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Fort Drum children can attend Bilingual Storytime at Robert C. McEwen Library, to hear a story read in both German and English. The intent of this program is to familiarize children with the German language – a useful skill for families who may be stationed overseas or those who want to maintain their skills if they are returning from an overseas tour. The program starts at 10 a.m. Feb. 13. It will be scheduled on the second Thursday of every month. (Photo by Mike Strasser, Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs)


Bilingual Storytime makes languages
fun to learn at Robert C. McEwen Library


Mike Strasser

Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs


FORT DRUM, N.Y. (Feb. 10, 2020) – Children have the ability to absorb new language skills like sponges, said Peggy Hall, a library technician at Fort Drum’s Robert C. McEwen Library.

If that premise is true, then the new monthly Bilingual Storytime, beginning Feb. 13, may have kids asking, “Konnen wir noch mehr lesen? (Can we read some more?)

Hall, a native German speaker, chose a colorful picture book titled “Am I Small?” (or “Bin ich Klein?”)  to start the program. The book will be read entirely in German and then in English. Using this format, she hopes that children will be able to learn a few words while being entertained by the story.

“I really hope that this helps familiarize them to a new language,” Hall said. “Maybe even to the point where they are able to use it and get that satisfaction of knowing the words. On the other hand, I want them to just have fun.”

While all children are welcome to attend, Hall said that the program was intended for families who have recently moved here from Germany, as well as those who are soon to be stationed there.

“My hope is that for those who already have the language, by hearing the stories – even just once a month – then it continues for them,” she said. “For the ones who don’t have the language, maybe they will pick up a few words so when they leave here, the language won’t seem so strange to them.”

Hall said that she also wants to incorporate a movement song at the beginning of each Bilingual Storytime.

“I wanted to keep this similar to the regular storytime we already have, which starts with a movement song, then the story and then a craft,” she said. “This way the children have that familiar concept of what comes next.”

To coincide with Valentine’s Day, the word Hall selected for children to learn is “heart,” or “herz,” which is also the theme of the craft.

Bilingual Storytime is scheduled at 10 a.m. on the second Thursday of every month. To learn more about this program and other activities at Robert C. McEwen Library, call (315) 772-9099.