Bilingual Story Time at Alaska Library


The Kenai public library in Alaska has a new bilingual story time for bilingual children and single language children hoping to learn another language. The story was at times a Spanish-to-English translation, and sometimes it was an English-to-Spanish translation. The story was told by Faby Peck who used flashcards and body movement to help the children learn the new words.

New Bilingual Story Time at Alaska Library is a Big Hit

Faby Peck is the new, bilingual story time leader at the Kenai public library. She uses music, dancing, and flashcards to help engage her audience in the story. She also tells the story in Spanish and English. The groups of kids that came to see the new story time with Spanish translation were enraptured and had a great time cavorting around the room and showing off their newly learned Spanish words. Along with the story, the children also learned a song in Spanish about how to identify parts of the face. The whole session was quite unlike a typical library story time. The kids as well as Peck could be seen and heard throughout the children’s library as they moo-ed like cows, hopped like bunnies, and danced around making faces at each other.

A Bookless Story Time?

The most noticeable thing about the story time however, was the absence of a book. Peck told the entire story from memory and imagination by using a puppet named Juan and flashcards. Peck said that since the story time is meant for small children, she can’t expect them to sit still through a twenty minute book. Instead, she tells an interactive story that doesn’t confine her to a chair with only pages of a book to use as a visual to keep the children entertained. From the description of the library during the story time, Peck and all the children were the pages of the book that was being told. With Peck as the Spanish translator, the children were soon repeating the words for horse, fish, rabbit, and cow as they imitated each animal throughout the story that Peck wove.

Faby Peck is originally from India, but taught in South America for twenty years before deciding to move to the United States. She tutors in Spanish in between her Thursday story time at Kenai library, and she also teaches at Kenai Peninsula College. Peck says that she expected some Spanish speaking children when she first started the story time in October, but has instead been spending more time as a translator in an effort to teach the English speaking children a new and beautiful language.

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