(February 13, 2007) The Student Education Association (SEA) at Illinois State University has been awarded a $1,000 grant to provide bilingual books on CDs to students at Brigham Elementary School in Bloomington, Illinois. The grant allows the development of a new program for Brigham’s bilingual education classes called Bring the Words to Life, which will provide new bilingual books on CD to all students in the school library. This program will help serve over 80 students who are currently enrolled in the bilingual education program. Given the success of audio tapes in language development as well as increasing reading success, this new program will be a beneficial addition to the Brigham library.

This program is funded in large part with a CLASS (Community Learning Through America’s Schools) grant from the National Education Association’s Student Program. CLASS grants allow student members to become involved in their community and at the same time gain practical experience and grow as professionals. The Illinois State University Student Education Association as well as several other campus organizations including SABE (Student Association of Bilingual Education), the Spanish Club, and the Association of Latin American Students are working together make this program a success.

“This program will help develop students into lifelong readers by allowing them to cultivate their skills in both Spanish and English. It is important that as these children learn English they retain their heritage language. Bring the Words to Life allows students at an early age to develop a strong language foundation by having a book available on CD in both Spanish and English,” said Kimberly Gray, program coordinator of the grant.

The National Education Association serves more than 50,000 students nationwide who are preparing for jobs in the education profession. The National Education Association Student Program goals include providing opportunities for professional development and leadership training.