of the story and I get to be part of their memory,” said Batista. “It allows them to associate me with the language as well, so they know when they see me, they’re going to experience something different – like another language.”
Teaching children Spanish is what Batista does every day. She has been an instructor with CRLC since 2006, teaching the pre-school and elementary Spanish classes.
“I love where I work and I love the people I teach,” said Batista. “It’s a wonderful center, geared toward the development of the child. We also cater to the parents needs as well regarding their schedules. We do a lot for our community in that we want the language concept to get out there because it’s important. Language is very important in our changing world.”
While Capital Region Language Center was headquartered in Albany, it has recently relocated to Saratoga Springs. CRLC opened its doors in Saratoga on Monday, Dec. 1 and is located at 77 Van Dam Street. Registration is open for new students.
Spanish Language Story Time with Señora Gloria at Northshire will resume in January. Northshire Bookstore and CRLC hope to add more languages to story time in the future, including French, Chinese and German.