LYRICAL LEARNING CELEBRATED
EDUCATOR IN DOWNTOWN MIAMI TO SHARE BOOKS AND SONGS THAT HELP TEACH SPANISH TO CHILDREN.
So on Friday, [Patty] Clark was thrilled to see one of the nation's most acclaimed bilingual educators make a stop in downtown Miami, near the Wolfson Child Development Center, where her daughter Jackie, 4, attends preschool. For about an hour, celebrated author Jose Luis Orozco led a group of 50 children at the Central Baptist Church through the Latin American songs, rhymes and games that are helping children nationwide learn Spanish at an optimum early age.
(Copyright 1999 by the Sun-Sentinel)
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When Patty Clark was growing up in Colombia, she attended a school that immersed its students in two languages - Spanish and English.
Today, Clark lives in Miami. But she and her Cuban-American husband are intent on making sure their two young children also reap the benefits of bilingual education.
So on Friday, Clark was thrilled to see one of the nation's most acclaimed bilingual educators make a stop in downtown Miami, near the Wolfson Child Development Center, where her daughter Jackie, 4, attends preschool. For about an hour, celebrated author Jose Luis Orozco led a group of 50 children at the Central Baptist Church through the Latin American songs, rhymes and games that are helping children nationwide learn Spanish at an optimum early age.
Orozco, a Mexico City native who has been a bilingual educator for more than 30 years, will make an appearance today at Books & Books in Coral Gables.
His 12 recorded volumes of Latin American children's music and two award-winning books are the kind of material Hispanic parents like Clark - and plenty of non-Hispanic parents - find invaluable.
Even though she and her husband speak Spanish at home, Clark said, Orozco's books and tapes have been a big help with Jackie.
"All his books are original and the tapes are fun," Clark said. "Jackie sings along with them. Right now, she's as bilingual as she can be for her age."
For Orozco, that kind of praise is music to his ears.
As a child, Orozco was a member of the Mexico City Boys Choir and a constant traveler, visiting 32 countries in Europe, the Caribbean, Central and South America. The experience would serve him well years later, when after earning a degree from the University of California at Berkeley, he began performing at San Francisco area schools.
He became a teacher after receiving a master's degree in multicultural education, but found his real love to be sharing the songs, rhymes and Christmas carols he had picked up on his travels.
From songs that teach children how to count their fingers or learn the hours of the clock to others that recite body parts, the words set to music make learning fun.
For Orozco, the key to teaching children Spanish is to start at an early age and to let them learn as they play.
Children learn faster and better through games because those are non-threatening tools to learn, as opposed to formal teaching," Orozco said.
"It's good to expose them to languages when they are young. Once we become teen-agers, it becomes difficult."
The response has been overwhelming, Orozco said, in part because the books and tapes remind parents of their own childhoods and of the ways they learned.
"All the time they say, 'Oh, the book made me cry because it reminds
me of things that I had forgotten, that my mother and my father or my
grandparents used to sing to me as a child. Now I want to sing it to my
David Cazares can be reached at [email protected] or 954- 385-7922.
PHOTO; Caption: Staff photo/WARREN ZINN (color) CLAP ALONG: Bilingual
educator Jose Luis Orozco on Friday sings with children and parents at
the Central Baptist Church in downtown Miami. Parents use his Latin American
music and books to raise bilingual children. SPANISH LESSONS Acclaimed
bilingual educator Jose Luis Orozco, a Mexico City native, has recorded
12 volumes of Latin American children's music. His books, De Colores and
Other latin American Folk Songs For Children and Diez Deditos - Ten Little
Fingers, have both won awards. Orozco will share his secrets for teaching
children Spanish with songs and games at 3 p.m. today at Books & Books,
296 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables. Call 305-442-4408.