Me gusta leer: Valley View hosts Spanish book fair to spread joy of reading

'I want kids to enjoy reading,' PTA president says

Valley View Elementary students (from left) Avery Tye, Ariana Ortiz and Gabi Keenan check out books at the school's inaugural Spanish book fair. (Photo by Julia Brown)

Sitting on tables throughout the room, the books varied in size and subject.

There were graphic novels, chapter books and quicker reads on topics like sports and animals. There were texts based on children's movies like "Coco." And there were particularly popular titles like "Matilda" and "Captain Underpants" -- all en español.

Last month, Valley View Elementary School hosted its first ever Spanish book fair, with all books either written in or translated into Spanish. Held Jan. 16-18, the fair included a "Coffee with the Principal" event for parents to stop by and browse books, as well as a family night on the final day.

Valley View Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) president Kelly Cantu, who has two children enrolled in the school's dual immersion program, organized the event after hearing from teachers for years about a need for high-quality children's books in Spanish. She partnered with a dual immersion teacher in Menlo Park who owns an online bookstore called I Love to Read in Spanish.

"We did an emphasis on a Spanish book fair because half the school is learning to speak Spanish (through the dual immersion program)," Cantu said, adding that the school also has students who are from Spanish-speaking countries like Mexico, Spain and Argentina.

During the afternoon on Jan. 17, students filed their way into room 19 and made a beeline for the colorful books. They perused them carefully, some clutching small bills in their hands as they made their way around the displays while others sat cross-legged on the carpet with their selection.

Fourth-grader Mateo Martinez-Murphy said he liked the inaugural event.

"I think it's good because some people might only speak Spanish and they have an opportunity to buy books because now they're in Spanish," he said, adding that he began learning the language in kindergarten.

Fellow fourth-grader Hayden Moe said she appreciated the Spanish book fair because it's hard sometimes to find books in Spanish, particularly ones from other countries.

"It's pretty cool how there are books coming from different authors from different countries," Moe said.

"It's just exploding with Spanish books," added classmate Eleanor Bradford. "Even though it's a small room, there are a lot of books."

Valley View principal Soraya Villaseñor said the aim of the book fair was to help foster students reading for fun in Spanish.

"A lot of times you don't get kids as interested in reading in Spanish because (the books) aren't correctly translated or they're not very fun," Villaseñor said. "Hopefully they get to see books that are interesting and fun and they grow to love reading in Spanish."

Teachers also benefited from the event, as the school's PTA gave $100 to each teacher in grades 3-5 to spend on books from the fair. In all, the three-day fair raised $6,000.

Cantu is already planning to hold the fair again in the fall.

"I want kids to enjoy reading," she said. "I want to give them that one little book and find that passion where they don't put it down, if it's in Spanish or English."

Editor's note: Headline translates to "I like to read."

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1 person likes this
Posted by Frito
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Feb 1, 2018 at 7:07 pm

Probably the dumbest thing I have heard if. We should be teaching them to speak English.

3 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 1, 2018 at 11:11 pm

Why? It's a dual immersion language program, it's supposed to be taught in spanish

5 people like this
Posted by Isela Torre
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Feb 2, 2018 at 11:05 am

I am happy that our PTA has brought this great opportunity to all our students! I hope we have this fair twice a year.
Valley View also offers the Latino Literacy reading program for Spanish-speaking parents. They were happy to visit the book fair in Spanish!

Here is a very good article about the advantages of bilingualism:
Web Link

7 people like this
Posted by Jeannine
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 2, 2018 at 1:39 pm

I couldn't be more proud and grateful to have my children enrolled in this dual immersion Spanish program. Rigorous academic challenges, multicultural and diverse perspectives, combined with the highest quality teachers make Valley View and the DI program a school that truly prepares it's students for the changing world. I hope this special experience enriches their lives and helps create an open minded and anti-egocentric perspective. At this time in our nation, I believe we need that now more than ever before!

Like this comment
Posted by Olivia
a resident of California Reflections
on Feb 8, 2018 at 4:05 am

Olivia is a registered user.

Bilingual children are often much more intelligent and have more understanding of the world than the monolingual kids. Also knowing at least one foreign language (especially Spanish) is always good if you're a tourist - English is not as widespread as it sometimes seems to be.

Best wishes to you all, Olivia
Web Link

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