SOUTH SALT LAKE The librarian reads a line from a children's book to a group of cross-legged students, and the fifth-grader sitting next to her repeats it in Spanish.
And so it goes at Woodrow Wilson Elementary, where the challenge for educators is teaching students who speak 48 different languages, and a large refugee population means it's not uncommon for parents trying to learn English themselves to check books out of the school's library.
Tuesday, school officials announced plans for a new multicultural library, something they hope will go a long way toward educating their "mini United Nations."
"That's why they come (to the United States)," said Carrie Pender, a refugee liaison for Granite School District. "All they want for their children is for them to have an education and a future."
The Hser Ner Moo Memorial Library, named for a 7-year-old student from Myanmar who was killed in her South Salt Lake apartment complex earlier this year, will be housed in the school, and books will be purchased with a $2,500 grant from the 100% For Kids Credit Union Education Foundation.
LuAnn Kluge, who teaches fifth grade at the school and wrote the grant, said the library will include dual-language books and books focusing on the 26 countries and many cultures represented at the school.
"At times it can be trying for a teacher to have so many different languages in a class," Kluge said. "But it's awesome. It's awesome having the experience of all these different things, and the students really respect each other's cultures."
Kluge plans to have the books for the library purchased and ready for students by the end of October.
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