It was the first day of school when the teacher asked Maria to introduce herself to the class. Nervously, Maria stood up " Hi, my name is Maria and I come from Dominican Republic. My English is not very good looking. Thank you." The whole class started to laugh except Juan, who sat in the back of the classroom kindly looking at Maria.
At lunch time, Maria sat alone. She felt very sad and lonely and missed her friends back home. Maria thought she'd never learn English well enough to make friends in her new school.
When Marias' parents arrived, she told them what a horrible day she had. "No quiero aprende Ingles" Maria cried! Marias' parents never doubted her transition would be difficult but knew the importance of encouraging and supporting their daughter.
That afternoon, Mami took Maria to the local library. After discussing with Marias' teacher, Mami was determined to help Maria want to learn English. Marias' teacher suggested they find wordless books & picture dictionaries to begin giving visuals to everyday items using English words for Maria.
Feeling enlightened with her new books and language, Maria, with the help of her Mami, began to label everything around her house. She labeled the door...
and even the dog.
The next morning, when Maria arrived at school, she was greeted by Ms. Penny, "Maria, I wanted to apologize on behalf of your peers for their behavior the other day. In my classroom I always want you to feel safe and welcomed which is why I've taken the time out to put up some familiar background!"
"Do you like it?" asked Ms.Penny. Yes, nodded Maria. "Is that a yes, Maria?" "Yes!" shouted Maria excitedly. "Good, can you tell me what you like about it?" "Pictures, Frida!" Maria exclaimed. "Excellent" replied a pleased Ms.Penny.
"I also wanted to introduce you to Juan, he will be your peer buddy for the year, together we will all work hard to be sure we each learn the most we can this year. I think you'll find the two of you have much in common" said Ms.Penny.
Gracias! Yo me lo peine sola.
Me gusta tu pelo!
The year was passing quick and Maria found herself to really be enjoying learning English. She enjoyed reading books on her culture and seeing characters in them that looked just like her but what Maria mostly enjoyed was when Ms.Penny had them role-play.
Learning was fun, some days they'd sing and dance...
other days they'd explore...
Feel the sand, Maria. It's wet and grainy.
and one day, even Marias' parents were invited to class as guest speakers!
These are my parents!
By the end of the year, Maria graduated at the top of her class, made new friends, and even read a poem at graduation she had written to Ms.Penny in English!
Ms.Penny Ms.Penny Like you there's not many I hope to be like you when I'm 20
Today, Maria is a famous publisher and owns the largest book publishing company in New Jersey, alongside her partner...