Students in Spanish Service Learning Can Help Mitigate Pandemic Impact on Latino Elementary Students

Mi lengua, nuestra comunidad.
Luis Fernando Restrepo

Mi lengua, nuestra comunidad.

Take the Spanish course SPAN 4563 The Biliteracy Project to participate in Sin Límites!, an afterschool program helping elementary Latino students to develop reading and writing skills in their home language. With the pandemic, national reports have noted that Latino students are severely behind in reading. You can help!

The class offers an empowering curriculum for social change, covering topics such as engaged scholarship, Latino education in the U.S. and bilingual education. Students in the class participate in group projects and policy guiding papers on topics related to Latino education.

Sin Límites–The Latino Youth Biliteracy Project is an outreach initiative of the Department of World Languages, Literatures and Cultures of the U of A established in 2011 in collaboration with the Latin American and Latino Studies program and the Oficina Latina. University students enrolled in SPAN 4563, an upper-level Spanish service-learning course, participate in a bilingual literacy enriching program for elementary and middle school Spanish heritage speakers.

The mains goals of the program:

  1. To develop literacy in the home language,
  2. To provide a culturally relevant curriculum,
  3. To promote academic excellence and college readiness,
  4. To offer mentorship by college students and
  5. To establish bridges between the students' families and the school.

Jissel Esparza, who was a first-generation college student herself, took the course and worked with underrepresented student populations. "As a Sin Limites mentor, ... I mentored children who had never really seen themselves as the types of people to attend college," she said. "To be quite truthful, the experience resonated with me greatly because I saw myself in their shoes. Outside of helping them with their homework, I worked on teaching them about all the opportunities that attending colleges granted them, and that the University of Arkansas is a place where the Latinx community is embraced and celebrated." 

If you are interested, this course is open for enrollment, class code is SPAN 4563 and class time is 9:40-10:30 a.m. M-W-F. Prerequisites: SPAN 3003 and SPAN 3103 or SPAN 3123. Questions should be directed to professor Raquel Castro at





Luis Fernando Restrepo, University Professor
World Languages, Literatures and Cultures


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