SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – Reach literacy is looking to broaden the minds of young kids by helping broaden their scope of the world.
We all have a story. Some we can relate to and other’s we can’t quite understand, but, with their new Bilingual Story-time program, Reach Literacy is showing kids that there’s much more that appears on the page.
“Who took the cookies from the cookie jar?” Volunteer Kenneth Machisa asks while reading to one-year-old Harper Olson. And while might not be old enough to form words in her own language, that’s not stopping her and her mother Becca Olson from learning a little of Kenneth Machisa’s.
“Momboto ya ve tumbua,” Machisa continues reading from the book in his native tongue.
Machisa is originally from Zambia in South Africa. He volunteered to help teach children his language as a part of REACH Literacy’s new bilingual story-telling program.
“Considering that we work with such a diverse population, we thought it would be a really special way to expose people to all the languages that we run into in the United States,” Executive Director of REACH Literacy Paige Carda said.
“I was reading from the English version of the story but then translating to Chichewa,” Machisa said.
Chichewa is the traditional language of Zambia. While hearing the book in a language from across the globe might make you feel like you’re in a different world, we’re actually on a similar page.
“I think it’s the same principals in the story… the kids want to hear about different animals doing different things and so we just have different names for the animals in the story,” Machisa said.
“I think if we’re going to be a nation where we want to be able to support other people, you should be able to respect other people’s cultures and have an appreciation that there are so many languages spoken around the world,” Carda said.
And how understanding different cultures can give kids a farther reach in life.
“Literacy is important at any age, but I think it’s also important to expose my daughter to lots of cultures and lots of diversity because that’s what our world is,” Olson said.
And leave some rather speechless.
“Did you have fun?” Olson said.
The next story-time is on August 12th where you can get the chance to learn Hindi. You can sign up for the next Bilingual story time by going to REACH Literacy’s website.