ESL students build bridges with elementary school kids


Photo taken by Mima Nazarene

Sophomore Aoi Nishimara reads her story to EL elementary student.

Megan Messer, Opinions Editor

Students brought holiday cheer to River Place Elementary School on Monday morning. English as a Second Language teacher Mima Nazarene’s students visited 18 elementary kids and got the chance to entertain them with original stories they had written.

“The purpose of the trip was to spread cheer and to build relationships with the EL learners from River Place and our EL learners,” Nazarene said. “These students will learn to be great relationship builders.”

Students from Nazarene’s class wrote their bilingual stories in English and Japanese and got to read them to the children in both languages. The students were given freedom to write about anything they wanted and pick any genre of story to write.

“I read the Japanese story that I wrote,” sophomore Aoi Nishimara said. “My story was about a girl with powers, and she obtained these powers from an earthquake in Japan. It was a fun fiction story to write about.”

Nazarene’s goal is to continue to take her students on field trips to nearby elementary schools to help her students bond with other young EL learners.

“This is the first time we’ve done this trip, so I am kind of like the pioneer teacher but I’m hopeful to keep doing it,” Nazarene said. “We built relationships with these kids in order to become their big pals and will continue through writing letters to one another, hopefully monthly, so my students can practice their writing skills but maintain a bond with those kids.”

Students who traveled to River Place agree that the new field trip was a success.

“After the field trip, I was happy that I went because I got the chance to communicate with younger kids,” Nishimara said. “It was a really cool experience.”

Nazarene hopes to make a tradition of visiting young EL students.

“I would definitely do it again,” Nazarene said. “Today, I could see the shine in the eyes of the kids when we read to them, and the way they hugged the book before we left was so priceless. Everyone was singing to my students. It was just such a great trip.”