Morpho Literacy

Bilingual Literacy-Based Programming with Amy Olson

Day of the Dead Skull / Calavera para El Día de los Muertos December 28, 2010

Filed under: Bilingual Programming for Children,Bilingual Programming for Teens — Morpho Literacy @ 9:39 am

Just in time for Day of the Dead and Halloween – make your own skulls and other scary creations out of insulation.  Similar to the technique used to make Alebrijes, skulls, cats, ghosts, and other ghouly creatures may be made out of Formular Insulation and then painted with acrylic paints.  Appropriate for all ages.


Bilingual Scary Tales / Cuentos espantosos December 27, 2010

Filed under: Bilingual Programming for Teens — Morpho Literacy @ 9:03 am

Everyone likes to be scared.

Much like the ‘boogyman’, La Llorona, La Catrina, El Cucuy/ El Cuco, and La Chupacabra are tales told to keep kids in line and obedient.  Great for middle school/teen programming


Sugar Skulls / Calaveras de azúcar December 26, 2010

Filed under: Bilingual Programming for Children,Bilingual Programming for Teens — Morpho Literacy @ 9:04 am

Sugar skulls that can be decorated with frosting – great for larger programs during the Halloween/Day of the Dead season.  Appropriate for all ages.


Tin Ornaments / Ornamentos de estaño December 25, 2010

Filed under: Bilingual Programming for Teens — Morpho Literacy @ 9:00 am

Make decorative ornaments, frames, or other designs out of tin and paint.  Appropriate for middle and high school students.


Biography December 7, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Morpho Literacy @ 2:51 pm

Amy Olson is a bilingual children’s/teen librarian, singer, writer and storyteller. Born and raised in Chicago, Amy has performed all over Kentucky, Chicago, Alabama, South Carolina and Tennessee at libraries, fests, schools, and conferences. As an instructor, Amy tailors a group’s experience to fit the people involved so that everyone is able to learn while having fun through music, art, literature, and drama.

Amy recently had two textbook chapters, “Using Music as a Tool for Improving Preliteracy in Children” and “Breaking though Cultural Barriers: Using Latin American Folktales in Literacy and Library Programming“ and has chapters in an additional textbook to be released in Spring, 2014.

In addition, Amy has been an adjunt professor at the University of Kentucky’s Library School where she taught Adult Multicultural World Literature.


Bilingual Programming and Literacy May 26, 2010

Filed under: Chapter - Bilingual Music Programming and Preliteracy — Morpho Literacy @ 8:56 am


Amy Olson

Exposure to and eventual fluency in the English language is necessary for academic success in U.S. schools.  Conservative estimates suggest there are over 5.5 million students attending U.S. public schools whose first language is not English; of this group, 80% are fluent in Spanish (McCardle et al. 2005).  When ELL (English Language Learner)[1] children attend school they have to face the daily challenge of learning to communicate and read in a language that is different from the one that is spoken in their home (Lindsey et al. 2003; Páez et al. 2007). Unfortunately, statistics have consistently shown that ELL children are at risk for poor reading outcomes, and even proficient bilingual[2] children begin kindergarten with language and preliteracy skills that are below expectation (Hammer et al. 2007; Páez et al. 2007).

Where can ELL children go to improve their preliteracy skills prior to entering kindergarten?  The most obvious choices are preschools, early starts, and head-start centers. However, the local public library and elementary school library can also play an integral role in developing and fostering language and preliteracy skills. In the U.S., the ability to offer bilingual programming has become an essential part of being a children’s librarian as the Latino community is the largest and fastest-growing minority group, exceeding 3.94 million people (U.S. Census Bureau 2008). Outside of a classroom, music might be the only major source of English that an ELL child will hear; thus the integration of music into a preliteracy learning setting, such as a school or library, can assist a child’s language development and academic learning while simultaneously allowing them to develop musically (Bolduc 2009; Wiggins 2007).

This chapter will discuss how music can help ELL children with language and preliteracy development, the musical tale, and ways children’s librarians can use the musical tale in bilingual musical literacy-based programming. In addition, suggestions for bilingual music-oriented programming, websites, musical tale titles, and CDs are also provided to assist children’s librarians and other educators in creating valuable learning experiences for children. (more…)


Breaking through Cultural Barriers: Using Latin American Folktales in Literacy and Library Programming

Folktales are a fantastic programming tool to promote cultural awareness, diversity, normalization, and compassion in both classroom and library settings.  This chapter emphasizes significant Latin American folklore and the influential power of storytelling while also providing concrete examples of simple ways for children’s, youth, and school librarians to incorporate folktales into bilingual programs and lesson plans for both Latino[1] and non-Latino children.

Folktales reflect people past and present. They answer the who, what, where, when, why, and how of a peoples’ cultural origins, traits, composition, belief systems, etc.  Folktales are the tales, games, superstitions, proverbs/dichos, riddles and songs of a culture.  They are tools of instruction, collections of wisdom, and core values that are passed down from generation to generation. Simple yet picturesque, folktales convey traditions, medicinal cures, customs, myths, values, and important stories passed down from generation to generation. (more…)