Book donations embrace bilingualism

Hundreds of students at some local schools have a large pile of new books to dive into once classes resume, thanks to a donation from a local service club. 

Three government primary school libraries recently received a combined total of more than $2,600 worth of new children’s books through funds raised by the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman Sunrise’s Literacy Committee.  

The club, which meets weekly at the George Town Yacht Club, raised the money during its March 2015 Buy-A-Kid-A-Book fundraiser. Sir John A. Cumber Primary School, George Town Primary School and Savannah Primary School each received more than 100 new books for their school libraries. Donations by the public at Rotary Sunrise Buy-A-Kid-A-Book outside supermarkets and stores during the month of March went toward the purchase of the books.  

This year, Rotary Sunrise’s Literacy Committee decided to focus on acquiring much-needed bilingual Spanish/English reading books for the three primary schools with the greatest number of ESL (English as a Second Language) students.  

“Bilingual children perform better in school when they have the opportunity to use their first language and develop literacy in that language,” said Renate Dowell, ESL specialist at the Department of Education Services. 

“Reading bilingual books with children fosters stronger language skills, a wider range of vocabulary and greater background knowledge,” she said. 

The specialist books were sourced in the United States and shipped to Cayman for free by Hydes Shipping Corp., which ensured that all of the money donated by the public went toward the cost of the new books. 

Members of Rotary Sunrise were at George Town Primary School on Dec. 10 to present the new books to student members of the Rotary Sunrise EarlyAct Club.  

The young club members got a firsthand look at how holding a public fundraiser can benefit local schools and the wider community. 

Education Minister Tara Rivers attended the presentation of new books to staff and students at Sir John A. Cumber Primary School’s library on Dec. 15, and together with Principal Joseph Wallace, thanked Rotary Sunrise for their continuing support of literacy projects in the government schools.  

“It was wonderful to see both students and teachers alike getting excited about these new bilingual learning resources,” Rotary Sunrise Literacy Director Su Mander said during the presentation. 

The next Rotary Sunrise Buy-A-Kid-A-Book fundraiser will run throughout March. 

Rotary Sunrise representatives meet with student members of the Rotary Sunrise EarlyAct Club at George Town Primary School.
Rotary Sunrise representatives meet with student members of the Rotary Sunrise EarlyAct Club at George Town Primary School.