¿Usted habla español?

By: Alana Adams
By: Alana Adams

"In America, we don't really press the issue as far as learning two different languages in the early ages. And, this is a great opportunity for those kids to start learning a different language. The younger you are, the easier it is to acquire a language."
That's why Kristen McNeil, the principal at Marvin Moss ELementary School, in Sparks, is one of 12 elementary schools in Washoe County to participate in the after school foreign language and culture classes offered in association with the non-profit organization, the Northern Nevada International Center.

Brandy Collines, with the International Center, says this year even more students are signing up for the classes.
"This year, we added about five schools too... and every class has been full. We've had to add second teachers because there's such a high demand."

The 12-week course costs 120-dollars, and students attend a 45-minute class twice a week.
Students can choose from Spanish, Japanese, and French... and so far, the language of choice has been spanish.
Washoe County, alone, has more than 500 Hispanic-owned business, and it's a trend many say is just starting to boom.
"Just to be able to say you speak another language is an incredible benefit. A lot of times the wage is higher for bi-lingual speakers."

Diane Szabo, the English as a second language teacher at Moss Elementary, says teaching English is the hard part.
So, students who have already mastered that will catch on quickly when it comes to Spanish.
"Spanish is a phonetically correct language. In other words, what's written, is the way the words are pronounced. English has a lot of exceptions and rules that are difficult to learn."

There is an average of about 12 students in each of the language and culture classes.
To learn more about the next session which starts next semester, you can call your child's school to see if it's offered or go to the district's website and search under community education.


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