When Ashly first arrived at Achievement First Bushwick Elementary in kindergarten, she didn’t speak much English and had not yet learned to read. An English Language Learner whose family emigrated from Mexico, Ashly began meeting four times a week with an ESL teacher who spoke with her in Spanish and helped her learn how to read by sounding out English words. Soon, Ashly had found her favorite book, “Elephant and Piggy,” and was reading three English books and one Spanish book each day. By the end of first grade, she was reading on a second-grade reading level. This is Ashly now.
What are you working on in school these days?
I am in sixth grade at Achievement First Bushwick Middle School. My favorite subject is history, because I like learning more about the past. Now my favorite book is probably the one we just read in literature class, "Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry" by Mildred D. Taylor. It's about slavery and how specific characters face challenges. The best thing I get to do in school is learning new things. Right now, I'm mostly learning lots of new things in math. Today I learned about ratios, ratio tables, and diagrams.
What is it like being an English Language Learner? Being bilingual?
I don’t really remember learning English, now it's just something that I know. I think I learned English right around first grade, and I stopped seeing my ESL teacher after third grade. Sometimes being bilingual is hard, because you need to remember words in both languages. I speak Spanish at home. I know English really well, and in Spanish I like learning more words. Not just the words, but also what they really mean.
How do you describe yourself to people who don’t know you?
I am hard-working. There are a lot of challenges that students like me face in school. Sometimes I don’t understand things that other students do. But I always work hard and that helps me do well. I also really love drawing, it takes my mind off everything. I like to draw different types of lines, shaded in different colors.
What do you want to be in the future?
Right now, I want to be a teacher. I like the idea of teaching other kids things that they didn’t know about, or teaching them more things about what they already know. I feel like my teachers have really helped me. They are always coming to me if I need help, or I can go to them for help, too.
Amazing! Thanks for sharing, Ashly!