Ariana Diaz teaches Amy Cervantes, a student at Wea Ridge Elementary, how to read and write in Spanish, her native language, during Aprendiendo a Leer (Learning How to Read), the weekly after-school program created by Purdue University researchers. 'My mom wants me to learn more Spanish,' she said. Staff photo by Taya Flores
Ariana Diaz knows the value of being a heritage Spanish speaker. Raised by Mexican parents in Indiana, Diaz first learned Spanish, but English soon became the language she was immersed in.
However, Diaz was able to stay bilingual. “It was necessary for me because my parents didn’t know English at all,” said the 19-year-old. “So I had to translate for them.”
Today, Diaz is a freshman at Purdue University studying business management. She also volunteers with Aprendiendo a Leer or Learning How to Read, a weekly after-school program that teaches elementary-age bilingual students how to read and write in their mother language, Spanish. These skills are not typically taught in public schools until high school.