Elementary Children Learn Chinese through STARTALK

Posted: July 26, 2010
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – About 50 first through fifth grade students who have been learning Chinese during the first STARTALK summer camp will be honored Friday as the program’s first graduates.

The two-week program, held at North Middle School in Monongalia County, is part of the STARTALK initiative started by the National Security Language Initiative (NSLI) in 2006 to increase the number of programs aimed at teaching a world language not widely taught in the U.S. Programs like STARTALK coincide with the mission of the West Virginia Department of Education’s Global21 Initiative; to provide a globally competitive education to West Virginia students.

“Children today have to communicate in a much more culturally diverse global society,” said West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Steve Paine. “STARTALK and some of our other language programs are giving West Virginia students an edge in the 21st century as they become globally intelligent.”

The media-based program includes interactive videos paired with authentic, hands-on cultural experiences for the children to enjoy. The media-based program includes interactive videos paired with authentic, hands-on cultural experiences for the children to enjoy. Participating schools are North Elementary, Cheat Lake Elementary and Mountainview Elementary, all in Monongalia County. 

“We are excited to have the technical means to support a student STARTALK summer program in West Virginia this year,” says Robert Crawford, coordinator of world languages. “The program is a great way for young children to begin the lifelong process of learning a world language.”

The STARTALK program is designed to spark the interest of young kids and make them want to learn a second, sometimes even a third, language. STARTALK is part of the Language Leaper program, which will appear in eight schools across five counties this fall. The program will include both Chinese and Japanese language units for kindergarten and first grade. Both onsite and media teachers will be used to implement the program. When completed, the program will include curriculum for kindergarten through fifth grade students. 

For more information regarding the STARTALK and Language Leaper programs, visit http://wvconnections.k12.wv.us/languageleaper.html or contact the Office of Communications at 304-558-2699.

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