L to R: Cherokee Language Program Manager Roy Boney watches as Cherokee speaker and translator David Crawler is prepped by Unite for Literacy CEO Michael McGuffee on narrating a book.
TAHLEQUAH, OKLAHOMA — The Cherokee language will now be shared in even more homes across the country.
This week fluent speakers in the tribe’s translation department read 10 early literacy books in the Cherokee language that were recorded for Unite for Literacy’s online e-book library.
Unite for Literacy, based in Fort Collins, Colo., currently has more than 100 e-books that parents can access for free at http://www.uniteforliteracy.com
The books, targeting ages 0-8, are narrated in 17 different languages, including Navajo, Spanish, Arabic and German, with Cherokee now being the 18th language offered.
“The Unite for Literacy group has a pretty far reach, and their goal is to create literacy among children,” said Roy Boney, manager of the Cherokee Language Program. “Having the option to hear Cherokee in these books is really great for the preservation of the language. We’re very happy to partner with Unite for Literacy to make this happen.”
Michael McGuffee, CEO of Unite for Literacy, says about 25,000 e-books are opened on the website per week. The Cherokee narrations are expected to be online in July.
“We want to support all children in celebrating their cultures and languages, and get culturally and linguistically relevant books in their homes,” McGuffee said. “It’s important to work with the tribes that can narrate these books so they can be listened to in English and in native languages, like Cherokee.”
Some of the books narrated in Cherokee include, “Loud and Clear” by Zaiga Cress and “Saddle Up” by Racheal Martinez.
McGuffee said the books segue into deeper conversations between children and their parents about second-language acquisition. The narrated e-books also serve as a platform for language revitalization.
For more information on the Cherokee Language Program, call 918-453-5487.