Warren County Program Helps Teach English to Children

By Laura Rogers | 

Warren County educators are teaching the third largest number of limited English proficient children in Kentucky. We have more than 750-students speaking 29 different languages.

We took a look at the program that's teaching these students how to speak English.

Eleven-year-old Cateryn Pena is in the sixth-grade at Lost River Elementary School.

Her family is originally from El Salvador.

When Cateryn started school, she had to learn everything outside of her native Spanish and in a language completely foreign to her--English.

"How to read, how to write and how to put the words in one sentence," Cateryn said.

The English as a Second Language, or ESL program, helps international students become productive citizens in an English-speaking country.

"The first thing you have to do is gain their trust. They come from very diverse backgrounds. When they walk in the ESL room they feel like they're on an even ground," explained ESL instructor Cathy Roemer.

Warren County Schools has limited English proficient students in every one of its 19 schools.

Nadir's Mulaosamavic's family came here from Bosnia.

"Well when I came here it was kind of difficult for me because I didn't know English and everyone else was speaking English, and I didn't know what they talking about," Nadir admitted.

While learning English was a challenge at first, he's learned how to balance speaking one language at school and a different one at home.

"I speak English with my brother but my parents like Bosnian because they can't speak English as well," Nadir said.

Nadir and Cateryn have both graduated from ESL.

It usually takes up to four years for the students to become fluent.

"It's challenging, but the most rewarding job ever," Roemer assured.

"It's great because you know it's a valuable tool they're going to need every second of the day," ESL instructor Michael Meece added.

"I made more friends because I learned more English and I'm doing better in my grades," Cateryn admitted.

Warren County's LEP students are meeting their goals in core content, as measured by No Child Left Behind.

There are 15 limited English proficient teachers and 14 instructional assistants.

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