Sharing the Language @ Lawrence Public Library


By Terry Rombeck
December 4, 2007

Karen Acosta, a Kansas University English as a second language master student from Asunción, Paraguay, reads a story in Spanish and English to listeners on Friday during a Spanish story time at the Lawrence Public Library.

Karen Acosta is sitting on a toddler-sized chair, and she’s using her best “I’m-talking-to-cute-little-kids” voice.She’s reading to about a dozen people, children and their mothers, gathered at the Lawrence Public Library.

The story is about a child who is planning a party — or more specifically, a fiesta.

Acosta is helping the children learn to count the number of pieces of candy that will go in the piñata.

“One … two … three …”

She stops herself.

“Oh,” she says with a grin. “En español!”

This isn’t a typical story time, at least not as far as the Lawrence Public Library is concerned. This is the weekly Spanish/English Storytime, held at 4:30 each Friday afternoon.

The group is divided evenly between Spanish-speakers wanting to hear a story and learn English, and English speakers who want to learn a little Spanish.

“We have a diverse crowd,” says Acosta, a Kansas University graduate student from Paraguay who volunteers to lead the story time.

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