University supports bilingual story telling

Local school children got the chance to explore languages and write stories as part of a collaborative effort between the University of Bedfordshire and local schools.

The children, who all speak English as an additional language, spent 10 weeks writing their stories as part of the scheme which culminated in a celebration event held at the University last month.

Although the children may speak their native languages at home, they often do not get the chance to read or write in anything other than English. The project aimed to champion their home languages and empower the children to using them more often by building their confidence.

Third year Art and Design student Ioana Stoica then painstakingly turned the illustrations and stories into ebooks by individually tracing each page.

The project was collaboration between Maja Jankowska, a lecturer in Psychology, and the Access and Outreach team at the University.

Also offering a helping hand were students from the English Language and Linguistics, Psychology, Art & Design, and Childhood and Youth Studies departments.

Many of the University students taking part in the project were also bilingual and were able to offer valuable support to the children, whilst also learning more about what it means to be bilingual themselves.  

As part of the celebration event, the children got to read out their stories and present their accompanying illustrations in both English and their home languages which ranged from Polish, Russian and Bengali to Italian and Urdu.

The ebooks will be available through the University’s Access and Outreach team.

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