In Miami, School Aims For 'Biliterate' Education At Coral Way, the children of political refugees fleeing Cuba in the 1960s were not only expected to learn English, but also expected to remain fluent in Spanish and hold on to their culture. Today's students can read, speak and write in both languages.
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In Miami, School Aims For 'Biliterate' Education

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In Miami, School Aims For 'Biliterate' Education

In Miami, School Aims For 'Biliterate' Education

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

And I'm Ari Shapiro.

Today in our series Two Languages, Many Voices, the sound of children's voices in Spanish and English.

In 1963, Coral Way Elementary School in Miami got a wave of new students, children of Cuban exiles fleeing Fidel Castro. They had to learn English fast.

MONTAGNE: Still, teachers did not want them to forget Spanish or their culture. The solution: bilingual immersion, teaching the children in both languages. Almost 50 years later, that's still how students learn at Coral Way. NPR's Claudio Sanchez reports.

CLAUDIO SANCHEZ, BYLINE: Every morning, shortly after 8:00 a.m., students at the Coral Way pledge allegiance to the flag and stand for the national anthem. Then...

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Spanish spoken)

SANCHEZ: Spanish becomes the language of instruction. In this fourth grade class, reading assignments, science, math and social studies lessons are entirely in Spanish. After lunch, classes switch to English. On the playground, you hear a mix.

(SOUNDBITE OF PLAYGROUND CHATTER)

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