Hueneme students presented stories they wrote and made them come alive for their young audiences. The idea of writing and publishing student stories was initiated by Erik Johansen, English as a second language teacher at Hueneme High School. However, the Spanish for Native Speakers teacher, Carina Casillas-Guerrero, attended an English children’s book fair at Ventura High School and became inspired and motivated by their success and decided to implement the same idea by having her students write and present children’s books in Spanish.
85% of Hueneme High School’s population is Hispanic; therefore, many students’ primary or second language is Spanish, so Spanish needs to be reinforced and taught academically just as it is done in English. Research shows that when students have a strong academic language background in their primary language, they have better chances of learning academic levels of English as a second language. In addition, since Hispanics are the largest population in California; students at all grade levels should learn academic Spanish. This would allow future generations to have a lot more opportunities and obtain better jobs.
Through this event Hueneme’s AP Spanish students succeeded at inspiring young children, parents and teachers to read books in Spanish to maintain and promote culture and language awareness and pride.