, Muskogee, OK

November 16, 2013

Students hear stories in English, Spanish

MHS students read to Irving kids for ReadOK day

By Cathy Spaulding
Phoenix Staff Writer

— Irving Elementary first- and second-graders heard the same stories twice Friday morning.

Muskogee High School Advanced Placement Spanish students read books in Spanish, then translated each phrase in English. Kids got to hear “Huevos verdes con jamon” as well as “Green Eggs and Ham.”

Bilingual story times were one of several ways Irving students marked ReadOK, a day to celebrate and encourage reading. The day also celebrated the 106th anniversary of Oklahoma Statehood.

First-grade teacher Aprel Paris said her students particularly enjoyed hearing the stories in two languages. She said six of her 21 pupils speak Spanish as their first language.

“So, our Spanish students get to hear their language read to them,” Paris said, adding that the library offers books in Spanish for students.

MHS Spanish teacher Blanca Casale said 15 of her students came to read to the Irving kids. Some books were in Spanish, others in English. As a result, the students faced the challenge of translating as well as reading.

“I never got to read to kids before,” said MHS junior Jose Nava. “The kids really looked up to me. I was one of them once.”

Nava and two classmates read “De la cabeza alos pies,” the Spanish version of  “From Head to Toe,” to Paris’ students. The book featured a gorilla, snake, flamingo, walrus and other animals. Kids were encouraged to act out each animal.

“Old fairy tales we learned in English are also different in Spanish,” said MHS senior Zachary Wilhite.

Wilhite said he read a book about sounds in a desert, “and we were all making fishy faces.”

Casale said the she and the student were invited by Irving teacher trainer Julie Grober. A teacher trainer helps teachers and does intervention for students.

“It was my daughter who suggested it. She said, ‘You have Blanca in your Bible study,’” Grober said.

Children’s book author Lari Durnil, a Muskogee native, read two of her books to second- and third- graders. She said she wanted to encourage students to “write their own stories” by making right decisions.

“The choices you make help you write your own stories,” she told the kids. “You are in a position to write your own story and make it real awesome.”

As she read from her book “Feelings are Important,” Durnil asked, “What things make you happy?”

“I just run around,” one student said.

“What do you do when you’re frustrated,” Durnil asked.

“I just go outside,” another student said.

 Schools across Oklahoma participated in ReadOK on Friday.

Ben Franklin Science Academy was set to invite kids’ parents to school for breakfast and to read to the students.

At Checotah Intermediate School, CHS Wildcat football players and cheerleaders read to students.

Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or