- A small bookstore with big ambition recently caught our attention here at the Roche Center and TWIN-CS. Located in Rome, Italy The Little Reader is una libreria, a library, in which children of all ages can attend bilingual classes.
Classes are designated by age group and come in a wide range of activities: story-time lessons which are conducted entirely in English with native Italian speakers, nursery rhymes sessions which are recited in English with the children, even lessons during which traditionally English songs are sung with the children! After school, elementary and middle school children can participate in English reading classes through interactive games, creative activities, and fun quizzes!
It is important to note that English language knowledge is not a prerequisite for these classes. Instead, the staff would like the students to enjoy the lessons and learn as they go. Speaking in Italian during these lessons is not prohibited either – bilingualism is encouraged!
The library also contains a multitude of books in both Italian and English, providing all who join an opportunity to expand their linguistic and cultural knowledge.
As members of TWIN-CS, we understand the importance of recognizing and appreciating other languages and cultures, just as the staff of The Little Reader acknowledges the importance of tolerance and learning about other cultures via reading and oral presentations. Opening our eyes to other languages allows us to see beyond our monolinguistic and monocultural perspectives; in fact, by drawing on the other resources these languages (Italian, Mandarin, Spanish, etc.) provide, we can discover new connotations and values in all types of learning, whether it be through a novel, a nursery rhyme, or an everyday occurrence in which cross-cultural understanding is essential.
We at TWIN-CS welcome the type of bilingual learning that The Little Reader intends to bring to light and hope to see more such libraries for many languages!
Ai nostri amici di The Little Reader, buona fortuna con le sue lezioni!
-Melissa Hoppie, Graduate Research Assistant