When Carrie Gruman-Trinkner realized how many of her students’ parents do not speak English, she decided to request books printed in Spanish for the families.
“I read all the time, and I can’t imagine not having access to books,” said Gruman-Trinkner, who is the middle and high school choral instructor in the Weyauwega-Fremont School District.
During last fall’s parent-teacher conferences, she noticed how many parents did not speak English.
“The children would be translating,” she said.
The experience resulted in Gruman-Trinker writing an essay in which she requested books printed in Spanish.
The essay was for this year’s World Book Night, and she learned in January that she would be a book giver.
World Book Night is an international event that encourages reading.
Several authors give the rights to their books to be made into a special World Book Night edition to be given away for free, she said.
World Book Night was held on Wednesday, April 23.
That is the day William Shakespeare was born (1564) and died (1616), she said.
“I wrote an essay on why I should be a book giver. My essay spoke about how we have a Spanish speaking population who are underserved in the area of books and reading. The library has some books in Spanish, but not as many as they would like,” said Gruman-Trinkner. “I requested my free books to be in Spanish. I won the right to give away a case of books by Esmerelda Santiago entitled “When I was Puerto Rican”/”Cuando Era Puertorriquena” all printed in Spanish.”
Kristi Pennebecker, director of the Weyauwega Public Library, said the library has a few books written in Spanish. The area’s Spanish-speaking population may also go to www.infosoup.org/*spi to search for books written in Spanish.
On April 23, Gruman-Trinkner had a case of 20 books at the Weyauwega Public Library to give to Spanish-speaking families.
Among those who stopped by for the event were Paola Patino, a sixth-grader at W-F Middle School, and her grandmother, Marrgita Patino.
Leticia Cruz attended World Book Night with her daughters: Viviana, Diana and Kayla.
Cruz and her husband are from Mexico. They moved to Weyauwega in 2000 for work, she said.
Cruz said it was nice of Gruman-Trinkner to give the book to her and others.
The number of English as a Second Language (ESL) students in the W-F District has grown every year for the past five school years, said Kandi Martin, the district’s director of pupil services and curriculum.
There are 882 students in the school district, and 60 of them are categorized as ESL, she said.
Some of them have such high English language proficiency that they do not need additional support, Martin said.
She said 55 of the ESL students are at a point in their English acquisition where they receive the support of ESL programming from the district’s ESL teacher, Amie LeNoble.
Last week, the district also had its ESL/Title 1 Program for families.
Stuart Stotts entertained the children and their families, and Martin said a good portion of his program was conducted in Spanish.
Spanish children’s books, donated by CESA 6, were also given to the families, she said.
Gruman-Trinkner planned to take any remaining copies of ”Cuando Era Puertorriquena” to school to give to families who could not attend World Book Night.
“Because they want us to be familiar with the book we’re giving, I also ordered one in English,” she said. “It is a great book.”
Gruman-Trinkner was a book giver two years ago and about a month ago, she had a “Share Your Culture Day” with her sixth-grade general music students.
“So this is the culmination of that,” she said of giving away copies of a book printed in Spanish. “I’m excited that I’m able to bring it to them.”