Mackenzie Hannah, a fourth-grader in the Spanish immersion program at Burton Hill Elementary School, understands the value of learning a second language.
“It’s really fun,’’ Hannah said. “You get to learn more languages; you get to learn about different cultures; you get more money” when you grow up.
Hannah, 9, is one of 65 first- through fifth-grade students participating in a two-week summer enrichment camp at Burton Hill Elementary in the Fort Worth school district. The camp’s aim is to improve the Spanish skills of native English speakers.
Fort Worth Sister Cities International has brought in a dozen students and educators from the Tecnologico de Monterrey University in Toluca, Mexico, to work with the youngsters, said Carrie Harrington, director of World Languages for the Fort Worth district.
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During the school year, Spanish immersion students receive 90 percent of classroom instruction in Spanish, Harrington said.
“All the content areas are taught in Spanish and the teachers speak only in Spanish.” By third grade, 35 additional minutes of English instruction are incorporated, Harrington said.
Diana Barberena, who teaches fifth-graders in the 6-year-old program at Burton Hill, has two of her own children, ages 5 and 7, enrolled. She said they are progressing well.
“My husband only speaks English at home,’’ Barberena said. “So I wanted them not just to learn the Spanish language but to learn it correctly, to speak it properly.”
Walker Maxwell, a first-grader who participated in the camp, said neither of his parents can speak Spanish. But he and his 4-year-old sister can, he said.
Early Wednesday, Maxwell, who is 6, was working with Antonio Jaimes, a 19-year-old university student who was recruited by Fort Worth Sister Cities International to participate in the camp.
“I like to work with the children,’’ Jaimes said. “I like to help them to practice and to develop their abilities. It also helps my communication skills.”
Yamil Berard, 817-390-7705