Pembroke Pines Elementary School Says, “Thank You” for the Bilingual Reading Award

kids holding up books

 Jumpstart’s “Read for the Record ®” campaign is the largest shared reading experience which encourages millions of adults and children to participate on a designated day to bring attention to high-quality early education. 

Through a partnership between Broward County Public Schools (BCPS), the Children’s Services Council of Broward County, and multiple Broward County early childhood stakeholders, a free copy of this year’s “Read for the Record ®” book, “Thank You, Omu,” was provided to 40,000 pre-kindergarten and kindergarten children in Broward County in celebration of the special day. 

Since its inception 14 years ago, BCPS has participated in Jumpstart’s “Read for the Record (R)” and ranks first in the country for the number of students, volunteers, and community members participating in the annual event. BCPS was honored to be recognized by Jumpstart as its Read for the Record District of the Year. This was the first year Jumpstart has presented the national award, which represents the highest level of recognition from Jumpstart among eight award categories.

school faculty with books

In addition to being named District of the Year, BCPS congratulated Pines Lakes Elementary School for being recognized with Jumpstart’s Excellence in Bilingual Reading Award. Pines Lakes Elementary carried out its reading of “Thank You, Omu” in two languages, English and Spanish. For the past three years, the Pembroke Pines school has made a bilingual interactive read-aloud a tradition. 

“We highly respect and value our diverse student population which includes dual-language learners and the bilingual read-aloud is representative of that. The idea behind it was to simultaneously read the book in English and Spanish, while having students interact with the book through think-alouds and new vocabulary words in both languages,” explained Principal Susan F. Sasse.

This year the school invited guest readers for the bilingual read aloud, and Stephanie Bustillo and Hanne Sinclair from the district’s ESOL/Bilingual Department were gracious enough to accept their invitation.

audience listening to book read out loud

“Being able to include both the English and Spanish speakers of our diverse population creates a wonderful sense of community,” stated Kindergarten teacher Carey Hastings.

“Reading aloud is a powerful tool that connects us not only to new experiences but to each other as humans. When students who speak other languages are included in school-wide celebrations like this, they not only know but feel they belong in Pines Lakes,” added Johanna Benitez the literacy coach at Pines Lakes.