• Using Dual-Language Books to Preserve Language & Culture in Alaska Native Communities

      Ohle, Kathryn; Bartles, Jonathan (2016-09-11)
      “Children learn their language on their mother’s lap.” This conventional wisdom from a Cup’ik Elder describes the approach used by many Alaska Native peoples to promote native language acquisition. Presumably, the children learn by listening to stories and tales from a trusted parent or caregiver. However, what happens when the caregiver does not speak the native language? This chapter describes an effort to address this issue while also promoting better educational outcomes by providing access to diverse dual-language books in Alaska Native languages through the use of a digital children’s library. Potential benefits from these efforts include an increase in resources for schools, a revitalization of Indigenous languages, and an increase in access, with hopes that future work will show evidence that using these dual-language books encourage greater parent support and involvement in education, support second language acquisition, and promote a strong sense of identity. Implications and future efforts follow.