ESL Bookland Night took place at the Ames Public Library on October 13, 2017, and was organized in collaboration with the Ames Community School District (ACSD), the Ames Public Library, and the Future Teachers – Future Leaders Learning Community at Iowa State University. The event was a great social function for students and families who have English as their second language and an opportunity to distribute books to families to support literacy.
The after-hours event saw 141 attendees (ESL students and family members) and approximately 40 ISU students who assisted with the activities. In total, approximately 200 individuals including Ames Public Library, ISU, and ACSD staff were in attendance. Shaeley Santiago, K-12 ESL TOSA / Instructional Coach for the ACSD, said “It wouldn’t have been possible without each of our ESL teachers handing out invitations and encouraging students to attend, and volunteers arranging their Friday evening so they could be there, too.”
A sizeable number of books were given to students and families, some of which were purchased with funds from the Heartland Area Education Agency Title III Parent Involvement Mini Grants, while others were funded by Ames Public Library Friends Foundation. Beyond the ability to hand out books to students and families, the ESL Bookland Night was a great social event for families. “My personal observations were that students and families were actively engaged in activities. Several families were visiting with each other in their native language, some making connections across buildings where their students attend school. I witnessed one of the ISU students sharing some book recommendations with ELLs in Spanish,” said Santiago.
Santiago anticipates the ESL event at Ames Public Library continuing into the future. They are currently exploring whether to host a similar event at the library in the spring.