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NMSU professor receives grant for bilingual-literacy project

New Mexico State University associate professor Anita Hernandez is directing an elementary school bilingual-literacy project. NMSU's College of Education is receiving funding for the project through a $15,000 Stocker Foundation grant.

Woman sits at table
Anita Hernandez, NMSU Curriculum and Instruction associate professor, is leading an elementary school bi-literacy project.(NMSU photo by Darren Phillips)

The project is working with second- and third-grade students from Rio Grande Elementary and Garfield Elementary in the Hatch Public Schools. A bilingual family literacy meeting in December launched the program.

"The program is set up to invite families to share their life stories sparked through bilingual and multicultural books given to each family," said Hernandez, Kidd Chair in Literacy in the curriculum and instruction department. "The probability of engagement and finding meaning and purpose in reading is very high, hence the positive impact of the program. Because New Mexico is a bilingual state, our goal is to promote bilingualism and bi-literacy. This bi-literacy project is important, because we now know that children can and do lose their primary languages within one generation. Projects like this one provide families additional resources for supporting their children's bilingual and bi-literacy skills."

"This grant is a great opportunity for building two-way literacy engagement between bilingual families and the school teachers/NMSU faculty," said Myriam Torres, a NMSU associate professor in curriculum and instruction. "Two-way literacy implies that both parents and their children and the teachers are sharing and learning each other's literacy practices on equal footing."

Teachers Rosa Delgado, Rita Holguin, Lorena Carmona and Rosa Morgan along with NMSU faculty Hernandez, Torres and staff member Jose Montelongo plan to meet twice a month with families in Hatch.