Creating a Book Loan Program for Inner-City Latino Families

CIERA Report #2-003

Patricia Madrigal, Camille Cubillas, David B. Yaden, Jr.,
Anamarie Tam, and Danny Brassell
University of Southern California

CIERA Inquiry 2: Home and School
What is the nature of English language and literacy support that can be provided to parents and young children in a primarily Spanish-speaking community? Can a book loan program operated out of a preschool in such a community make it easier for parents and children to participate in literacy activities together?

In this paper, Madrigal et al. describe the design, implementation, and impact of a book loan program in an inner-city preschool where books were freely and easily available to low-income primarily Spanish-speaking families, most of whom are recent immigrants. Madrigal et al. collected data on check-out frequency, book titles, and student participation, and took field notes of the interactions between project staff and families during book check-out.

In one year, book check-out increased from an average of 1.5 to 16 books per day, with 70% of eligible children checking out books. Six of the eight most popular books are Spanish titles. Questionnaires and field notes indicated that immigrant parents typically place a high value on books. Large turnouts (100 parents) at the two parent receptions/reading demonstrations were concrete evidence of parents' commitment to supporting their children's learning. Madrigal et al. attribute the program's success to its accessibility and the content of the literacy materials (books on culturally appropriate topics and in Spanish).

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