Arizona Republic
September 3, 2006

 (Phoenix, AZ) Author: Karina Bland, The Arizona Republic Estimated printed pages: 2

Dual-language instruction: Jessica Barrios

Jessica Barrios was just like the children she now teaches in her dual-language class.

She was born in Guatemala and came to the United States at age 8, speaking only Spanish. She graduated from Camelback High in Phoenix and then Arizona State University, with a scholarship.

Barrios, 27, tells her students: "I had to go through the same things as you." Because of that, she is determined to teach them to read. If she could do it, she tells them, so can they.

This is her third year teaching third grade. Her students this year already are well ahead of her previous two reading classes. By year's end, she believes, most of her students will read on grade level.

Kids in dual-language classes tend to fare better in reading. First, they have to be proficient in English to qualify for the program. Second, they receive instruction in English and their native Spanish, so they better understand the material and aren't as frustrated by the language barrier.

"We had a really good day today," Barrios tells her class at the end of the day. "We learned a lot of new things."

On their way out the door, students shake her hand or give her a high-five.
One girl hugs her and then Barrios is mobbed, dozens of arms snaking around her middle.

CAPTION: Jessica Barrios teaches a third-grade dual-language class at Creighton. Kids in these classes tend to fare better in reading.